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Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Beyonce - 4 (Album Review)

The world of Destiny's Child has gone absolutely topsy turvy after the firing of Matthew Knowles, Beyonce's father, as her own manager. Michelle Williams will be coming out with her comeback single, Kelly Rowland has gotten her first charting hit with urban single Motivation on the Billboard Hot 100 with no promotion at all in addition to a high-profile judging role on The X Factor UK, while Beyonce, who usually comes out on top, has been doing far from stellar after a series of underperforming singles Run The World (Girls), 1 + 1 and Best Thing I Never Had.

All these singles precede upcoming album, simply titled 4. When Beyonce discussed 4, she cited influences and you might have scoffed because she mentioned Adele, who as we all know, is the dark horse of 2011, and thought Beyonce only mentioned Adele just to get on the Adele train. But without Daddy by her side as manager, Beyonce has ditched the glossy soul-less pop/R&B she has been doing all her career so far.

So how's it then? Songs like Love On Top sound like tracks that hark back to the glory days of Motown, with big melodies and big vocals. However, losing the contemporary sound she had with previous albums does have some drawbacks. For one, the songs on 4 rarely ever wedge themselves into your head like some of her bigger hits did effortlessly. Beyonce is still very much considered a pop star with glittery pop songs that radio ate up. This time, Beyonce's material sounds left-field, almost alternative at points.

This album works best when Beyonce is doing the ballads like she means it this time, with 1 + 1 being one of the album's standouts. Other album stunners include End of Time, a song that brings to mind Cheryl Cole's Parachute in points, and rather surprisingly, Run The World (Girls). As said before, Beyonce's ballads trump the uptempos on this record, and the album ends perfectly with I Was Here, a track that fits Beyonce perfectly and highlights her strength as a vocalist.

Overall, the entire album is a solid effort and works, somewhat, as a whole with the songs sounding similar to each other, unlike a mish mash of hit singles smacked into one compilation like pop tart Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. It'll be interesting to see how this album will chart, it's probably going to go the way of the singles released off the album did, rather than her usually safe approach to music that was I Am Sasha Fierce.

But unlike the Beyonce we saw on I Am Sasha Fierce, I think we're seeing the real Beyonce Knowles as a human being, and not a manufactured pop star who flicks her weave and pops her hip to shiny pop/urban joints.


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