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On their new duet record Everything is Love, the power couple is blithely comfortable in their apparent transcendence.YouTube/Beyonce

It is good to be queen. It is good to be king. But to be Beyoncé and Jay-Z is to be something higher and other.

On their new duet record Everything is Love, the power couple is blithely comfortable in their apparent transcendence. “We came and we conquered,” Beyoncé sings as the album fades out, “Now we happy in love.”

It is much more than an update on the state of their domestic affairs. After listening to the LP’s nine songs, one is struck by the married duo’s elegant vanity. It is clear they believe their love, success and happiness benefits us all. Call it trickle-down bliss.

Though the album of hip-hop, soul and R&B finds Beyoncé rapping much more than usual, Everything is Love is not especially innovative musically. Released with no warning on Saturday for streaming and digital downloading on Tidal, the collaborative effort is credited to the Carters, their joint surname. It should be seen as the third and final chapter of an unofficial trilogy that began with Beyoncé’s Lemonade in 2016 and continued with her husband’s 2017 response, 4:44. With Everything is Love, they roll down tinted windows long enough to let us all know that the marital crisis more than hinted at on those previous albums has been overcome.

It begins with Summer, a supremely grooving bit of strings and come-hither slink. “Come swim in my ocean,” invites Beyoncé. The Carters’ beaches are presumably private.

Summer is followed by a hard-hitting rap number which finds Beyoncé issuing dismissive orders and simple similes to her accountant (“Stack my money fast and go/Fast like a Lambo”) while Jay-Z brushes off major pop-cultural events as if they were sand grains on his tuxedo. “I said no to the Super Bowl,” he spits. “You need me, I don’t need you.” The Grammys, where none of his eight nominations earlier this year were converted into trophies, get similar disrespect.

Though Everything is Love was originally released on Tidal (a service partly owned by the superstar twosome), the window of exclusivity lasted only briefly. The album is now available through services including Spotify Premium. (In two weeks it will hit Spotify’s free tier.)

More than two years after its release, Beyoncé’s Lemonade is still not available on Spotify. That curious marketing decision is referenced on the moody hip-hop plod of Nice, co-produced and co-written by hit-maker Pharrell Williams.

“Patiently waiting for my demise, ’cause my success can’t be quantified,” declares Beyoncé, displaying a rare streak of paranoia and a bold disdain for the efforts of Nielson SoundScan and Billboard music charts. She reasons in expletive terms that if she cared about streaming numbers she “would’ve put Lemonade up on Spotify.”

With her proud husband looking on approvingly (and chanting “nice, nice” repeatedly), Beyoncé issues a braggadocios proclamation that would make lesser royalty blush:

Last name ’gon be here forever

Now we [finally] float like feathers

Me and Hova do it like rebels

Most of y’all [just] got pebbles

I got the rocks and the fella

Ice lightning bolts from the heavens

Y’all ’gon have to watch us eat…

Next track 713 chronicles the couple’s love affair. Black Effect sprawls confusingly from spiritualism to triumphs over institutional racism. On Love Happy, Beyoncé references Jay-Z’s infidelity: “This beach ain’t always been no paradise/But nightmares only last one night.”

But while Beyoncé goes on to allow that “we’re flawed,” any sense of humbleness or humanism suggested by the album title is lost in the duo’s boastful stances. We are left with the notion that there are two kinds of people in the world. One of them is Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The others are everybody else.

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