Monday, June 13, 2011

Music Review of Beyonce's latest album, "4"

It is no secret that one of music's most valuable songstresses has returned from a year hiatus. Aside from expected hair product commercials, a concert DVD release, and a music collaboration that left you in a maze, the ever-present Ms. Knowles-Carter finally gave herself and fans some space to enjoy other artists to dominate the radio air waves. Fans were literally left with rumors of a baby, scarce updates of a fourth album, and a workout playlist of  "I am.... Sasha Fierce" album favorites to build up mountains of anticipation. Well, anticipate no further, because the Queen B has assumed the thrown for the fourth time after her smashing Billboard Awards' performance, a new single, and a bittersweet exclusive leak of her latest album. The album wasn't scheduled to be released until June 28th. She must be upset.

The album is titled, 4, a number that Beyonce explained held personal significance for several reasons, one noticeably being the release of her "fourth" album. September 4th is the day of her birth, and not too mention, the 4th is the day that solidified the union of Jigga and B. The album's simplistic title is compensated by a compilation of 12 tracks narrowed down from more than 60, with unique production, and the star power to remain interesting after delivering four albums.

The album's lead single and ironically last track, "Run the World (Girls)"  rallies up herds of Beyonce female fanship to prepare for a war against the opposite sex who have become disgustingly comfortable with conservative notions of gender roles by reminding them of how much power women really do hold. "My persuasion can build a nation." The track can be added to the collection of Beyonce's signature girl power anthems; as it stays true to her conventional independent woman theme, and serves as a female liberation motivator. Heavy drum filled work and random video game sound effects attempt to make the song an uptempo club banger, but sadly looses its appeal with inconsistent melodies and uncertainties of  how one should actually dance to it. However, like any other Beyonce anthem accompanied by the video, the repetition forces the song to grow on your eardrums, suddenly becoming a guilty pleasure and leaving you wanting more of her. Luckily, more variety is exactly what listeners get when listening  to the rest of the production that is offered on this album.

The album takes a turn for the best, pinned down with sultry R&B tracks like "Party," produced by Kanye West featuring Andre 3000. The song talks about the confident decision to spend the night with someone you are interested in."I told my friends you can get it." Harmonic vocals complimented with computerized bass give way to a throw back smooth 80's funk groove, very reminiscent of the Roger and Zapp infused with a little SOS Band. It is definitely one of those songs that you place on repeat and cruise to in the car, with lyrics and melodies embedded in your head even after you reached your destination. "Rather Die Young" is another smooth R&B driven track very recalling of a  soulful 70's Motown hit. The lyrics describes the dismay for the fast lifestyle of a lover,  and the love for them that supersedes it all. Beyonce said she was very inspired  by artist like, The Jackson 5, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Prince, and Teena Marie. This record is undeniably the most vocal controlled song of all tracks, and executes intense diaphragm power when necessary. The closing bridge of this track is sure to bring tears to the eyes, as it is sung to perfection and showcases true vocal range. "Love on Top" is another uptempo love song inspired by the true R&B era that demonstrates Beyonce's vocal ability. Her decision to revisit sounds that rarely surface in this generation proves that quality music never gets old.

 The joys of being a supportive mate and madly in love wife was expressed in songs like the "Countdown."  this track takes more of a trendy production approach, but still manages to keep the listener in tuned with the lyrics and beat of the song. The song's witty sub-chorus  is a reminder of how much fun "B" likes to have when she shares her talent with fans. "My baby is a ten, we dressing to the nine, he pick me up at eight, make me feel so lucky seven."

There would not be a Beyonce album without the presence of an over dramatic ballad. "1+1"  is the album's opener and leading love song. She takes a stab at serenading her partner with uncanny vocal theatrics and numerous rippled grunts that sound like they damage vocal chords.  Her newly developed raspy tone becomes more disturbing as she belts out poetic mush that resembles diary entries of a 12-year-old. "I don't know much about algebra, but I know one plus one equals two." The dramatized, sappy  pronunciations of  "you" walk a fine line of becoming unbearable. The sincerity of her declaration of love rescues the song from a sinkhole. The singer's string of ballads continues with "I was here." Thankfully, the song rebounds the album from complete delicate fluff, humbly echoing Beyonce's achievements and purpose in life. Beyonce suppresses the urge to scream this time around by exercising voice control and softening her vibrato.

With the exception of  "Run the World (Girls)," this album really exhibited Beyonce's vulnerable side, and was finally a breath of fresh air from the: overly savvy business woman, money first, I can write a check for a million dollars, too, super confident times 10, I can upgrade you mentality. As much as her fans love to hear her roar about her superwoman capabilities, then boast about her ego measuring up to her $100 million dollar music mogul husband. It was finally just nice to hear her say how much she loved her man and wanted him to just hold her at the end of the day. This album receives three and half stars.


E rawq said...

U kno evn as a completely devoted stan lol, I enjoyed this article

She's Obsessed said...

thank you E rawq

JaKeen Couture said...

This post had me on the floor!!! I havent heard the album yet (dont crucify me) but reading this post made me want to hear it for myself even more and then compare experiences with you!!

**OnYxStA** said...

LOVE this album beyond words...each song captures a different moods and the switch-beat thing she has going on truly captures the Fela inspiration she spoke of when working on it



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