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Beyonce And Jay-Z (The Carters) “Everything Is Love” Reviewed

The surprise drop Z and B show to coincide with their stadium tour, Everything Is Love, isn’t bad. It isn’t bad at all. But in a spring where Kanye West has released four straight seven track masterpieces and still has everyone from A$AP Rocky to Cardi B to Janelle Monae on his heels and how, it isn’t good enough. I didn’t think much of our first woke Jay Z 4:44 which still had “The Story Of O.J.” and don’t get me started on Lemonade except to mention that the wide musical palette that had Beyonce working with everyone from Karen O to Ezra Koenig, is narrowed to a strong and consistently black r&b.

Both songs and lyrics are a little obvious. No, these songs of marital fidelity and branding are not self indulgent, and no, Jay Z doesn’t wag his dick in your face anymore (though he wags his checkbook), and the sense of a community, a family, especially on Father’s Day is a good response to perceived black social problems, but it isn’t fun enough, or smart enough. Sure, rap, right, solipsism comes with the territory, still while Kanye deals with mental illness, Jay and Bey deal with their innate superiority. It puts me off.

Opening song “Summer,” about the couple fucking each other during the summer, is a well orchestrated piece of what amounts to retro-soul. It is OK, listen once, twice, but you get the point fast, but you’ll never skip it.  “Apeshit” is everything you might want it to be, a take no prisons ode to their audience that starts fast and strong and then goes faster and further with the best rap Bey has ever done by far, a speedy Twister, and Jay comes in late but he comes through (the “monkey business”  line is really good), and good for the couple sticking it to everyone (apparently, Jay Z turned down the Super Bowl… he fills NFL stadiums anyway).  “Boss” is a terrific song, which, if you can get past Jay Z’s claim that people who don’t sign with him are hurting themselves, makes  a case for the tied that rises everybody.

Things slow down after those three, “Nice” ain’t much “713” is Houston’s area code, “Friends” is as stupid a concept though the autotune is really echoey and cool. None of this is BAD, not of it is stupid, even if it is very arrogant. And “LOVEHAPPY” Is pretty excellent to take us out. But this all has nothing to do with anything and name checking Trayvon Martin doesn’t change that. It feels like 40 minutes of spin put to music, life by paparazzi in a cloistered that, even romantically, has nothing whatsoever to do with the way anyone lives anywhere.

Grade: B+



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