ALBUM REVIEW: BEYONCE - '4' - Celebrity Bug


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4 (Album Cover) Pictures, Images and Photos

Two and a half years after the release of ‘I Am… Sasha Fierce’, which helped her clinch the Grammy record for most awards won by a female on a single night, Beyonce returns with her fourth album, which aptly entitled ‘4’.

The set, which features production from The Dream, marks her first release since separating, professionally, with father and manager, Mathew Knowles.

Summary Analysis

The album unconventionally begins with “1+1”, an emotionally-charged ballad written by The Dream, which sees her confessing and talking about the bounds of love.

“I don’t know much about algebra, but I know 1+1 equals 2”, she forcefully sings on the song, which is no lyrical gem, but is elevated by her passionate vocal performance.

The passion continues on the follow-up “I Care”, on which she boasts “I know you don't care too much, but I still care”, and although the song itself comes up short, there lies a beauty in its ability to showcase and admit vulnerability, which is difficult.

On the lingering “I Miss You”, she sings about missing her counterpart (Jay-Z), while the second single “Best Thing I Never Had” sees her realizing the good in goodbye.

Produced by the legendary Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, the piano-driven cut follows the blueprint that was utilized in her 2006 smash “Irreplacable”, and despite being one of the only predictable moments on the disc, it ultimately wins you over.

The Andre 3000-assisted “Party”, employs a collective sound of the eighties and nineties, and under the thriving production of Kanye West and an amazing verse from its featured guest, it arises as the biggest highlight of the album’s twelve tracks.

The party comes to a close on “Rather Die Young”, which sees her singing about dying rather than living without the love of her life as she references James Dean, while “Start Over” is another example of her voice shining more than the song itself.

She returns to glory on the feel good “Love on Top”, which builds to an exhilarating high towards the end, the sexy “Countdown”, which samples Boyz II Men’s 1991 hit “Uhh Ahh”, and the drum-heavy “End of Time”, all of which were penned by The Dream.

“I Was Here” is a sappy and reflective ballad written by Diane Warren, who personally calls it the best record she has ever written, a statement we fully dispute.

However, it would have marked a better ending to the set than the lead single “Run the World (Girls)”, another record written by The Dream, which is simply lackluster.

Final Verdict

On her fourth studio album, Beyonce spends more time trying to captivate you with her ability as a vocalist than she does trying to make you dance, and while it may not arise as the album the public wanted, she still manages to strike a chord.

‘4’ is undeniably a personal account of woman fully embracing her womanhood, and loving her man while doing so, and although it can be strange and unexpected, she wouldn’t be at the top of the game if she always played by the rules.

3½ OUT OF 5

Celebrity Bug’s Key Tracks
“1+1”, “Best Thing I Never Had”, “Party”, “Love on Top”, “Countdown” and “End of Time”.

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