Beyonce
4


4.0
excellent

Review

by Griff Fuller Jr. USER (11 Reviews)
June 29th, 2011 | 28 replies | 4,649 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The icon reclaims her throne by returning to the basics that influenced her from the beginning.

1 of 2 thought this review was well written

Since Beyoncé released her last album, pop superstar Lady GaGa rose to the top as Miss Knowles’ direct competitor. But unlike GaGa, Beyoncé has been a successful recording artist releasing hit singles consistently for the past 14 years. What has always separated Beyoncé from other female pop singers is that she have never had to rely on or hide behind stage gimmicks, elaborate costumes, autotune, edgy electronic beats, or lip-syncing. Her most valuable asset is her voice; it is her instrument, and with it she has always been superior to her competition.

With her debut album, she presented a very impressive near-classic solid R&B LP (which managed to even feature a duet with Luther Vandross). Her follow-up sophomore release was deliciously festive, using horn sections and hood-approved hip-hop beats. Her last release, I Am… Sasha Fierce, was a brief double album with a handful of really good pop songs and filler. On 4, Beyoncé moves away from the electronic phase that has taken over pop music and held it hostage for the past few years. Instead, she decided to go with a more mature sound that better suits the demands from her first wave of fans that fell in love with her Rhythm and Blues-oriented music.

4 is not an album for clubbers. Some fans have complained that its first single “Run The World (Girls)” is misleading, and to some extent they are right. It is the only electronic-driven up-tempo song on the album. The rest of the album is mid-tempo R&B jams and gorgeous ballads that are just as impressive in their delicacy as it would be with big powerhouse vocals (ie “Listen”). 4 opens with “1+1,” a song that received a lot of internet buzz after Jay-Z leaked video footage of Beyoncé flawlessly singing it in her dressing room prior to her American Idol performance.

“I Miss You” is a mellow lightly spacey track penned by Frank Ocean, reminiscent of Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape. The album’s second single, “Best Thing I Never Had,” is a mid-tempo R&B-pop ballad co-written by Babyface and produced by Symbolyc One. It’s more in line with the batch of songs on the first disc of I Am… Sasha Fierce. “Party” is a ‘90s R&B throwback featuring André 3000 and production by Kanye West and Consequence. A significant portion of the album is influenced by R&B from the 1990s, a time when urban music was of much better quality. Sometimes artists reach back to a prior time in music history to remind fans of the greatness that existed before them. In the ‘90s, R&B singers had a great sense of melody and rhythm, influenced by the phenomenal performers of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. While some current pop fans may have been exposed to this period of music in childhood, they don’t have a full grasp or understanding of how rich and innovative the music was at this time. R&B music from 20 years ago was at a much higher quality than the lazy autotuned R&B-pop of today. Groups like Jodeci, Tony! Toni! Tone!, and Mint Condition not only sang, but played their own instruments. Female singers like En Vogue, SWV, and Mary J. Blige had sophistication in their music that is missing in today’s R&B. Beyoncé acknowledges this era of music that inspired her on “Rather Die Young” and “Love on Top.”

“Countdown” is a festive horn-driven percussive track reminiscent of the upbeat party songs on B’Day (ie “Get Me Bodied”). The album closes with the lead single “Run The World (Girls),” which samples Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor.” Many fans of Beyoncé’s upbeat party songs embraced the single. But ironically, it might be the weak-link on the album, almost coming off as half-assed and out-of-place. “Sweet Dreams” from her previous LP is a more solid electronic-driven urban pop song. Beyoncé just might have delivered the album that her oldest and most devoted fans wanted, while not losing the edginess that she progressed towards in the last 5 years. Some fans won’t like the slower pace, but music is never meant to exclusively be one thing. Fans will have a more mature and broader understanding of the music-creating process once they learn to abandon trivial expectations.



Recent reviews by this author
My Morning Jacket CircuitalJill Scott The Light of the Sun
Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon IverTV on the Radio Nine Types of Light
Fleet Foxes Helplessness BluesRaphael Saadiq Stone Rollin'
user ratings (170)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Paramorerocks558 (3)
Beyonce's 4 is a good album. It shows that Beyonce is going in a different direction, which, at this...

Conrad Tao EMERITUS (4)
The queen reigns over her kingdom, a place where cynicism and romanticism don't have to be enemies, ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



7164 Comments


It's hard to write a review of an album which Conrad Tao has just covered, but I think you did an okay job - even if your summary is weirdly rather reminiscent of his. Anyway, let's talk about your review. First up, the prose was decent but it had some really "eh what" bits; for example:

i.) Filler and assertive sentences; here:
- Some fans have complained that its first single “Run The World (Girls)” is misleading, and to some extent they are right.

Who the hell is "some fans"?

- Many fans of Beyoncé’s upbeat party songs embraced the single.

Did they now?

- Sometimes artists reach back to a prior time in music history to remind fans of the greatness that existed before them. In the ‘90s, R&B singers had a great sense of melody and rhythm, influenced by the phenomenal performers of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

Not sure where you're going with this.

ii.) RED HERRINGS.
- Your entire '60s, '70s R&B bits had me completely lost. I have no idea what you were trying to say/prove.

- Her last release, I Am… Sasha Fierce, was a brief double album with a handful of really good pop songs and filler.

There's an idea here, but it is not well developed at all.

iii.) Work on your organization. The review meanders a lot and is rather poorly structured, with points jumping from one to the other without proper flow nor flair. Keep writing - it's the best way to get better at this.

-

The review is not neg-worthy, but it doesn't exactly deserve a pos either. Do keep trying though. Cheers.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2011



23806 Comments


yeah the first thing I thought was "change that summary"

it really makes it seem like you copied Conrad. stopped me from reading the review to be honest.

porch
June 29th 2011



8453 Comments


they aren't really that similar and it wouldn't surprise me if he hadn't even read the other review

but nevertheless from this point forward any such royal terminology in music criticism may only be used by conrad tao exclusively

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



28430 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

urgh both reviews

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



15014 Comments


donkslammer2000

omnipanzer
June 29th 2011



21442 Comments


Irving with the breakdown.

Digging: The Ettes - Shake the Dust

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



15014 Comments


i found nothing wrong w/ most of the stuff irving quoted

rebel86
June 29th 2011



132 Comments


@ Irving. I posted the first review of this album 3 weeks ago. They pulled it down because it was based on a leak. My review came first.

rebel86
June 29th 2011



132 Comments


@ irving. Your "breakdown" is futile and irrelevant. Take the little notes that you learned in your Reading and Writing Composition class and save them for your next term paper. Nice attempt at constructive criticism, but try again.

rebel86
June 29th 2011



132 Comments


@ porch, i haven't read conrad's review at all- not yet, at least.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



7164 Comments


Hmmm. Why so aggressive? If you were hurt by the contents of my comment then I apologize. I only meant well with it.

In any case, good luck with your next reviews. Hope to see your work again soon.

AtavanHalen
June 29th 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wow, what a butthurt little fuckwad. Don't bother trying to help this diva out if that's all they're going to do in return, Irving.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



15014 Comments


FUTILE AND IRRELEVANT

porch
June 29th 2011



8453 Comments


If you were hurt by the contents of my comment then I apologize. I only meant well with it.

In any case, good luck with your next reviews. Hope to see your work again soon.


nicest man on earth


Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



31085 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

Lol this kid again

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



15732 Comments


FUTILE AND IRRELEVANT

AtavanHalen
June 29th 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

When I say futile, you say irrelevant

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



15732 Comments


nah man that shit's corny as fuck

AtavanHalen
June 29th 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm just trying to get down with the downer

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2011



31085 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

why?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy