Beyonce 4 Album ReviewOn June 28 Beyoncé is set to release her fourth studio album, appropriately titled 4. With a lot of musical competition having entered the scene in the past few months (Britney, GaGa and the old vets Nicki Minaj and Rihanna) it’s been a long wait to see what Honey B would bring to the musical battlefield. If you’re expecting 4 to be “I Am … Sasha Fierce” 2.0, you’re in for a bit of a let down. On this album, Sasha Fierce takes a back seat as the more subtle, vocal-driven Beyoncé takes the driver’s seat. Despite the impression you may get from the highly airbrushed, blown out, cracked-out Kate Moss-inspired album art, this is probably Beyoncé’s most understated album to date. There’s no big theatrics; no thrills; no crazy sound effects or beats. There are a few dance floor-ready songs to remind you of her past work but they’re overshadowed by the glut of slow, downtempo, old school jams crammed onto the album. Here’s a look at what 4 has to offer–

Track-by-Track
The album starts off with “1+1,” a track she performed on American Idol a few weeks. This track definitely sets the tone for the album: it has a throwback, classic R&B sound. Gone are the thrills and frills of “Sasha Fierce” from the last album and instead the more tamed, raw version of Beyoncé. She sounds great on this track and it’s nice, after an album that was all about big production and over-the-top theatrics to have her go back to performing and focusing on vocals. The album moves onward to “I Care,” another vocals-driven track. It feels a bit strange and sounds slightly off: again, the vocals and production sound more like a raw, untouched demo than a finished album. “I Miss You” is a slow, down-tempo track. “Party” featuring Andre 3000 isn’t really the uptempo, dancefloor hit you’d expect based on the title. Instead it’s a throwback to the ’90s and even goes so far as to sample a Doug E. Fresh track. That being said, it sounds like a dozen other tracks and like the previous tracks, comes off as a bit reserved and understated.“The Best I Never Had” is the album’s second single and is Beyoncé taking on an entirely new and different sound. Some have commented that the music sounds reminiscent of the Baywatch theme: I don’t feel that at all beyond the fact that she utilizes the piano as the main instrument rather than tons of sound effects and computer-manipulated music. This stripped-down track is nice, light and attempts to capture that “Irreplaceable” magic but falls a bit short. It’s a nice track but it’s almost sickening sweet and hard to find Beyoncé amongst the warmth and in-genuine emotion.

“Rather Die Young” is yet ANOTHER slow track. It’s a bit of a ballad though she does actually sing her behind off toward the bridge and onward toward the end of the song. “Start Over” is a slight improvement and where the album actually starts to pick up. Though it sounds similar to the previous track “Rather Die Young” with a slightly more upbeat tempo, it has a bit more of an edge to it and definitely leaves more of an impression than the other down-tempo tracks. “Love On Top” reminds me of a Stevie Wonder track: totally a throwback track, feel-good, happy track. That being said, there’s nothing new or groundbreaking about it and it’s such a well-traveled music path and style that I honestly could barely sit through the monotonous nature of it.

Finally the album (for me) officially starts with the track “Countdown.” It’s a fun track with a sound that’s a bit progressive and beat driven. It sounds similar to a Kanye West beat and the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and quirky, exactly what I’d expect from Beyoncé coming off her I Am … Sasha Fierce album. She keeps the beat going with “End of Time” that’s very M.I.A.-esque: competing drums, tongue-tripping lyrics, attitude. It’s not the clean and polished pop and radio-friendly sound of her past albums but it definitely takes her style and music into a fun, unexpected direction. “I Was Here” is a power-ballad and of all the slow, down-tempo tracks it’s the one that works the best. There’s a lot of power, strength and emotion present that makes this track stand out as more of a statement than a simple song. Beyoncé feels more genuine and convincing on this track than on the other slower-tracks where she sounds more like she’s going through the motions and trying to define herself as an emotional singer.

The album ends with the first single “Run The World (Girls).” After all the hoopla over the song and video, it turns out it’s the one track that doesn’t really fit at all with the rest of the album and feels as if it were produced as an after thought or bonus track. It’s heavy drum beats and M.I.A.-style makes it go well with “End of Time” but still it sticks out like a sore thumb on this album. It’s the only track that old, classic dance-inspired Beyoncé emerges. Perhaps this is the one real “Sasha Fierce” appearance on the album because this attitude and edge is what’s missing from the rest of the album.

Final Verdict
As Joan Rivers would say, can we talk? Beyoncé. I mean, gurl, Beyoncé … what the hell is up with this album? This album’s title must be misprinted because I’m pretty sure it should read something to the effect of “4get This Album” or “4Got My Fanbase.” I’m all for trying out new sounds and genres. Artists have to evolve and change or they’ll become irrelevant or musically dated. This album feels heavy on the ballads and light on the sass and attitude that we all appreciate and expect from Beyoncé. People complained about how the first disc of I Am … Sasha Fierce was just too slow moving and uninspired and that Beyoncé was at her best when she took on her whole “Sasha Fierce” personality. At the end of that album era she announced that she “killed” Sasha Fierce and after listening to this dull musical headtrip of an album I think she should be locked up for such an act.

The album doesn’t pick up until the end. Don’t even get me started on the album art for this album where she’s trying to make herself look as white as possible (blown out photos, super blond hair). I mean … Beyoncé! I note that this is her first album where her father isn’t involved in her career and it’s clear to me now that despite his personal issues and ridiculousness he obviously had a bigger part in crafting and shaping her career than previously let on. This music is just not doing it for me. It feels like a wasted opportunity and the uptempo tracks don’t at all go with the bulk of that album that can be described as easy listening at best. Where’s the snap, crackle and pop? Where’s the big radio-hit? The usual one-liner lyric that saves the mediocre song from obscurity? This album is pretty much like her image on the cover: a cracked out mess. Beyoncé is at her best when she’s making dance music yet 4 is music you’d listen to if you were suffering from insomnia or music that’d help you cry out a bad situation.

To say the least, this is a pretty disappointing mess of an album. The first 8 tracks sound pretty similar and lack any sort of spirit or punch. Just as things begin to pick up, poof, the album is over. Already her camp is spreading the news that she’s aware this album is a “big risk” and that “people won’t get it” – you know, that same song and dance every artist uses when they know they’ve produced poop and are trying to sell it off as diamonds instead. Nah, gurl, try as you might but I don’t even think I’d pay 4 cents for this album. I expect her to ride it out for a while and just as it begins to really tank we’ll be treated to a re-release featuring remixes and appearances by everyone from Nicki Minaj to perhaps even another Lady GaGa collaboration and a ton more uptempo, dance tracks to fill the big void in this album. So for now, wait, skip this and hold out for the re-packaged album that is no doubt already in the works.

Listen To These: “Countdown,” “Run The World (Girls),” “End of Time,” “I Was Here,” “1+1”

Beyonce 4 Album Cover4 [Tracklist]:
1. 1+1
2. I Care
3. I Miss You
4. Best Thing I Never Had
5. Party (feat. Andre 3000 & Kanye West)
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)

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21 COMMENTS

  1. What a bad review!!! I Love the album
    The slow songs are amazing…if you think good music is Rihanna, kesha or all the others that do the same type of music is ok, but I love that she come with a different sound from that and this album is fantastic

  2. I actually think this album doesn’t quite hammer home how dull this album actually is. I always forget how much a fan of hers I am in between her releases, but I have all the original DC albums bar their debut, her first album, both the standard and deluxe editions of her second, and the deluxe edition of her third album. But this album just sounds like left-overs that didn’t make the first disc of the I Am Sasha Fierce album. I loved “I Care” so much until the chorus came in and it doesn’t fit at all with the rest of the song. “I Miss You” is promising but then after a minute, it’s just completely draining, “Party” is probably the worst song she’s ever recorded, “Rather Die Young” sounds off, “Start Over” is one of the stronger but still not overly impressive songs – it could be an album track on IASF, “Love On Top” is vile, “Countdown” is horrendous, “End Of Time” starts off promising but goes in the completely wrong direction, and “I Was Here” is completely beautiful. “1+1” and “Best thing I Never Had” are similarly uninteresting, and “Girls” is the most out of place song on this trainwreck.

    • r u kidding me? Countdown is probably one of the best on the album and gives us that upbeat beyonce that we fell in love with on bday. And love on top is vile? It’s actually pretty good and promising considering what time this is. U could have just said u hated the whole album.

    • Finally someone has said the truth about this beyonce album. The choruses and verses dont match, sounds like left over material and sorry but the vocals are not doing it for me. Rolling stone and all the other so called music critics are praising it like they were paid to do so. Its trash. Immature lyrics, words like boo and ass should be out of her lyric content by now. She has come to far to resort to such adjectives to explain herself
      Beyonce uses full blast vocals all through the songs, attacking verse and chorus with such vigour that makes you want to switch off.
      The voice is no more an instrument to her, its like a show off…oh i can belt out…freaking so what? Just know when. Thank God for Adele, was getting tired of retreating to oldies for musical solace. Can finally put my commodores in the attic….i appreciate adele for giving the discerning ear some reprieve…

      • people in music today who rip your ear drums and show off are christina aguilera and jennifer hudson, they have no control…beyonce, don’t think so. shouldnt be in this category. funny you bring up adele yet adele is in awe of her and always talks about how she adores the album. something clearly wrong with consumers today.

  3. This is a pretty bad review…I heard some the song and they aren’t bad like you say…I’m not even a fan…but this album goes hard…back to her roots

  4. I completely agree with this review. It is a true shame that this album took such a leftfield risk and has ended up like this. It is an album full of b-sides/filler tracks. I am personally not a fan of ballads, but can appreciate a good one. These are all weak, unoriginal and not forward-thinking or progressive enough for what a brand like Beyonce is capable of achieving.

  5. Is the album called ‘I Am…Sasha Fierce’?….NO! So why are you comparing it? This is a totally new album, she never stated it was Sasha Fierce part 2, So If she wants to release an album purely of slow songs then let it be, her voice is amazing and I prefer her slower songs, you get to hear all the emotion she puts into her music!

  6. I agree with this review! im a big beyonce fan and i love run the world (girls) and was excited for the album, only to be dissapointed! I mean, there are a few good songs but nothing that stands out and nothing that i could imagine myself knocking out some moves on the dancefloor too! Its hardly on the same page as crazy in love!!

    • why does every song need to be a dance floor record? if you want an artist that gives you the same type of song every time maybe you should go see gaga or rihanna or the number one BRITNEY. Beyonce evolves and does something different and doesn’t need to be like everyone else to be happy or make her money. music is not all about dancing. you must be 5

  7. lmao!!! the most clueless review out there!!! U have no genuine taste in music….but thats not a bad quality either.lol.It becomes a bad quality when you think you can dictate what good music actually is….hehe

  8. Horrible album. Perfect review you got it absolutely right. This album comes a distant fifth behind Britney, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj’s lastest albums. Shocker.

  9. To the author: How old are you? Anyone who is truly a DC/Beyonce fan would understand the evolution on this album. I love it. And to Liam, who puts ‘4’ behind Britney, et all…ok then. You all clearly need to get in a music vault and respect what MUSIC really is. I’m done with all the undue hate for Beyonce.

  10. I have been waiting for an album like this from Beyonce since Dangerously in Love. You must understand that she is at the point were her art is completely subjective. She sounds wonderful and she really has grown, it is everything that I imagine from the woman she has become. She still got that HOOD in her, she also go the SWAGG of marriage. I love it Beyonce!!! I can now put this album on the playlist when I am chillin to Erykah Badu, Jill Scott.

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

  12. You must be 10 years old because you obviously know nothing about good music. B is showing you that she doesn’t need flashy songs and an album jam packed with feature artists (i.e. lil wayne, t-pain, etc.). She is an amazing, singer, songwriter, dancer and all around performer. This album is flawless and If you were a true B fan, you would understand and appreciate it. This album is for the mature fans, if you don’t like it then that says it all.

  13. I am so confused how this review is so bad and yet your review for the Britney tour, where she was on stage for an hour and a couple minutes, didn’t really dance, didn’t sing, but still charged you a lot was decent in your eyes? This album might not be what you wanted and had throwbacks on it but thank god. everyone cant have techno dance songs out, when gaga did it it was cool but now everyone is doing it its annoying. Id take this album over lip synced Britney whose songs all sound alike and have the same slutty rebellious subject any day.

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