Some couples repair rifts in their relationships with expensive therapy. Beyoncé and JAY-Z tour stadiums together and surprise-release collaborative albums that mine their self-mythologized personal drama for big-ticket entertainment. Sonically closer to Beyoncé’s 2016 high-art airing of dirty laundry Lemonade than Jay’s 2017 response 4:44, this isn’t just rubbernecking at the doings inside America’s royal family—it’s a challenging, tense, and thoroughly catchy summertime romp in its own right. When Beyoncé sings, “I can’t believe we made it,” in the appropriately aggressive “APESHIT,” she might be referring to the détente in their high-profile marriage; she might mean this very album. The fun is in decoding—but it’s hardly the only fun.
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