Beyoncé and Jay-Z Deliver a Surprise Album: ‘Everything Is Love’

todayJune 17, 2018

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Beyoncé is back with another world-stopping surprise album — and this time she brought her husband, Jay-Z, along for the ride.

With no advanced warning or promotion beyond their ability to grab international headlines with every move, popular culture’s first couple — billed here as The Carters — released its long-rumored and teased collaborative album on Saturday evening following a concert in London. In what has become something of a familiar ritual, the sudden release immediately sent fans and the industry into a tizzy.

“Everything Is Love,” the nine-track joint release, appeared initially only on the streaming service Tidal — owned in part by Jay-Z and Beyoncé — at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, more than 24 hours after most of this week’s new music, once again separating two of pop’s power players from the pack. (The streaming services Spotify and Apple Music did not immediately respond to requests for comment about its plans for the album.)

Beyoncé first posted news of the new music to Instagram and Twitter. As the couple’s show at London Stadium concluded Saturday night, a large sign announced: “ALBUM OUT NOW.”

The album also came with a video (the song title is unprintable), directed by Ricky Saiz, shot on location at the Louvre in Paris last month, representatives for the couple said.

Beyoncé pioneered this brand of musical ambush on the widest of scales with her 2013 self-titled album, which included videos for each track. The singer upped the ante in April 2016 with the semi-surprise release of “Lemonade,” debuting the music via a big-budget, hourlong film that premiered on HBO.

That album, a staggering if carefully orchestrated confession about marital discord and black womanhood, also introduced a new chapter for Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who have increasingly mined public perception (and rumors) about their life together in art and performance.

After Beyoncé revealed tales of cheating and near-ruin on “Lemonade,” Jay-Z followed last year with “4:44,” a self-lacerating mea culpa, earning eight Grammy nominations including for album of the year. (He lost to Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic,” while “Lemonade” was defeated by Adele’s “25” the year prior; “Everything Is Love” will be eligible for Grammy Awards at the 2019 show.)

“Everything Is Love” in many ways completes the Knowles-Carter conceptual trilogy in an expert, tactical showing of family brand management. “Let’s make love in the summertime,” Beyoncé sings on the first track, “Summer,” introducing the album’s overriding message of romantic bliss. “I want to drown in the depths of you.” The second track features her singing a triumphant refrain: “I can’t believe we made it.”

“Everything Is Love” also includes songs called “Boss,” “Friends,” “Heard About Us” and “Lovehappy,” the album’s closing track, in which Jay-Z declares, “We broke up and got back together.” Beyoncé adds, “We came and we conquered/now we’re happy in love.” Tidal also posted a song separate from the album, titled “Salud!,” that features both artists.

Always proponents of maximizing business synergy, the parents of three (including twins born last year) are currently on a joint stadium tour, “On the Run II,” a sequel to their first large-scale concert pairing in 2014. On Friday, the couple performed in London, with shows in the United States beginning in July and lasting into October. The international tour came on the heels of Beyoncé’s headlining performances at Coachella in April, a grand stage show that was critically lauded and featured a cameo from Jay-Z.

“Everything Is Love” was also immediately notable for its method of delivery. Like the “Lemonade” album, released through Beyoncé’s company Parkwood and Columbia Records, the new release was at least at first available to stream only on Tidal, the company Jay-Z acquired in 2015. Meanwhile, Jay-Z’s “4:44” was immediately available on Apple, Amazon and Google’s streaming services. (Sprint purchased a one-third stake in Tidal last year.)

As of early 2017, Spotify, the service with the largest user base worldwide, hosts none of Jay-Z’s major albums, and though it has most of Beyoncé’s discography pre-“Lemonade,” the service appeared to be left out of the “Everything Is Love” moment.

Beyoncé addresses the topic on “Nice,” singing, “My success can’t be quantified,” and dismissing the importance of streaming numbers. If she did care, she adds, she would have “put ‘Lemonade’ up on Spotify.” Elsewhere, Jay-Z has explicit words for the Grammys, where “4:44” was snubbed, failing to take home a single award after a field-leading eight nominations.

Tales of a collaborative album have followed the couple for years, but only recently did the notoriously tight-lipped performers acknowledge the possibility. Long guests on one another’s songs — from the hits “Crazy in Love,” “Déjà Vu” and “Drunk in Love” to the recent DJ Khaled-helmed blips “Shining” and “Top Off” — Jay-Z and Beyoncé began working alongside one another amid strife in their marriage.

“We were using our art almost like a therapy session,” Jay-Z told The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet in an interview last year. “And we started making music together.”

The rapper said that because “Lemonade” was further along than his own songs, “her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on,” but added, “we still have a lot of that music.”

No I.D., the producer behind the entirety of “4:44,” said that Beyoncé was involved in the making of that project as well (and her vocals featured on the track “Family Feud”). “I always call Bey our de facto A&R,” No I.D. said in an interview last year. “Pillow talk is the strongest conversation on the planet. Every song has to get past her ears, in my eyes.”

Jay-Z said that the process of working through emotions together through song could be “very, very uncomfortable,” but that he was “really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released.”

“We were sitting in the eye of that hurricane,” he said. “The best place is right in the middle of the pain.”



Written by: New Generation Radio

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