So…we know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t they already cover this song?” Yes; we did…but not this version.
This is the version that The Beyhive asked for; the version without Jay Z. There is actually an entire edit of the album floating around out there without him and, honestly, we were surprised just how much better we liked some of the songs without him. And the song that came across the best without the duet treatment was one of favorites.
Friends without Jay Z alleviates one of the issues that some people had with the track; the length. Without the one minute verse from Jay, the song rides at a cool 4:11 with multiple full verses and bridges. The fact that the only place were editors weren’t able to excise him is where he starts to adlib before his verse comes in is a testament to just how separated their vocals where in the original (something we pointed out and found odd). We are thinking that this was originally a solo Beyoncé track that was revamped for this project.
The song just hangs together better without him. His verse, while thematic, does have a few lines that don’t seem to fit in because they drift off in an odd direction about their marriage towards the end (we get how they go together but it’s a little bit of a reach as it’s the only place it’s brought up). It lacks some of the energy of her vocals as well, being slower in pace than her singing with longer between-line pauses. As much as we thought the original version of Friends should have been the lead single for this album instead of Apeshit, we can’t deny that this version would have shut the internet down.
And this is the point where we have to admit that, yes, we heard the rest of the album without Jay and…songs working better without him is a disturbing theme. Only 713 is the exception…and that works better without her because she doesn’t have much to do with that track. Not only that, but we added the edited version of Boss to our playlists just for the vibe of it. This album should feel incomplete without half of its team and it just doesn’t and that is a shortcoming to the project itself. We’re not saying you shouldn’t like it if you already do; we’re just saying that the music power is coming primarily from one direction in this collaboration.
Honestly, it would be worth it to try and track down the Bey-version of this album. Follow your most avid Hive member around the internet a while and we’re sure you’ll come across it.