Beyonce returns to the music scene with 4
Following a two-year hiatus from the music scene, Beyonce is back with her fourth studio album, appropriately titled “4”, full of her signature big voice and even bigger personality.
Whereas on her last LP, 2008’s monster hit “I Am…Sasha Fierce”, “4” brings together both her diva and her emotional side on one 12-track album, rather than having the two as separate personalities. The subject matter of the album is familiar for Beyonce fans, revolving around love, heartbreak, and empowerment and shows a progression in Beyonce’s ability not only as a singer, but also as a woman in charge (Beyonce executive produced and co-wrote 11 out of 12 tracks on the album).
The album opens with the song “1+1”, an emotional ballad that Beyonce herself declared her favorite song on the album during a live performance on American Idol last month. She gut-wrenchingly declares that her and her significant other have nothing without love in the song, combining the elements of a strong power ballad with R&B sensibilities. The song “Best Thing I Never Had”, her latest single, is another empowering song, about feeling proud to not be with a lover who didn’t deserve her heart. The song is sassy at times, yet still holds the emotion you would expect from a mid-tempo Beyonce track.
She features Outkast’s Andre 3000 on the song “Party”, a mid-tempo song that combines R&B and pop that is about being carefree and liking to, simply, party and not caring about what other might think of her partying ways. “Love On Top” is a bouncy, R&B-jazz-influenced track, about her man putting their love first before anything else. The song, a standout on the album, combines different musical elements, a testament to Beyonce’s unique artistry. “Countdown”, one of the few up-tempo tracks, is sure to be yet another classic diva anthem for Beyonce fans, as she orders girls to show their man that they are fly.
The album closes with her latest female empowerment smash, “Run The World (Girls)”. The song is abrasive and infectious, and will have anyone up on their feat at clubs and at future Beyonce concerts. The song is true Beyonce, combining up-tempo gold with a strong message for listeners to take in.
While it would be great to have more of an up-tempo variety of songs, the album as a whole is much more mid-tempo and R&B than fans would expect. But that is what is so great about Beyonce. Her music continues to surprise fans, as she is not one to do the same thing twice and her musicality and persona alone are sure to draw fans to the album and to her concerts in the future. She continues to prove that she has staying power and is not afraid to change things up album to album, the true signs of an amazing artist.