What does it sound like?:
With Lemonade, I was finally convinced that Beyoncé was for real. She meant every word on that album. Lemonade is personal, vulnerable, angry and heartfelt. It was revelatory.
Since then, Jay-Z has issued his apology album and now the two combine for the happy reconciliation. The sound of Everything Is Love is thoroughly modern, deploying the best producers and songwriters money can buy. It’s dynamic and explosive, an amazing aural orgasm. And there’s the rub. This album, for all the repeated professions of love, is simply a grand manifestation of unimaginable wealth. I am completely unconvinced they are truly back together in romantic harmony. On the contrary, I believe the only thing they have in common is that they are equally in love with their financial prosperity and boasting about their bling. There are times the lyrics consist of a wearisome shopping list of expensive items. There’s no depth, no revelation on the meaning of life, no genuine celebration of the power of love. Jay-Bey seem only to be in love with each other as part of a rapacious business partnership, both playing their prescribed roles to a tee.
As is the current trend, videos say more than the music. The video to Apeshit is a triumphant display of affluence. Here are The Carters positioning themselves as a power couple, a power gained by financial success, able to afford the illusion they create art comparable to the likes of Da Vinci. There are other dimensions, though. They subvert the epitome of white, imperialistic art that hangs in the Louvre by having a bunch of black people take over and have some fun, mostly women dressed to look naked. They make the point that much of this white opulence was earned on the backs of black, African people, especially in the pose as chaise lounge to Madame Récamier. It’s unsettling to a white viewer like me. In addition, like Napoleon in David’s depiction of his consecration and the crowning of Josephine, the Carters crown themselves King and Queen of all they survey. The video is the indeed an impressive watch.
Sadly, as far as the album goes, we are back to the old Beyoncé, the money-making machine, the self aggrandising media manipulator, the voracious commercial enterprise. Everything Is Love is inhuman, quite definitely not for real, despite its title and the stripped down cover (except for The Mona Lisa, of course). There is nothing of true value to find here.
What does it all *mean*?
Perhaps, I was foolish to believe in her at all. Even so, I live in hope and I’m looking forward to her divorce album.
Goes well with…
A rose gold Concept.
Might suit people who like…
A $17,500 day out at The Louvre. That’s all it costs to hire it for a day, apparently.