The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.
There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.
Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.
Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.
The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.
Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success.
Much like Lemonade and 4:44, Everything is Love is filled with details of Jay-Z's infidelity and the couple's subsequent reconciliation.
"If me and my wife beefing, I don't care if the house on fire, I'm dying … I ain't leaving," Jay-Z raps on 714.
In the album closer, Beyonce offers this meditation on their union: "The ups and downs are worth it/Long way to go but we're working/We're flawed but we're still perfect for each other, yeah yeah/Sometimes I thought we'd never see the light/We went through Hell with Heaven on our side/This beach ain't always been no paradise."
But many of their lyrics are straight-out boasting.
"My success can't be quantified," Beyonce sings on the expletive-laden NICE, adding that if she cared "about streaming numbers, would've put Lemonade up on Spotify." (Interestingly, though, Everything Is Love was briefly released exclusively on Tidal, the streaming service part-owned by the couple. On Monday, it was made available on other platforms, including Spotify).
Jay-Z complains that he didn't win any of the eight Grammys he was nominated for in 2017. But he also raps that he "said no to the Super Bowl/You need me, I don't need you/Every night we in the end zone/Tell the NFL we in stadiums too."
Woven throughout are references to police brutality and systematic racism, such as the chorus of Black Effect: "Get your hands up high like a false arrest/Let me see 'em up high, this is not a test."
Accompanying the album was an opulent music video for the track APESHIT that finds the couple lounging, wandering and finally partying in the Louvre in Paris, alone save for a group of dancers in nude bodysuits.
As the couple delight in their surroundings, the camera wanders to various paintings, most of them featuring white people.
The video is a study in juxtaposition: A juxtaposition between the fluid movements of the couple and the still paintings and statues. A juxtaposition between the black and brown dancers and the white faces lining the walls. A juxtaposition between art and reality.
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‘Extended run’ of heat set to last all week
The heat that has plagued Australia’s south and west is set to linger. But when the mercury does finally drop, it looks like rain will replace the warmth – at least in the country’s south east.
Both Perth and Melbourne have both been solidly in heatwaves.
On Sunday, Perth recorded an extraordinary six days in a row surpassing 40C. That’s a heat feat not seen since a string of scorching days in Adelaide in 2009.
Some blessed relief from the unbearable heat in Perth is due for the coming days – it’s now just going to be moderately baking. But another 40C day is expected soon enough.
Melbourne hit 32.6C on Sunday following a 32.3C high on Saturday. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said the city is set for an “extended run” of heat this week.
Most of Victoria and Tasmania will be in low intensity heatwave week with highs in Melbourne of 34C on multiple days.
But the monsoon is getting stronger in the country’s north and that’s sending rain towards the south and east as the week progresses.
Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said a low pressure system forming around northern Australia could deliver 100mm or more of rain over the Top End and had the potential to form into a cyclone.
“Tropical moisture is well and truly in the mix and is aiding the heavy falls we’ve been seeing in many parts of the country.
“That wet weather is generally edging slightly eastwards. So there’s potential for south eastern Australia to see a lot of rainfall towards the back end of the week, with heavy falls a threat,” he said.
But that’s not for a few days yet. Up until at least Thursday, Melbourne should be dry with 33-34C maximums most days and nights only dipping down to 21C or so.
The BOM has warned it will be humid and there is the chance of storms.
Temperatures could come down from Thursday with the possibility of some substantial rain leading into the weekend.
Across the Bass Strait and Tasmania is in the same heatwave, but the maximums will be far lower than Victoria.
Hobart is looking at a week of temperatures in the mid-twenties and dawn lows of 16C. Just like Victoria, the Apple Isle will be dry until the end of the week when some showers are likely.
Perth set to cool down … finally
On the tail end of the systems that’s caused so much rain in the centre of South Australia, Adelaide has seen some decent falls this weekend with 23mm of rain falling on Saturday and almost another 20mm on Sunday.
There will be some warmth and humidity to begin the week in Adelaide with a high of 29C on Monday rising to 31C by Wednesday before a few days in the mid-twenties. Minimums will be around 20C.
There could be some showers on Tuesday.
Monday could still a storm or two and some rain in areas most affected by the rain this weekend including Whyalla, Port August and Port Lincoln. Floods remain a risk in the mod north, Flinders Ranges, west coast and Eyre and Yorke peninsulas.
There is the possibility of up to 120mm of rain falling into Monday n some areas.
Across the Nullarbor and the low intensity heatwave should move away from Perth on Monday but could continue around the Gascoyne.
Monday to Thursday should see highs of between 31C and 33C in Perth with mid teen minimums. That’s far cooler than the last week. But come Friday and the mercury is set to rise once again with a possibility of 40C on Sunday.
Summery and settled in east
Wet in Darwin to begin the week with 10-35mm falling on Monday and a further 8-20mm on Tuesday. Thunderstorms could crop up most days. Warm with highs of 31-33C this week and 25C lows.
The east coast should be relatively settled and summery. This week will see a run of 30C plus days in Brisbane with 31C the norm. Overnight, it should dip down to 20C. Some showers are possible on Wednesday.
A possible shower or two in Sydney on Monday but nothing too heavy. The rest of the week is looking dry.
Maximum temperatures on the Harbour City of 26C on Monday rising to 28C on Wednesday and then as much as 30C on Friday. Lows overnight of around 19C.
Dry in Canberra with highs of 27-29C but potentially up to 31C on Friday. Temperatures should fall to the mid-teens after dark.
Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.
In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.
While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.
"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…
"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.
"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."
Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)
Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy
US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..
US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.
The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.
"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.
"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.
Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."
Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."
She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.
"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)
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