Beyoncé's fourth album, rightly entitled 4, was released this past Tuesday in the States (earlier in other places). As friends and acquaintances tweeted and made Facebook statuses about getting the leak, I patiently waited....and waited....and waited for June 28. While I get the occasional download from time to time (I'm a avid music lover on a college student budget sorry), there are some artists that I've been rocking to since the very beginning of their careers who I will always buy. Beyoncé is one of them. Was definitely happy to finally have my deluxe version digital download of 4 on my iPod.

I figured that I would do a review of B's album. It took me a while to get this together, because I wanted to give a good review since it is Beyoncé haha, offer justification for my take, and not just give her a top score just because she's one of my favorite artists. So I listened to the album a couple of times through before writing anything, just to get a feel for it.

Listening to it all the way through, this is not a commercial album like I Am...Sasha Fierce or her other albums. Whereas all of her previous albums had bonafide #1 hits, 4 most likely won't. To be quite honest, there aren't a lot of radio friendly records, which is what people have come to expect of Beyoncé. However, I feel like with her having spent about half of her life in the music industry, she's entitled to experiment, irregardless of people's thoughts or worries about sales. Sometimes music should just be done for the love of music, and that's what this album shows. Again it's a long one, as all of my reviews tend to be, so bear with me! Read the track by track review after the jump!

"I don't know much about algebra, but I know 1+1=2." The power ballad,"1+1," starts off the album. I've been in love with this since I heard it, even more when I heard B kill it in her rehearsal room with just a piano and a few background singers. It's a real song about being in love, that even if everything is going wrong, you have your love by your side, and that's enough.

"Ever since you knew your power, you've made me cry." One of my followers tweeted yesterday, "I'm tired of  #4Beyonce getting me in my feelings...switching over to Big Sean." Haha if "1+1" didn't do it for me, "I Care" did. This mid-tempo track with a funky feel talks about a feeling that just about everyone has felt--caring about someone who doesn't reciprocate anymore. But you can't help still feeling the way you do.
"It hurts my pride to tell you how I feel but I still need to. Why is that?" Couldn't help having a certain someone on my mind by the end of "I Care," and then "I Miss You" comes along and messes me all up! Again, mid-tempo (most of the tracks are), this song goes into missing someone who maybe you should let go, but again, you can't.

"Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye." "Best Thing I Never Had" is hands down one of my favorite tracks on the album. Reminiscent of "Irreplaceable," King B completely kills this up-tempo track. Seriously might have you jumping. The second single is about dodging that bullet, that guy or girl that you weren't really in a relationship with, and thank God you weren't because you can do bad all by yourself. Hmmm....maybe I should make a phone call. Video is supposed to be out soon!!!

"So in love, I'll give it all away. Just don't tell nobody tomorrow." The only collaboration on the album, "Party," features rapper André 3000, and was co-written and produced by Kanye West. This smooth track is about that business for those who, uh, like to party. And with a line from André, "F*ck with me, baby, I'll make it milk till it drop down your knees," I think yall can figure out what that's about. Definitely a hot one.

"Drive too fast, smoke too much. That don't mean a thing cuz I'm addicted to the rush." "Rather Die Young" focuses on the rush of a relationship, where being with that special someone is something so great that you can't live without him or her. It's a rollercoaster, but that's what makes it so good. It's ups and downs, but you're still down for the ride!

"Maybe we've reached the mountain peak and there's no more left to climb." I had to listen "Start Over," several times back to back. One, because I connected to it greatly, and two, because I felt it was a bit ambiguous, which intrigued me. I'm probably reading too deep into it, but I feel like certain lines in this song takes it two ways. There's the obvious meaning of revitalizing a relationship that has gotten stale, starting over and working things through to have a better relationship. But I feel like starting over could also mean giving love another try...with someone else. B sings, "I know that this will hurt you, I know you'll cry." Maybe it's saying that even though you love someone, it might be time for both of you to move foward and start over, before you lose the ability to truly love anyone else. I'm probably completely wrong, but I like the idea. Just my take.

"I can feel your sun whenever you're near. Every time you touch me, I just melt away." "Love On Top" is a bouncy upbeat track that had me nodding my head  and rocking from side to side from the very beginning. This love song is dedicated to that one who gives his lover in their relationship. B hits several inversions perfectly too.

"There's ups and downs in this love. Got a lot to learn in this love." I heard a part of "Countdown" in Beyoncé's Target commercial for the deluxe album. It's an ok song. I just didn't like the actual countdown in the song, which is the central part of the song. This song was a random placement to me in the album. It was flowing pretty well for me until here. Maybe I'll warm up to it later.

I'll be your baby, promise not to let you go. Love you like crazy, now say you'll never let me go." "End of Time" right after made up for my disappointment. It had this tribal feel, a lot of drums and the like. This is the song to jam to. I want a video, I want this on the radio all the time. It's HOT! B did perform it at the Glastonbury Festival Sunday, so maybe!

"The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave that I made a difference and this world will see..." "I Was Here" is a power ballad about Beyoncé's deep desire to have the world know that she gave her all in life, for them to know that she indeed was here and made an impact. I don't think that that can be denied by anyone. I feel like this song would have been the perfect conclusion to the album, as B talks about doing "everything that I wanted and it was more than I thought it would be," which can be directly connected to the production of this entire album.

"I think I need a barber, none of these n*****s can fade me." "Run The World" was the album's first single and ends the standard version of 4, sampling popular club song, "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer and Vybz Kartel. It wasn't that well received. To be quite honest, I wasn't feeling it myself when it first came out. It was definitely that intense female empowerment song that B normally releases, but the chorus struck me as so basic at first, that I couldn't get with it. However, I warmed up to it, especially after the release of the video and B's performance of it on one of Oprah's last shows. So much so that it made its way to the #1 spot on my Top 25 most played on iTunes about a week after I downloaded it. I do think that maybe it should have been the intro to the album or a little towards the beginning. As I said, "I Was Here" should have ended the standard album.

The deluxe edition also features three other songs. You have the more upbeat and 80s feel songs "Lay Up Under Me," and "Schoolin' Life," the latter of which leaked a few weeks ago but has since been taken down, but should be a serious contender for a single (either that, "I Miss You," or "Party"). The third track, "Dance For You," slows it down, a naughty track for the bedroom. There are also three remixes featured for "Run The World."

All in all, I give 4 an A-. Though I am a serious Beyoncé stan, this album on its own deserves a good rating not only because of the strong vocal ability shown (after Sasha Fierce, I feel like people forgot that the girl can BLOW), but also because of the depth of the songs. This, to me, is Beyoncé's most open and vulnerable album to date. She lets the raw emotions loose, and it was great to hear. "Party" made me chuckle. "I Care" almost had me drop a few tears. "Best Thing I Never Had" and "Start Over" made me think. It showcases different beats, though most are mid-tempo, and goes through the ups and downs of love. This album, to me, is just pure growth. After B'Day and I Am...especially, people have come to expect a certain style from Beyoncé. After talking with some people and reading other reviews, some listeners are disappointed. There's no real "Single Ladies," "Deja Vu" or "Diva" on this album. I guarantee you Beyoncé will probably not make a whole video album this time around like she did with B'Day. It's not commercial. IT'S REAL. It reflects Beyoncé at this point of time in her life, which from what I'm hearing, seems to be a real love connection with Jay. She's all shouting him out in award speeches now haha! 

I can't lie, I did want a few of those party tracks myself, but just because she doesn't have them, doesn't mean you can just discard the entire album like it's nothing. It takes a mature and secure artist to be able to step away from the status quo and give the music he or she wants to give. That's why she will always be on top. And may I say that these pictures are the most stunning I have ever seen for any of her album booklets! King B baby!

Make sure to watch the 30-min documentary, "Beyoncé: Year of 4," airing tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT on both MTV and BET, and at 7:30 p.m. on VH1 and Palladia.


1 comment:

  1. Everybody go to Youtube. Beyonce and Nicky Minaj are o n a remix of her leading single Run the World Girls toigether. This guy name Fyuchur produced it. Its Hot!!! Both of their fans love it



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