Hide your kids, hide your wife, because Beyoncé is snatching everyone’s wigs out here. So, here’s just another reason why Beyoncé is a boss: there are rappers left and right hyping people up months before they drop an album like over eager amateurs, and then Beyoncé comes along and places EVERYTHING IS LOVE in our lives, complete and polished, then silently struts away. No one saw it coming! I’m an avid member of the “Bey Hive,” and even I was blindsided. When I initially heard she had a new album out I thought of one thing: will this new album surpass her past works (AKA the legendary Lemonade album)? Let’s get into it.
EVERYTHING IS LOVE serves as a resolution to the storyline she’s been telling through her past songs about her marriage with Jay-Z, which was detailed with love, jealousy, affairs, and “Becky with the Good Hair.” It all reached its peak with her album, Lemonade, in which she spilled all the tea. The most important points were made in the intros to her music videos (watch them if you haven’t!). First, there was the suspicion of Jay-Z’s affair, depicted by Beyonce’s song “Hold Up.” In the beginning of her music video she describes her struggle with wanting to trust her husband while being haunted by the question, “Is he cheating on me?” Then, in “Sorry,” it’s clear that she found the answer to that question: she goes off in the intro to the music video:
“So what are you gonna say at my funeral, now that you’ve killed me? Here lies the body of the love of my life, whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children, both living and dead. ‘Rest in peace, my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb pussy. Who, because of me, sleep evaded. Her god listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.’”
If I were Jay-Z, I’d be quaking in my Gucci slides.
“Aye Bey, chill on me about all that cheating stuff.”
Fast forward. Beyoncé and Jay-Z make up, and now we have EVERYTHING IS LOVE. Let’s begin with the star of the show, “APESHIT.” A moment of silence for the moment my soul died upon first listen. “APESHIT” is that rare gem of a song that manages to throw shade at
everyone and their grandmas. Beyoncé and Jay-Z became Oprah, but instead of giving their audience gifts, they were running around yelling “You get some shade! You get some shade! Everybody gets shade!”
The first shade ball was caught by the setting of the song’s music video, the Louvre. (Yes. They rented. out. the effing. Louvre.) A museum that rarely celebrates successful black people is now shown filled with beautiful black dancers, actors, and models. Powerful black bodies in a white-dominated space is a statement, and I’m here for it.
So many shades. So much Black beauty. Perfection.
Now, let’s look at some other recipients of the power couple’s shade:
The Super Bowl
“I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don’t need you. Every night we in the end zone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.”
“ Tell the Grammy’s fuck that 0 for 8 shit.” (referring to the scandal when Jay-Z was nominated for 8 Grammy awards but won zero.)
There are many more, but you’ll just have to give the song a listen yourself.
Overall thoughts: the song “APESHIT” bumps and has strong lyrics, but I just don’t know if the album as a whole can compare to her past albums. Besides “APESHIT,” the songs in EVERYTHING IS LOVE are extremely similar to what she’s done before; the only difference is that Jay-Z is featured in these new ones. Maybe my expectations are too high because of Lemonade with its novelty and copious amounts of tea spilt in every single song. All in all, “APESHIT,” as a single is fantastic, but the album itself as whole is just good. It doesn’t stand out against her other works. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it is amazing in the context of the music industry today. However, as they say, “one’s only competition is oneself,” and I just don’t think the Beyoncé in EVERYTHING IS LOVE beat the Beyoncé in her past albums. What do you think?