Everything Is Love

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Everything Is Love
A black woman with short hair giving a shirtless tattooed black man a haircut in the Louvre art museum. Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa can be seen hanging in the background.
Studio album by The Carters
Released June 16, 2018
Studio
Genre
Length 38:17
Label
Producer
Beyoncé chronology
Lemonade
(2016)
Everything Is Love
(2018)
Jay-Z chronology
4:44
(2017)
Everything Is Love
(2018)
Singles from Everything Is Love
  1. "Apeshit"
    Released: June 16, 2018

Everything Is Love (stylized in all caps) is a collaborative studio album by American singer Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z, billed as The Carters. Unveiled at the final London performance of their On the Run II Tour, the album was released with no prior announcement or promotion on June 16, 2018, by Beyoncé's Parkwood Entertainment and Jay-Z's S.C Enterprises, distributed through Sony Music Entertainment and Roc Nation respectively. Initially exclusive to Tidal, a wider release followed two days later. The album features additional vocals by Quavo and Offset of Migos, Ty Dolla Sign and Pharrell, among others. The duo self-produced the album with a variety of collaborators, including Cool & Dre, Boi-1da and Pharrell.

Everything Is Love received rave reviews from critics. Commercially, it debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with 123,000 album-equivalent units, of which 70,000 were pure album sales.[1] The album is supported by lead single "Apeshit" and a Tidal-exclusive promotional single "Salud!".[2]

Background and recording[edit]

Plans about a joint album by the couple were announced by Jay-Z during an interview with The New York Times in 2017 when he said that they used "art almost like a therapy session" to create new music. However, since they also worked on their respective albums 4:44 and Lemonade, and Beyoncé's music progressed more rapidly, the project was temporarily stopped. Rumors about the collaborative project began emerging in March 2018 when the couple announced their On the Run II Tour.[2]

The majority of the album was at U Arena in Paris, except "Friends", "Black Effect" and "Salud!" which were recorded at Kingslanding Studios West in Los Angeles, with further recording for "Summer" and "Nice" taking place at The Church Studios in London. Beyoncé and Jay-Z co-produced all of the songs on the album themselves, with further producers including Pharrell, Cool & Dre, Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet, David Andrew Sitek, D'Mile, El Michels, Fred Ball, Illmind, MeLo-X, Mike Dean and Nav. The album was predominantly recorded by Stuart White and Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton.[citation needed]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"Like the fifth act of a hip-hop and R&B Shakespearean comedy, Everything Is Love finds our lovers reunited, their misunderstandings resolved, their vows renewed (Beyoncé: 'you fucked up the first stone/ we had to get remarried'), and their family looking ahead to decades of more peaceful prosperity. Outrageous, multiple-mansioned, diamonds-and-watches-and-Lambos prosperity, symbolically tied to an agenda of black capitalism as racial uplift and reparations."

Carl Wilson, Slate[3]

According to Exclaim! journalist Riley Wallace, Everything Is Love is a hip hop album.[4] Mike Wass from Idolator observed a "trap sound and flashy bravado" on the record,[5] while Respect magazine's Jasmine Johnson said it "involves trap with a hint of love".[6] Alexis Petridis found the music more rooted in hip hop than R&B,[7] as did Jogai Bhatt of The Spinoff, who viewed it as a departure from "the sort of contemporary R&B traditionally associated with Beyoncé."[8] Craig Jenkins from Vulture said the singer played the role of an "R&B heavyweight" doubling as a "formidable rapper" throughout the album, showcasing her talents for vocal belting and complex rap cadences.[9]

The album contains lyrics about the couple's romantic love, lavish lifestyle, media worship, wealth, black pride and fame; themes that were found to be characteristic of the whole record.[10] Other songs feature the pair singing about their family affairs as well as maintaining their relationship following hardships (i.e. infidelity).[11] Time magazine's Maura Johnston regarded the album as another "blockbuster duet in R&B and hip-hop"; comparable to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's soul songs from the 1960s and the 1995 Method Man and Mary J. Blige recording "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By"; while incorporating contemporary elements in the form of trap beats, critical references to the National Football League and the Grammy Awards, and playing with "public perceptions of the duo's relationship".[12] Jenkins said it extolled African-American entrepreneurship while presenting Jay-Z as "a doting father and husband, an entrepreneur and altruist with ideas about how everyone else should handle their businesses, a king-tier braggart, and a rap legend".[9]

Artwork[edit]

The artwork for the album is a still frame from the music video for "Apeshit". It features two of Beyoncé's background dancers at the Louvre—the female is seen picking the hair of the male dancer while standing in front of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.[13]

Release and promotion[edit]

On June 6, 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z embarked on the joint On the Run II Tour, a sequel to their 2014 On the Run Tour. At the end of their second show at London Stadium in London on June 16, 2018, Beyoncé announced to the crowd that the duo had a surprise before leaving the stage. Then, the music video for "Apeshit" played on the LED video screen onstage. Following the conclusion of the video, the words "ALBUM OUT NOW" came across the screen. Everything Is Love was subsequently released exclusively via Jay-Z's streaming service Tidal and all audience members received a free six-month trial subscription in order to be able to stream the album.[14] The album was also made available for purchase on Tidal's online music store. The release was announced worldwide on the Beyoncé and Jay-Z's respective social media accounts with the artist of the album being monikered as the Carters.[10] On the same day, the music video for the album's second track and lead single "Apeshit" was released on Beyoncé's official YouTube channel. It was directed by Ricky Saiz and filmed at the Louvre in Paris.[15][16]

On June 18, the album was made available across numerous other platforms, including iTunes Store, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon Music, Napster, Google Play Music and Spotify.[17] This is the first album by Beyoncé that was made available across all platforms since 4 (2011).

Singles[edit]

"Apeshit" was released as the album's lead single on June 16, 2018 along with its accompanying music video, which was directed by Ricky Saiz and filmed at the Louvre in Paris in May 2018. Non-album song "Salud!" was released as a promotional single the same day.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.4/10[19]
Metacritic80/100[20]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[21]
The A.V. ClubB+[22]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[23]
Exclaim!9/10[4]
The Guardian3/5 stars[7]
The Independent4/5 stars[24]
NME4/5 stars[25]
Pitchfork8.2/10[26]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[27]
The Times4/5 stars[28]

Everything Is Love was met with rave reviews from critics.[29] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20] According to The New York Times writer Joe Coscarelli, the album "completes the Knowles-Carter conceptual trilogy", referring to the previous releases of Lemonade and 4:44, "in an expert, tactical showing of family brand management".[10] Music critic Nicholas Hautman of Us Weekly wrote: "It's clear from the very first listen that Beyoncé outshines her husband on much of the record, which really should have been marketed as 'Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z' rather than 'Beyoncé and Jay-Z' (or 'the Carters,' in this case). His verses are few and far between in comparison to hers, but it still somehow feels like a balanced body of work from two of the greatest artists of our time."[30] In The Guardian, Petridis believed the album retreads braggadocio centering around the duo's wealth and excellence, with less musical daring, but still does so with likeable music, genuine wit, and energy.[7] As per The Daily Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick pointed, "Everything Is Love certainly doesn’t have the musical expansiveness of Lemonade. There are neither ballads nor bangers, and not much in the way of melodic song construction at all. Rather, these are snappily repetitive beats on which the stars can put across their message as a form of hip hop conversation."[23] For Variety, Jim Aswad described it as "solid and generally satisfying, but not the best from either."[31]

Will Hodgkinson of The Times reviewed track-by-track, stated: "Jay-Z is as dynamic as ever and the new, though Beyoncé demands attention on this surprise album, [...] despite the ups and downs detailed on Beyoncé's Lemonade and Jay-Z's subsequent mea culpa 4:44. Instead they are coming out fighting, with all that fame and money making them defensive, even paranoid, while a mix of classic soul, hard-hitting hip-hop and slinky R&B."[28] Pitchfork contributor Briana Younger wrote that the album "is a compromise between the spoils of Lemonade's war and the fruits of 4:44's labor. Jay and Bey extend an invitation to join their very public vow-renewal victory lap because we now know what it costs to get here and how expensive having it all can be. It may not be collective liberation (and why should it be?), but it is theirs. When Beyoncé declares, 'We came and we saw and we conquered it all' on playful closer 'LOVEHAPPY,' it's her final exhale, her reclamation of her throne of love pulled straight from the tongue of colonizers. Within this complex, messy and beautifully black display, the Carters find absolution."[26] Exclaim!'s Riley Wallace said "Beyoncé holds her own" on the album, regardless of "whether she actually wrote the bars", adding that "the timing of the release was savage, but that's hip-hop. And so is this project. Nothing is off limits, and their chemistry on wax continues to be just as powerful as it is in real life. It's not only a top-to-bottom banger, but it's also relationship goals."[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

Everything Is Love debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 behind 5 Seconds of Summer's Youngblood, with 123,000 album-equivalent units, out of which 70,000 were pure album sales,[1] thus becoming Beyoncé's first studio album not to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, and Jay-Z's first album to miss the top spot since The Best of Both Worlds (2002).[32] The album debuted on the chart after less than six full days of activity on Tidal, and four days of activity on all other digital retailers and streaming services.[33] It dropped to number four in its second week, moving 59,000 album-equivalent units.[34]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Beyoncé's official website,[35] Tidal[36] and the album's digital booklet.[37]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Summer"4:45
2."Apeshit"
4:24
3."Boss"
4:04
4."Nice"
  • Williams
  • Beyoncé
  • Carter
3:54
5."713"
  • Beyoncé
  • Carter
  • Valenzano
  • Lyon
  • Rayshon Cobbs, Jr.
3:13
6."Friends"
5:44
7."Heard About Us"
3:10
8."Black Effect"
  • Beyoncé
  • Carter
  • Andrews
  • Coney
  • Valenzano
  • Lyon
  • Cobbs, Jr.
  • Alexander Smith
  • Beyoncé
  • Jay-Z
  • Cool & Dre
5:13
9."LoveHappy"
  • Beyoncé
  • Jay-Z
  • Sitek
  • Nova Wav[b]
3:49
Total length:38:17
Tidal exclusive promotional single
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Salud!"
  • Beyoncé
  • Jay-Z
  • Cool & Dre
  • Beat Butcha[a]
3:33

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[c] signifies a vocal producer
  • Every track title is stylized in all caps, with "Friends" sometimes stylized as upside-down text.
  • "Summer" features additional vocals by Rory from Stone Love and Anthony Wilmot
  • "Apeshit" features additional vocals by Offset and Quavo of Migos
  • "Boss" features additional vocals by Ty Dolla Sign and Blue Ivy Carter
  • "Nice" features additional vocals by Pharrell
  • "Black Effect" features additional vocals by Dr. Lenora Antoinette Stines
  • "Salud!" features additional vocals by Dre from Cool & Dre

Samples

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Beyoncé's official website,[35] Tidal[36] and the album's digital booklet.[37]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[38] 6
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[39] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[40] 8
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[41] 28
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[42] 4
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[43] 30
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[44] 10
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[45] 4
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[46] 30
French Albums (SNEP)[47] 33
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[48] 23
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[49] 33
Irish Albums (OCC)[50] 10
Italian Albums (FIMI)[51] 20
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[52] 11
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[53] 8
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[54] 2
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[55] 10
Scottish Albums (OCC)[56] 7
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[57] 9
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[58] 7
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[59] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[60] 5
US Billboard 200[1] 2
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[61] 1

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, format(s), label(s) and reference(s)
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Various June 16, 2018 [62]
June 18, 2018
  • Streaming
  • digital download
[63][64]
July 6, 2018 CD [65]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Sodomsky, Sam; Wicks, Amanda (June 16, 2018). "Beyoncé and JAY-Z Release New Album Everything Is Love: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Carl (June 18, 2018). "Beyoncé and Jay-Z's New Album Is Like the Satisfying Finale of a Prestige Drama". Slate. Retrieved August 20, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Wallace, Riley (June 19, 2018). "The Carters: Everything Is Love". Exclaim!. Retrieved June 22, 2018. 
  5. ^ Wass, Mike (June 18, 2018). "Beyoncé & Jay-Z's 'Everything Is Love' Is Now On iTunes & Spotify". Idolator. Retrieved July 10, 2018. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Jasmine (July 6, 2018). "The Carters' 'Everything is Love' is a Masterpiece that Involves Trap With a Hint of Love". Respect. Retrieved July 9, 2018. 
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External links[edit]