This reviewer completely missed the Beyoncé craze, yes I’ve heard the singles, but I have never sat back and listened to an entire record. So, her fourth album is my introduction and it is quite apparent that Beyoncé and her crack-pot team of songwriters and producers are looking for the next trend.
Opening with the intimate, soul burner “1+1”, the track showcases Beyoncé’s strong and confident vocals and besides the awfully clichéd lyrics, the soft mix of organ, piano and 80’s chimes make the dated guitar solo a nostalgic listen. This is followed-up with the synthesized ballad, “I Care” that surges with a powerhouse chorus before another ballad (and my favourite cut off the album), “I Miss You” comes in with a simple drum loop that suits the heartfelt sentiment. Second single, “Best Thing I Never Had” is up next and is pure radio cheese with all the right build-ups that make for a perfect FM hit – again the dated guitar ebbs and flows on this track.
From here on in, 4, is restless in moods and style. The Kanye West production, “Party” is stuck in one groove – laid back – and feels like a throwaway, but then Andre 3000 decides to make a rare appearance and kills his lines. Unfortunately, other songs don’t have this saving grace; “Love On Top” is boring, over-produced R&B that doesn’t even fit the theme of the album, while the robotic urban attack “Countdown” is overkill on the senses and the M.I.A. wanna-be “Run The World (Girls)” is meant as a feminist rally but falls short on inspiration.
Overall, Beyoncé’s 4 features some awesome live performances but her lack of focus and attempt to hit every music market makes for an average listen – this is an album for the digital age – find the song that suits you and download it on iTunes. (Columbia Records)
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars