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Album Review: ‘Everything is Love’ Gets Personal About Fame and Fortune

In a seriously fancy way.

Nicole Kitchens

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At some point during the month of May or June, Beyoncé and Jay-Z rented out the Louvre. Yes, you read that correctly. They rented out the Louvre.

As if it wasn’t a known fact to the contemporary world that Mr. and Mrs. Carter are the reigning power couple of our times, they make one thing very explicit in the music video for “APESHIT.” They are not at the Louvre as tourists; they are at the Louvre to assume complete control. Everything is Love is a similar reminder to the public that nobody else seems to possess the complete control over fame, culture, and empowerment that Jay-Z and Beyoncé have.

“SUMMER” opens the album with resounding strings, as Beyoncé sings sensually about making love to her husband, picking up on the euphoria of her relationship where “Drunk in Love” left off on her self-titled 2013 release. As quickly as the strings capture you in soulful bliss, you find yourself met with the wonderful aggressiveness of “APESHIT,” complete with the musing impromptus of Quavo and Offset (apparently, the song began as a Migos demo before it was picked up solely by the Carters).

“I can’t believe we made it,” Beyoncé states boldly, either in reference to her husband’s past infidelity or to their massive careers, although for listeners both options could be interchangeable. It might be one of the most poignant lines of the album relating to their private lives, seeing the couple reach a tranquil region of peace in their marriage. After all, Everything is Love is the cap off to an incredibly personal trifecta of releases, beginning with Beyoncé’s incriminating Lemonade (who could forget about “Becky with the good hair?”), continuing with Jay-Z’s 2017 apologia 4:44 (who could forget about “If my children knew/I don’t know what I would do?”).

Songs like “713” find the couple still strongly tied to their humble beginnings, but make no mistake about it; they’re incredibly famous and incredibly rich. Mentions of “24 karat faucets,” “Louis V and Goyard trunks,” “Cancun” and “Rome” dispute the mentions of “representing for [their] hustlers.” Speaking of which, “FRIENDS” finds the couple reflecting on their allies and foes, hinting at the friction of their current relationship with Kanye West. It’s been noted that there could even be a possible Drake reference on “BOSS,” alluding to the time that the Toronto rapper turned down a Tidal contract for a $19 million Apple Music contract. “HEARD ABOUT US” continues the recurring theme of fame; the Tidal bonus track, “Salud!” finds the couple once again celebrating a mutual “cheers” to commend themselves for the patience and control they exhibited in their marriage and professions.

The retro, 90’s-esque “LOVEHAPPY” sees the couple going back and forth in a lighthearted reminiscing of their past (when Jay-Z chuckles “Yo, chill,” to Bey’s “Yeah, you fucked up the first stone/We had to get remarried” you can almost see them laughing together in the studio). However it turns into a serious reminder of the past, with Beyoncé declaring that they have a “long way to go, but we’re working/We’re flawed but we’re still perfect/For each other.” The track ends with, “We came and we saw and we conquered.”

It’s a similar sentiment felt at the end of the “APESHIT” video, finding listeners back in the midst of the Louvre; they slowly turn around to look at the Mona Lisa, but first, stare knowingly and calmly into each other’s eyes.

They have come, they have seen, they have conquered.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Nicole Kitchens is a Journalism major at the University of South Carolina. She is an avid music writer and once received an Instagram like from Keith Richards -- she hasn’t stopped talking about it since. To read more of her reviews and features, visit her blog: https://www.theelectricblonde.com/. Also, follow her Hunter-Thompson-esque adventures on Instagram: @nicolekitchens

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