In true Yoncé style, Beyoncé made a surprise drop of her latest album over the weekend. Social media was set alight as Everything is Love was released, without any prior warning or marketing, exclusively on Tidal (the album is now available on Spotify).
You'd be forgiven for seeing the words 'Beyoncé' and 'new album' in the same sentence and freaking out and inviting the girls round for a wine night in celebration. The album was not, however, Beyoncé's seventh solo studio release as we'd hoped. It was the first album released as a collaboration with her husband, rapper Jay-Z, under the joint name 'The Carters'. It is also the first album released by Beyoncé (granted, as a collaborative effort) since her Grammy award-winning sixth album Lemonade; an artistic triumph largely centred around infidelity in Beyoncé's marriage and the pain, anger and ultimate healing and love spawned from that time in her relationship.
The general feeling around the office when we heard about a new Beyoncé album was initial excitement, followed by a slightly disappointed "oh" when Jay-Z was revealed as part of it. Is it me, or does everyone just enjoy Beyoncé a lot more when she's flying solo? Granted, the likes of Drunk in Love and Crazy in Love are absolute bops but a whole album of Bey and Jay just feels a little...forced. Especially in its timing in Beyoncé's career.
Everything is Love follows Beyoncé's magnum opus as an artist; Lemonade, musically, visually, aesthetically, is incredible. And a massive reason why it is so incredible is that it's all about her. Her emotions, her journey, her grief. Lemonade was an album for wronged women throughout the world. Yes, it ended in a reconciliation and recognition that her marriage was more important than its problems, but that, in and of itself, was relatable. So to follow it up with a collaboration, and not the solo independent woman that we are all screaming for, just felt a little off.
Beyoncé's power is in her power. She is a badass boss woman, who runs her own life and is an icon of her own making. While we love love, and are fans of the ultimate power couple sorting out their differences, is a bit of Sasha Fierce too much to ask for?
Don't get me wrong; Jay-Z is a tremendously talented rapper, philanthropist, producer and music mogul. But he still cheated on Bey. So you know. Priorities.