Album Review: Everything Is Love

by Navneet Gidda

Released unannounced last month, EVERYTHING IS LOVE has precipitated an unexpected state of harmony between Beyonce and Jay-Z fans.

With Jay-Z haters brandishing their copies of Lemonade and his defenders clapping back with 4:44, there’s been no shortage of bickering between both sides over recent years. Now that Bey and Jay have rebranded themselves as a united front (presented as “The Carters”) their fans seem to have been stunned into silence.     

Having poured their individual souls into Lemonade and 4:44, it’s come as a surprise to most that Beyonce and Jay-Z are in fact still in love. How can she take him back when he cheated? Although this question isn’t explicitly answered in Everything Is Love, the project calls on us to ponder the fact that, despite past conflict, Beyonce and Jay-Z  have decided to continue loving each other.

Broken and wounded no more, Beyonce starts off with an elegantly sexy chorus. Titled “SUMMER,” the first track introduces forgiveness in Bey and Jay’s relationship. Its back and forth structure is clearly produced to convey a conversation between the couple. In verses like “We hugged, made love on the seats” and “I wrapped a yellow jacket ’round B,” Jay explains he hasn’t forgotten the tenderness of the early stages of their relationship. Beyonce replies with alluring lines like “Tell me your desires, I won’t ever tire” and “I wanna drown in the depths of you” — acknowledging their timeless romance. The Carters recognize the fact that a relationship isn’t just a spark; it’s years of hard work and choosing to be in love.

From their commitment to each other has come immense success not only in the couple’s private lives but also in their public lives. In signature Jay-Z style, the rest of the album is made up of tracks highlighting their god-like stature in the music industry. In the vibrant music video accompanying “APESHIT,” for example, the two rent out the entire Louvre Museum and wear lavish outfits. In “NICE,” Beyonce triumphantly states that her “success can’t be quantified” and that she “ain’t never seen a ceiling in [her] whole life.” On “Heard About Us,” the anthem-like chorus (“No need to ask, you heard about us”) drives home The Carters’ legendary status. The soaring, jazzy instrumentals that underlie each of these tracks give the album an unstoppable, polished energy.

This same intensity seeps into the more serious themes of the album such as the prominence of whiteness in the artistic world (“APESHIT”), injustices perpetrated by police brutality (“BLACK EFFECT”), and references to key leaders of the civil rights movement. These timely jabs serve as an affirmation to their fans that the Carters will never forget those who fought for freedom and paved the road to their  Forbes List success in a world defined by white wealth. .

All in all, EVERYTHING IS LOVE proves to be a robust collaboration in which Beyonce and Jay-Z successfully draw attention to their unyielding solidarity. The final track of the album, “LOVEHAPPY”, with its charming drum beat-chorus combo, concludes the strength of their union not only as husband and wife but also as black artists in a white world. With only nine tracks in total, each element of the work is a carefully crafted “fuck you” to haters who thrive off gossip and fans who love to pry into celebrities’ personal lives.

It’s obvious that Bey and Jay aren’t just in love, they’re “happily in love”  – so why not leave their relationship alone and focus on savouring their art.

Photography by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment