Beyoncé is a true global icon. She is considerably one of the hardest working female entertainers ever, and with all that she’s achieved over the years do you dare deny that fact? Her latest album “4” showcases a mature Beyoncé with more aggressive and powerful vocals that seem to have intensified since her previous “I Am…Sasha Fierce”. The fourth album presents soft, sensual and emotional ballads along with dance jams fans love hearing from the artist. There’s a strong concept that's quickly unraveled while each track plays: Beyoncé moves from flirty, vulnerable, glamorous, to love and appreciation. Nothing satisfies me more than listening to an album that sounds like plenty of effort went into it. And “4” is just flawless.
Beyoncé gives us a taste of the love she’s feeling in the opening track “1+1”. The lyrics explore the passion and emotion within the relationship and how strong the feelings are. It’s one of those songs that don’t need a lot of instruments; a piano playing a sultry and seductive melody was all she needed to bring this song to life. At first I wasn’t sure of “1+1”, and the tone was a bit off to me but after a second listen I totally got it.
“I Care” started out so mellow and had me convinced it was going to be a slow tempo song, but once the heavy drum beat and powerful vocals came in, I was lighting up on the inside. It’s a track about giving your all in the relationship and not having the other person care at all about that. No matter how you try to convey your feelings, it all gets overlooked. There’s so much energy in the song, and I was able to feel the hurt and heartache coming through the words. The guitar solo after the bridge added so much depth as well. Beyoncé’s ad-libs gave off a certain edge that brought out more sincerity. This is one of my favorites so far.
I love how breathy and soulful “I Miss You” is. Her tone reminded me of “Disappear”, a song that also represented the pain in losing love and wishing it was here again. The track has a simple beat but is so beautiful and trance like. The strings carried the song wonderfully. If you aren’t careful while listening, you just might get caught up in the sadness and begin crying out of sympathy for a woman who is heartbroken and haunted by memories, a depiction emphasized greatly in the lyrics.
This woman is known for her empowering female anthems and “The Best I Never Had” continues where “Irreplaceable” left off on B-Day: we can do so much better than to stay and take all the pain and suffering a no-good man has to offer. I love the strength she portrays in the words and how she’s holding her own. It’s the fourth balladry on the album but you never tire of the story being told in each track so far. “Party” gets down and hot, setting the club tone. We’re taking to the second chapter: the fun and more exciting part of life. This track is all about enjoying yourself and letting it all out in the moment. I like how Andre 3000 flows on the 80’s influenced hip hop beat.
“Rather Die Young” is also influenced by a classic sound. This track takes my imagination on a ride, kind of like Diana Ross in a sparkling dress and swaying under a disco ball. It’s an r&b song with passionate singing and a dramatic piano melody. The next song gave away its meaning in the title. “Start Over” is about moving on from all the problems and working to keep the relationship and love alive. The music continues to develop in each part with a grinding pop/r&b beat and a romantic flute that I’m happy wasn’t drowned within all that’s going on in the background. The singer stays on fierceness overdrive.
We’re taken back in time again with “Love on Top”. The song is about being in love and experiencing true happiness. Once in a lifetime we meet someone that makes us glow and brings out the best in us. “Love on Top” explains that and more and how grateful the singer is for having this kind of love in her life. This sounds as personal as Beyoncé will get, or maybe not?
“Countdown” sounds island inspired while fusing hip hop and r&b together. This track had me thinking of a Destiny’s Child reunion. It’s all about love and fun. This is a party song and it definitely gets me on my feet with its rocking beat. It’s a great way to pick the tempo up further and take us into the next club track, “End of Time”. This song is evidently influenced by a drumline. I love how loud and powerful the beat is. The harmony is off-the-chain and the song is catchy. This should be the next single. It’s hot! The track is about assuring that special someone that your love will last forever and you’ll never give up on it.
When I saw the name Diana Warren on a Beyoncé track I knew I was going to be blown away, and “I Was Here” is one of the most beautiful ballads the artist has ever sung. This is a song highlighting how the world will feel when the singer decides to close the curtains. When that time comes, she hopes to feel contented with all she’s done and have no feeling of regret. It’s something I think us as human beings have in common. We all want to leave knowing we had lived our lives. This is my absolute favorite song on the album because it’s the most real.
When “4” concluded I was sad because it was the ending of a wonderful work of art. I wish there were more songs on the album but I just have to accept Beyoncé’s decision. “Run the World (Girls)” was the song that gave us an idea of what the album was all about. It’s the song that showed appreciation to women and emphasized on how strong of specie we are.
I don’t quite understand why some stated that this album was a downgrade for Beyoncé, however everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In my own, I think this is one of the more mature albums from the singer and I hope she continues to evolve greatly. Overall, I gave “4” a rating of 4.9/5
Track listing:01. 1+1 02. I Care 03. I Miss You 04. Best Thing I Never Had 05. Party (ft. Andre 3000) 06. Rather Die Young 07. Start Over 08. Love on Top 09. Countdown 10. End of Time 11. I Was Here 12. Run The World (Girls)
(Purchase the album now on itunes)