Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Shawn Carter, Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir. I imagine the Carter family dynamic to be pretty intense—the mother and father both being at the top of the music scene while raising three children, two of whom are still infants. Prior to this newest release, I wondered when the whole family would ever find the time to be together if both parents were to pursue their own music careers. Well, our questions have been answered: Beyonce and Jay-Z will combine their careers, having released an album and planning to tour together. The couple will even be traveling the world with their children. What a way to grow up! The album, titled EVERYTHING IS LOVE, is the perfect hybrid of the sounds Beyonce and Jay-Z have created for themselves, and fans couldn't have asked for more. Here’s a deeper look into the album we didn’t know we needed until now.
Track #1: “SUMMERTIME” The album starts on a chill note, with some summery reggae hints and beach-focused metaphors in the lyrics. With the main chorus line being, “Let’s make love in the summertime,” it’s clear this is the perfect summer romance song—and one that could only come from the love that is Bey and Jay-Z’s. In Jay-Z’s slow, rhythmic verse, he ties in references to Lamborghinis and $100,000 watches while making them sound simple and romantic, something only he could achieve.
Track #2: “APESHIT” The second track off the album, featuring a little help from their friends Quavo and Offset, is very much a flex. Not only are the lyrics speaking on how successful they are, the music video is filmed in the Louvre. I mean, renting out the Louvre for a music video is about as big as it gets. With lines like “I can’t believe we made it” and “Gimme my check, put some respect on my check,” Beyonce demands to be heard. The Carters have made a point to speak on the inequality and injustice in the world, specifically regarding racism, and this song is no exception. They state that they got to where they are today through strength and hard work, and they are deserving of their lavish lives.
Track #3: “BOSS” As its title infers, Beyonce and Jay-Z explain the reasons they both earned the title “boss.” They own every game they enter, and in this track they mention things like their nearly $100-million dollar house and the $6-million house Beyonce bought her mom. Along with mentions of these not-so-modest purchases, they speak of dropping their daughter off at school every morning, and the song closes with six-year-old Blue Ivy giving an adorable shout-out to her new siblings, Sir and Rumi. It’s a strangely effective contrast of family life and the A-list lifestyle, a blend only Beyonce and Jay-Z could make to seem so easy.
Track #4: “NICE” This song speaks on the inequality and racism in America, yet again. The chorus is “I can do anything / hell nah, hell nah, hell nah.” This is most likely an allusion to the fact that America is supposed to be a land of freedom and diversity, but in fact, is anything but. Black individuals are ironically told that they “can do anything,” when inequality is still very much still present in our society (“hell nah”).
Track #5: “713” This song is a shout-out to Beyonce’s hometown of Houston, the area code being 713. There are also references to Jay-Z’s hometown and the first time him and Beyonce met. It’s a nod to their roots, who they were before they were “Beyonce and Jay-Z,” when they were dreamers who dared to dream big, and the results of that hard work. “I put it down for the 713, and we still got love for the streets.” It’s a reminder to never forget where you came from, who raised you to become who you are now; it’s sending a little bit of love to everyone back home.
Track #6: “FRIENDS” This track is basically a big shout-out to the Carters’ friends, everyone who is and has been there for them. It’s a declaration of the fact that their friends are the only real ones, everyone else being fake people that are only out to acquire fame or cash through the Carters. One thing that especially stood out to me was the duo’s honesty and depth with lyrics like, “We fly, why cry, our souls exposed” and “Closer than kin, I’m blessed, you blessed.” Finding real friends who you can open your soul to is one of the best things in life, and I really admire the fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z took an entire song to step back and talk about that.
Track #7: “HEARD ABOUT US” The main line in this song is “No need to ask, you heard about us,” which is pretty spot-on for the wavelength that these two are on. I can’t think of anyone I know that hasn’t heard of them. Name a more iconic duo… I’ll wait. Beyonce is clear when she says that she doesn’t waste time asking if anyone has heard about her, because she knows they have. Although clearly bragging, if anyone has the right to brag about where and who they are, it’s the Carters.
Track #8: “BLACK EFFECT” This is the album’s most straightforward approach to addressing the racism and struggles black individuals face. The song speaks on cultural appropriation (specifically cornrows), false arrests and police brutality, imperialism, the exploitation of the female body, as well as MLK and Malcolm X.
Track #9: “LOVEHAPPY” Beyonce and Jay-Z dive into their personal lives on “LOVEHAPPY,” from the scandals of their relationship to the age gap between their daughter Blue Ivy (born in 2012) and their twins, Sir and Rumi (born in 2017). Beyonce once again relives the pain of being cheated on, but the song’s mood is lifted by lines like “This beach ain't always been no paradise / But nightmares only last one night,” showing how her pain was temporary and that they couldn’t be happier now. The album ends on a positive note, going through the ups and downs of their relationship and finally settling on a lovestruck state of existence.
Like all great albums, EVERYTHING IS LOVE is a roller coaster of emotions. It dissects the Carters’ struggles, pains, achievements, and joys. It’s an illustration of their life as a family, as well as individuals. Beyonce and Jay-Z never cease to remind us that hard work and unwavering passion will pay off in spades, and they are the perfect example.
This album is the ultimate blend of the best traits of each unique artist, and with it they created something truly incredible. Even if you have never listened to Beyonce or Jay-Z, I strongly recommend taking a listen to EVERYTHING IS LOVE—you just might fall in love.
Annie Walton Doyle
Ameerah de Chabert