Beyoncé – 4

written by: July 12, 2011
Release Date: July 5, 2011


At this point in her career, Beyoncé must feel like she can get away with anything. Maybe she was really thinking it would be cool to feature a marching band in a few of her songs. It’s possible that she felt it would be smart to put a new spin on recycled dance beats and hint at vintage sounds in the rest of her songs.

In the execution of her latest album, 4, only a few of Beyoncé’s ideas worked.

Because of this woman’s continuous success, it’s become obvious that her visions can easily become realities. She sparked a trend in alter egos following the creation of sassy-fabulous “Sasha Fierce,” landed her own “bootylicious” word in the dictionary, and inspired millions of people to imitate her.

Perhaps Beyoncé got a bit ahead of herself. 4 is a confusing mix of styles and genres that has no proper integration or flow to it. A fan would be lucky to connect with everything on the album.

Each polar style on the record has its own respective highs and lows. Beyoncé’s ode to older styles, particularly ’80s pop-inspired, is exciting when she swings to “Love On Top,” which is like “Crazy In Love” set 30 years ago (without hubby Jay-Z). Contrarily, her other throwback anthem “Rather Die Young” sounds like it was taken from a cheap R&B cassette compilation circa Boys II Men.

Beyoncé’s dance tracks also trail along the lines of hit or miss. Her collaboration with André 3000, “Party,” is misleading: it’s really not a party song at all. It’s slow and boring. “End Of Time” and “Countdown,” however, carry the same fire that will bring crowds to their feet when they are graced by the wonder of the inspiring beats.

It’s like we, as listeners, have signed up for a lesson in feminism and empowerment just by playing her CD. Her decision to implement marching band-style sounds brings us to that place where it’s like we’ve been thrown into a standard classroom desk and slapped with rules for living.

Lead single “Run The World (Girls)” is the greatest example of that attitude. The speedy dance beats rush into the song as Beyoncé chants with passion and sincerity. Her intention with this song was clearly to empower all women and let them know that they are strong team players. As listeners are slammed with a marching snare drum and strong hip-hop, they’re sure to be motivated in their own way.

Nevertheless, Beyoncé still delivers solid gold in scattered jams throughout the album. “I Was Here” and “Start Over” bring forth the emotionally striking memories that bring the record to a peak and bring out a special tone we love out of Beyoncé’s unmistakable voice. These hits sound similar to previous tunes like “Halo” and “Irreplaceable,” the most exciting and gorgeous notes to ever come from the powerhouse.

The initial motivation behind 4’s album title came from the simple fact that it is her lucky number. She got married on the fourth day of April, and a number of her friends have birthdays on the 4th of a month. Can we gather that not a lot of sense went into the making of this album?

4 isn’t nearly as strong as past successes B’Day and I Am… Sasha Fierce. A disappointing amount of the tracks aren’t right for pop radio, unlike in her past, where virtually every song could become a hit. If her favorite number works for her, maybe she’ll earn a few hits. If not, Beyoncé might have to let go of her ego and settle for more humble, agreeable ways.

Beyoncé – 4 Tracklist:

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