Beyonce’s “4”: Floptastic or Fantastic?
I finally got the chance to listen to Beyonce’s new album “4” yesterday and I just couldn’t let that experience pass without writing a review! Ya’ll know I love me some Bey, so please know that the words that follow come from a good place. LOL
Here’s a song-by-song break down of my immediate thoughts and reactions:
1) “1+1” – Sung beautifully, but very anti-climatic. I kept waiting for it to take me somewhere, but that didn’t happen. Instead I found myself asking, “That’s it? It’s over?” I found this to be a poor choice for opening up the album.
2) ” I Care” – I listened to this twice and on the second go ’round it grew on me a little. I like the beat and the song starts off pretty strong. I appreciate her trying to push herself vocally, but that octave jumping at the end? Leave that to Mariah, boo.
3) “I Miss You” – This track was a little sleepy. It was well produced but felt a little unnecessary.
4) “Best Thing I Never Had” – Hands down, her best vocal performance on the album. It shows the growth she was trying to achieve, without going too far or singing too hard. I also like the believability of the lyrics – but then again, it’s written by Babyface, and that man knows he can write a song!
5) “Party” – Loved it! It gives a fresh vibe and pays a nice homage to the sounds of the 90s! And any song that can bring Andre 3000 out of solitary confinement is a winner. This is the song that was stuck in my head after I listened to the album.
6) “Rather Die Young” – Eh…snooze…skip. Nothing to see here, folks.
7) “Start Over” – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..see #6.
8 ) “Love on Top” – Nap time is over! This is a really fun and upbeat song, and another throwback – but this time with an 80s feel. She sang it well and it’s easy to sing along to.
9) “Countdown”: A solid standout track. The Boys II Men sample was a great way to switch things up. More songs from this recording session should have made it on the album. It offers up the dose of familiarity that had been missing – this is the Bey we know and love!
10) “End of Time” – A cute, summery, hanging out with my girls kinda jam. Nothing special, but I like it.
11) “I Was Here” – A classic Diane Warren power ballad, but it’s still a yawn because it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about Beyonce. You want to leave your mark on the world…I get it, I get it! #enoughalready
12) “Run the World (GIRLS)”: This song reaallllyy had to grow on me when I first heard it. After seeing her perform it at the Billboard Music Awards, I began to appreciate it more. Now I love it and wished there was more like it on the album…but sadly, it’s a stand alone.
Overall, the “4” album was a bit of a bore for me. It wasn’t completely floptastic, but it felt disjointed and a lot of the writing was somewhat elementary. The best line wasn’t even delivered by Beyonce – it was Kanye! And I quote, “You a bad girl and you’re friends bad too. You got that swag-sauce, ya drippin’ swagu!” You can always count on Mr. West to come up with something that’s silly and clever at the same time. I love him for that!
Almost half of the entire album was produced by The Dream and Tricky Stewart, and although they were responsible for most of my faves, you would think there would have been more continuity. The bottom line here is that if this is what she came up with after taking 9 months off, she need not ever take a vacation (for that long) again. Ever.
What do you think…was it floptastic or fantastic?
U PDATE! After doing some more listening, I can say the album did in fact grow on me over time. I still stand by most of my commentary, though! I find myself listening to the same tracks over and over again when I play the album. What changed for me is hearing Beyonce say that with this record she wanted to do things her own way and what felt good to her creatively. That explains why it felt a little “all over the place.” Knowing that she split with her long time manager and father during the process of recording the album…it all made sense. It’s a sign of freedom, if you will and starting a new chapter. So I give her a bit of a break for that!