Beyonce – 4 | Album Review

It’s sometimes difficult when you’ve followed someone from the beginning of their career to accept when they give you something different. But if we can all grow and change, why can’t they? Artists have to be two steps ahead of us, so with every album they release we’re supposed to be two steps behind – and that’s pretty much what happened with this album. No one was expecting what Beyoncé came out with, partly due to the fact that the lead single ‘Who Run The World (Girls)’ was so misleading. So when a barrage of ballads was powerfully belted into our ears the majority were shocked, many disappointed (myself included, at first).

But after listening patiently it’s easy to see that this was a natural progression. To the critics who wrote that this was an album made by someone who had nothing to prove, I’ll have to disagree. This was an album made by someone who had everything to prove.

With the highest level of expectation placed on your shoulders, it’s a heavy burden to bear. Especially if you, at a new phase in your life, feel like taking a different direction. The Beyoncé we all know and love has been an ‘Independent Woman’ for years, realistically how long could she have kept that persona for? Especially if she’s not that person anymore.

That’s not to say, however, that there are no glimpses of it; ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ easily portrays her strength with lines every one of us at one point or another wished they had come up with themselves, the likes of Thank God you blew it, Thank God I dodged the bullet/ I’m so over you. So baby good looking out. And with every word on 4 so relateable (if at times slightly cheesy) perhaps it takes more than just one listen to truly appreciate it.

Beyonce – “Best Thing I Never Had”:

4 takes R&B’s past and hurtles it into the future, picking up sounds hailing from the ’80s along the way. Although at times this may fall a little short, there’s something dream-like about songs such as ‘I Miss You,’ which draw the listener in. Everything from the reason why the album is called 4 [apart from the fact that its her fourth studio album, it’s also her, Jay’s and her mother’s birthdays, as well as the date she got married] to the tracks themselves, are deeply personal. Giving an insight into a Beyoncé we’ve never really gotten to know before, her powerful voice expresses the emotion beautifully; ‘1+1,’ the album’s opening track one of the finest ballads Beyoncé has delivered in years.

Beyonce – “1+1”:

That’s not to say every track on the album is a masterpiece, but then again, is it ever possible to say that? Working with old hands the likes of Tricky Stewart and Rodney Jerkins as well as man of the moment Frank Ocean, their input, and the risks Beyoncé took are palpable. Managing herself for the first time ever in her career, I believe the risk to have been worthwhile.

Beyonce – 4
Released: June 27, 2011
Label: Columbia/Epic
Buy: iTunes US / iTunes UK / Amazon US / Amazon UK

Privacy Preference Center