Beyoncé – 4

June 14, 2011 at 6:22 PM | Posted in Beyoncé | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Beyoncé – 4

1. 1+1
2. I Care
3. I Miss You
4. Best Thing I Never Had
5. Party (feat. André 3000)
6. Rather Die Young
7. Start Over
8. Love On Top
9. Countdown
10. End Of Time
11. I Was Here
12. Run The World (Girls)

♦ ♦ ♦

4 is the fourth solo studio album by American recording artist Beyoncé Knowles, scheduled for release on June 24, 2011. The album marks the first release by Knowles since separating, professionally, with father and manager, Mathew Knowles. The album was given 3,5 stars by Slant Magazine, with Eric Henderson saying that “the album gave her enough rope to hang either her doubters or herself”. Let’s see what it’s gonna be then.

I think it’s always risky to start an album with a ballad, but 1+1 actually works, especially when you saw her performance at American Idol on May 25. The music is much better here with a guitar, bass, piano and very pretty vocals, especially in the verses. Just one thing about her lines: Bee, it’s ALGEBRA, not algreba. Regardless, I can imagine why this is her personal favorite, it shows a very different side of her as an artist and I love this song as well. That electric guitar solo near the end is awesome!

I Care is a more Urban styled song with very strong bass and percussion with handclaps. The verses have this mysterious atmosphere because of the strings in the background and the echoe of the percussion, while the chorus is very addictive because of Bee’s ‘lalalalala‘ lines. This song also features a nice electric guitar solo, but this time Beyoncé is adlibbing along with it and she shows off her falsetto vocals a bit. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it, put this on replay plz.

After a bit of an agressive song, we slow down with the simple and sweet song I Miss You. The beat is like a stripped dubstep rhythm, and the soft strings that go with it give this song a dreamy theme. Beyoncé sings some pretty lyrics, a bit melancholic but still very pretty. I love the echoe effect that has been added to her voice for that nice dreamy atmosphere, and the quick ending emphasizes even more that this song is the short and sweet one on the album.

I believe Best Thing I Never Had is the second single for this album, and from the moment she sings the opening lines ‘What goes around comes back around my baby‘ I’m hooked on this song. By now it’s easily recognizeable that Bee has developed a new style of her own and I don’t believe I can compare this song to her older songs, I can only come up with superlatives. The piano does the thing in the musical arrangement while her vocals are very emotional and she put some great effort in this song. Great this has become a single!

Never thought people nowadays would still now who André 3000 is, but he’s here on Party (feat. André 3000). It’s not a party song at all, it’s actually a mid-tempo R&B song with some hiphop influences. The song opens with a vocally uncredited Kanye West, who produced this song, but strangely enough the real swag begins with André’s ultra fast rap. It’s a decent song, a bit oldschool, Bee does nice here but it’s not the best on the album.

Rather Die Young is a strange kind of song to me, I mean it’s lovely but I can’t really classify it as belonging to a certain genre. It’s a ballad, that’s for sure, and it starts off all soft and sweet but the chorus comes around hard with agressive vocals. Sometimes Bee’s lyrics come out forced, but well, it’s a simple song that doesn’t really add to the album as a whole. Still it’s worth a couple of listens because it stays inside your head for some reason and it’s food for thought.

Another mid-tempo type of song is Start Over, but again with very rough and dominant vocals. Bee’s really all over the place with this album. This is a nice R&B song with a little spice added by the beat. Give a good listen at the lyrics, because there are some really moving lines here. It can get a little repetitive over time, but another decent song.

One of my absolute favorites is the funky and catchy Love On Top, I just can’t seem to get this song out of my head and I keep on singing along (in the wrong key, hehe). I especially want to point out Bee’s vocals here, this song is so darn hard to sing, especially when the pitch gets higher and she has to do that falsetto note higher and higher. It’s a 90s kind of song, timemachine ftw, very oldschool and I love the brass instruments in this track.

Then the album suddenly shifts to Bee’s earlier sound with a song that reminds me a bit of Rihanna’s ‘Raining Men’. Countdown doesn’t sound like the previous part of the album at all, but I can still dig the hiphop quality the verses in this song have. This is also one of the best tracks on the album, one the album actually needs to be complete. The countdown in the hooks is very funny, the lyrics are actually altered to fit it (‘I’m tryin’a make a 3 from the 2 you’re still the 1′). A very strong, catchy, sexy and smooth song.

End Of Time sounds very ready to be played in the streets of Rio or during any Mardi Gras festival there is, this song is the most club-ready one on the album probably. Despite being all ready to dance to and such, this song could get a little repetitive again after some time, but at least Bee herself adds spice to the song with her fast and good vocals. It’s very enjoyable if you just go with the flow of the song.

Probably the most epic song on the album is I Was Here, now that’s what I call food for thought. These lyrics almost make you cry, they are so meaningful and Beyoncé really brings them with a lot of emotion in her voice. The fact only that Ryan Tedder produced this track  makes this song a must-listen on the album. There’s not much to say about this, it’s a very good song.

Then the one that gave me a little headache during the single review… Run The World (Girls) is a little too dominant to me sometimes. I didn’t even like Pon De Floor, the main sound just drives me insane and now Bee used it in her music as well… It just killed the song but if I switch that damn annoying sound of in my head I can enjoy this song at least a bit. They should’ve switched this one and 1+1, that would’ve been a better closer for this album.

When I just go with it while listening to this album, it’s worth 5 stars for real. But when I turn the knob and put on my critic cap, it’s worth a little less because then I find there are some minor flaws to this album. I still think this is my favorite Beyoncé album to date considering her relatively new sound, 90s R&B mixed with contemporary hiphop, but some of the songs lacked a little. The tracklisting could’ve also been better but oh well, nothing to do about it.
The best songs on this album are mostly the ballads, and since this album is quite ballad heavy there are a great number of nice songs here. Luckily Beyoncé varied between the ballads and the more (actually few, only 3 or 4) uptempo tracks. It’s a very nice album, and I noticed Bee’s fans don’t see eye to eye about this but I will join the group that says this album is her magnum opus.

Favorite tracks: 1+1 | I Care | Best Thing I Never Had | Love On Top | Countdown | I Was Here

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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