Actually charting, for some reason…
Katherine St Asaph: Bigger diss: “Everything I prayed for… I wish I would’ve prayed more” or “looking like little me”? (Also: awww.)
John Seroff: The ever-prescient Onion did a bit about how 2012 would be the year Jay would torment fans with stories of his life as a new father and here we are, not even two weeks in. What are the odds on how long before he makes a “Big Poppa” reference? “Glory” is mawkishly terrible, even for a semi-freestyle; Jay sounds like he’s been up all night and the beat is only a breath better than an EKG. Anyways, let’s be human for a moment and congratulate Mr. Carter on the birth of his child. Now, didn’t you retire like eight years ago? Here’s good reason to make it stick.
Doug Robertson: The only thing less interesting than someone showing you photos of their new kid is someone telling you all about it and expecting you to actually care. Sure it’s amazing for you — and having your attention focussed entirely baby-wards is probably a good thing evolutionary speaking — but people have kids ALL THE TIME. It’s not a unique and miraculous thing that’s happened, it’s just a thing that happened, and while I can understand your need and desire to deal with your overflowing emotions by letting them bubble over onto a mawkishly overbearing track that has all the artistic worth of a “World’s Greatest Father” mug, it’s the sort of thing that should be kept private and personal. Not everything needs to be shared. Just buy a Baby On Board bumper sticker like everyone else.
Jonathan Bradley: One of Nick Hornby’s better observations is that “Good songs about children are surprisingly rare … it’s hard to write about the feelings one has for one’s child without nauseating people.” Hip-hop’s first couple has more goodwill than most celebrity partnerships, but even Papa Hov can’t overcome the intrinsic mawkishness of expecting others who don’t share your DNA to share your enthusiasm for the miracle of its reproduction. “Glory” is bad, of course, so why not just focus on its good points? Jay sounds sincerely, marvellously happy. The song is executed as well as a shaky chapter in the public romance that began with “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” could ever have been. “You dudes treat the one that you lovin’ with the same respect that you treat the one that you humpin’” he chided on that song, two years after sneering to a groupie “Let’s keep it real, ma, you savin’ it for karats.” A decade later, his songs have nothing but praise for the women in his life. And, hey, it’s pretty awesome that he doesn’t mind telling a two day old kid “shit happens.” (No swear jar in the Carter-Knowles residence.) In “New Day,” Jay imagined the arduousness of bringing a son into the world. “Glory” isn’t conflicted in the slightest.
Jer Fairall: Sure, you’re kind of a sap if you fall hard for this, but you’re an even bigger shit if you sneer at it. Not a position I like being forced into, like having to feign interest in a video of your friends’ kids’ tedious school play, but “your mamma said that you dance for her/did yooouuu wiggle your hands for her” has me smiling so broadly that I, temporarily at least, melt exactly as I’m supposed to.
Alex Ostroff: I know “Glory” was supposed to make my heart grow three sizes that day. It’s Jay! And B! And BIC! (The “did YOU wiggle your hands for her?” bit is endearing enough, I suppose.) But seriously? People get weird about their first-born kids. When I was an infant, my parents bought their first video camera and recorded three-hour videos of me gurgling at the camera, bewildered and dazed, while they excitedly declared that I was communicating with them. (By the time my youngest sister was born, they were mostly over it.) They showed these videos to most members of our family and probably a large percentage of their friends, and while I was certainly a cute baby, watching the aforementioned short films feels intrusive, awkward and vaguely uncomfortable. This is the aural equivalent.
Zach Lyon: Jay doesn’t care how you feel about this song, as he shouldn’t, and that’s why I’m into it. Not that you should care.
Michaela Drapes: I’m sure Hov had the best intentions here, but the fact that no compelling emotion — or even joy — filters through the banal posturing of his carefully-crafted persona fails to give Blue Ivy the welcome she clearly deserves.
Anthony Easton: I am not sure the rest of the track earns the image of Beyoncé having a miscarriage, or even the small intimacy of the child being conceived in a hotel in Paris. I am not sure that a child as a creative act is better than “Single Ladies” or “Countdown” or most of BDay. I am also not sure that Jay-Z, even as a song about his wife and his child, should be the one to make either of these disclosures public. I think making it his story places her in the role of mother. Both of these ambiguities make the song fail for me.
Josh Langhoff: Hide all by Jay-Z.
Alfred Soto: It’s some kind of achievement that Jay-Z can say, presumably about his daughter, that “my greatest creation is you” and still sound like he’s Bryan Ferry and moaning “Looking for love in a looking glass world is pretty hard for me.”
Brad Shoup: Glory? Such a wonderful name for their… wait, what? Oh. Well, as the bullet-bestowing robots at Billboard have noted, this is Jay’s 107th chart entry — and if you glance at the circled date above your living-room shrine, you’ll see that Ms. Carter was born on 01/07. Baphomet be praised! Blue’s dad sounds fucking exhausted; still, for his second verse he flashes supreme biographical skill. You can’t spell emotion without the TMI, I guess, but it’s tremendously winning stuff, even as Hova keeps repeating himself. Point to Pharrell, for doing his best Curtis to date while laying a slightly rancid & weirdly regal keyb progression. Welcome to Earth, kid. It’s yours.