I've been married for over 14 years. I've known my wife for over 20 years. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that she's the best things to ever happen to me. But let me make one thing abundantly clear: we could never work together. I mean, we work well together but we don't “work" together in the “job" sense. If we vacation in a new city, we have to have a conversation about working together to find our way around before we walk out the door. She forgives me for my aggravating attention to detail, and I forgive her for her carefree “let's just try something” attitude. It's not easy, but we make it happen. Like many couples, it can be difficult but we make it happen.
So I can only imagine it being difficult for Jay and Bey to work together to create EVERYTHING IS LOVE. I know not all couples face the exact same challenges, but throughout this album Mr. & Mrs. Carter remind us just how much they’re just like every other couple, except not at all. This dichotomy is illustrated both vividly and subtily throughout the album, beginning with the first track, SUMMER. As Beyonce opens the track singing of love and making love, the timeless & universal song topics, Jay closes the song out by reminding us of the life afforded by the couple’s wealth such as the ability to drive Lamborghinis and live in Bel-Air. FRIENDS follows a similar refrain by speaking of the familiar refrain of the importance of friends, a topic we all can relate to. But in traditional Jay and Bey fashion, the very relatable subject matter is sprinkled with references to wealth that the average consumer of their music can only aspire to.
The majority of the album is constituted by tracks that we mere mortals could only listen and relate to in those three to four days after that bi-weekly direct deposit hits. Songs such as APESH*T, BOSS, NICE, and 713 let it be clearly known that their “great-great-grandchildren already rich.” Their opulence even pops up on the pro-black track BLACK EFFECT, where we get references to selling out stadiums and hopping out of jets right next to allusions of MLK Boulevards and Sarah Baartman.
While Jay and Bey unapologetically highlight their uncommon wealth within the album, they also speak very candidly on the more common relationship issue of infidelity which they’ve experienced. Whether it was with the subtilty of Beyonce singing “I can’t believe we made it” on APESH*T, or Jay very directly rapping about how he had to “move the whole family west” to save his marriage on LOVEHAPPY, the couple is remarkably transparent about their struggles and how they overcame them. In fact, LOVEHAPPY almost exclusively speaks to how they worked through their challenges and are dedicated to making their relationship work.
Despite reaching a level of success and wealth that separates them apart from most other people, the power couple comes across as relatable as your suburban next door neighbor. Next door neighbors who vacation and party way more than you, but always have a moment to talk when they see you out in the yard. And despite the vacations and the parties, they face the same every day issues anyone else faces behind closed doors. Except Jay and Bey are facing, working, and apparently thriving through these challenges in plain view for the world to see.
If there’s anything to be inspired by in this album, it wouldn’t be their financial wealth, but their desire to work together through life’s challenges to stay committed to each other and their family.
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