From the release of “03 Bonnie & Clyde” almost 16 years ago, it was clear that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had a chemistry. The Carters‘ chemistry has reappeared on several tracks since, it powered the tabloid intrigue of both 2016’s Lemonade and 2017’s 4:44, and now it has its own record. Much of Everything Is Love was recorded at the same time as those aforementioned albums, and the production bears some of the chopped up soul of Jay-Z’s last release as well as nods to the current hip-hop scene.
Lead single Apeshit is an energetic burst of glitzy trap produced by Pharrell and assisted by Migos, featuring an impressive flow from Beyonce who has been working on her rapping chops for the past few years. Like many tracks it feels a little like Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, with the latter only really shining on 713 and Black Effect, but he puts in a good verse making it a highlight on the album. Pharrell reappears on the less successful Nice, his production sounding like a blander version of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright and the hook quickly becoming tiresome.
Friends is a touching number about those most important to the Carters over nocturnal keys, while Heard About Us sees Jay-Z touching on allegations of a secret child (“Billie Jean in his prime / for the thousandth time, the kid ain’t mine / online they call me Dad kiddingly / you’re not supposed to take this Dad thing literally”).
Throughout Everything Is Love, Jay and Bey are at ease, a contrast to their previous solo releases and an epilogue of sorts to the gossip that has surrounded their relationship since 2014. For this reason it isn’t always the most substantial record, flexing and braggadocio abound, but it’s an enjoyable collection of tracks from the power couple.