Released June 24, 2011
Label: Parkwood ・Columbia
Producer: Beyoncé Knowles ・Antonio Dixon ・Babyface ・Brent Kutzle ・Jeff Bhasker ・Diplo ・Kuk Harrell ・Kanye West ・Kaskade ・Luke Steele ・Los Da Mystro ・Ryan Tedder ・Shea Taylor ・Skyz Muzik ・Switch ・Symbolyc One ・The-Dream ・Tricky Stewart
By 2011, Beyoncé Knowles took the world by storm as the lead singer of the dynamic girl group Destiny’s Child, and eventually embarked on a monumental solo career, releasing hits like Crazy In Love, Baby Boy, Naughty Girl, Deja Vu, Get Me Bodied, Single Ladies, If I were a Boy and many more hits to name.
After the success of her third studio album I Am…Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé took a career hiatus in 2010 to live her life and be inspired for what was to be next. Also, she severed professional ties with her father and manager at the time Mathew Knowles, who was a driving force in her career since the Destiny Child years.
Knowles eventually began work on her next album, titled 4. Dissatisfied with contemporary radio at the time, in a interview she did..Beyonce stated she wanted to change that with her new album. Combining the likes of genres of R&B, hip-hop, dancehall, afrobeat, rock ‘n’ roll, etc from musical eras from the 70s & 90s, 4 is musically different from anything Bey did at the time and was absolutely an evolution. She became focused on songs that will stand the test of time and could be songs that are classics and that she can sing when she is 60. & it was evident. 4 stands out in modern music for going back to the roots of traditional R&B and not contemporary music.
The title of the album being “4” came from being influenced by the fans, and the number being special to her in regards to her and Jay-Z’s birthdays being on the forth of their birthday months (September for Beyoncé and December for Jay,) and their wedding anniversary falling on the 4th of April.
Despite the album being leaked on the internet, 4 was released in the United States on June 28, 2011..selling 310, 000 copies the first week. 4 also became Beyoncé’s fourth consecutive solo album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, making her the second female artist (behind Britney Spears & DMX,) to achieve such a feat. The album has also been certified platinum by the RIAA.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Beyoncé’s 4.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・Christopher Stewart
The album begins with the beauty of how Beyoncé is untouchable vocally, with songs like 1+1. The first half of the album has the most amazing ballads, and 1+1 is a testament to that. Released as a promotional single, the R&B ballad touches on the power of love and how strong it can be with metaphors like algebra. What I love about this song is the 50s/60s soul music influences. I can see
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Jeff Bhasker ・Chad Hugo
The record takes a more darker tone, with I Care. The powerful ballad is a beautiful marriage of soul & rock music. From a lyrical perspective, I Care has Beyoncé expressing her frustrations with a lover who isn’t as invested in their relationship as she is. Whew. Everything about I Care is flawless: vocals, production, songwriting. sis makes you feel every lyric, even if your deeply in love with someone.
I Miss You
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Frank Ocean ・Shea Taylor
I Miss You is the first official musical collaboration between Beyoncé & Frank Ocean (who wrote co-wrote the song with Bey & Shea Taylor,) & they would go on to work on songs like Superpower & Pink + White. I Miss You is a 1980s R&B ballad with elements of trip hop, electro soul, neo soul, which is lyrically about thinking a lot about her lover who she has parted from.
Best Thing I Never Had
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Kenneth Edmonds ・Antonio Dixon ・Patrick Smith ・Shea. Taylor ・Larry Griffin, Jr. ・Caleb McCampbell
One of my favorite songs from 4 is definitely Best Thing I Never Had. Released as the second single from the album, Best Thing I Never Had has the singer feeling relieved that she’s left a lover who did not appreciate the possibility of a life with her. Critics immediately deemed the song as a sequel to 2006’s Irreplaceable, speaking that the songs are very similar.
The themes of revenge and karma are prevalent and spoke out to me throughout the song, because people really don’t realize until they’re gone how they have lost a good person. The song peaked in the top five on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also, the song has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.
Party featuring André 3000
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・ Kanye West ・Jeff Bhasker ・Dexter Mills ・Douglas Davis ・Ricky Walters ・André Benjamin
Party is A SONG okay!!! A mid-tempo R&B record with elements of funk, new jack swing, soul & hip-hop, Party is a perfect Kanye produced record: you have a good groove with the production, lyrical themes of feminism and sexual empowerment and ANDRE 3000O OF ALL PEOPLE!!
The song was a big hit on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at number two. Party also contains samples of Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick’s La Di Da Di & Keith Sweat’s Right and a Wrong Way.
Rather Die Young
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・ Jeff Bhasker ・Luke Steele
Boy, you’ll be the death of me. You’re my James Dean, you make me feel like I’m, seventeen.Beyoncé, 2011
One of the strongest records on 4 is the amazing Rather Die Young. I love everything about this song because it gives you 70s R&B vibes, like from the Philly soul era. I love how it kind of gives you a quiet storm music vibe as well. From a lyrical standpoint, Rather Die Young speaks about the heart wanting what it wants, regardless if he’s a good guy or not.
While it wasn’t released as a single, it is a fan favorite and received positive reviews from critics.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・S. Taylor ・Ester Dean
From a lyrical standpoint, Start Over speaks of a relationship that is almost at its wits end and the singer wants to give new life to their love. Must be nice.
Love On Top
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・S. Taylor
WE LOVE A HIT!!! Love On Top has to be one of Beyoncé’s best songs of all time. the up-tempo record is a tribute to classic disco music, funk, jazz, retro-soul music that reminds you of a record you’d hear from Etta James, whom ironically Beyoncé portrayed in 2008’s Cadillac Records. With Love On Top, Beyoncé gained another number one hit on the Billboard R&B charts, and won a Grammy award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・S. Taylor ・Ester Dean ・Cainon Lamb ・Julie Frost ・Michael Bivins ・Nathan Morris ・Wanya Morris
Countdown is truly the highlight of 4. It is experimental genre wise with elements of R&B, Latin pop, hip hop, reggae, funk, world music, dancehall, afrobeat, you name it. Built around a sample of Uhh Ahh by Boyz II Men, Countdown is lyrically about the beauty of monogamy and appreciation for your significant other, while also celebrating self-worthiness.
End of Time
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・Shea Taylor ・David Taylor
An uptempo Afrobeat and Latin jazz record, End of Time speaks about the singer’s adoration and love for the person she’s romantically involved with.
I Was Here
Written by Diane Warren
I Was Here is truly a gem. Written by the immaculate songwriter Diane Warren, I Was Here speaks about making her mark on Earth before she passes away.
Run the World (Girls)
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・ Wesley Pentz ・D. Taylor ・Adidja Palmer ・Nick van de Wall
One thing about Beyoncé is she’s going to give you an female empowerment record. Run The World (Girls) is a flawless & amazing record about just that. Black women have been raising generations. With elements of electropop & R&B, the song is truly the one.
Lay Up Under Me
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Mikkel Eriksen ・Tor Erik Hermansen ・Sean Garrett ・Shea Taylor
Lay Up Under Me is a cover of Sean Garrett’s song of the same name, and speaks about discussing the lovely things she’s going to do with her partner.
Written by Beyoncé Knowles ・Terius Nash ・Carlos McKinney
Schoolin’ Life is one of my favorite songs!! Inspired by 1980s music, Beyoncé addresses many life lessons to people in adulthood, and speaks about her own experiences.
Dance For You
Written by Terius Nash, Beyoncé Knowles & Christopher Stewart
Dance for You is absolutely one of my favorites from this album. Lyrically, the song is about giving your everything to one partner. The song peaked at number 6 on the Billboard R&B charts.
Beyoncé has continued to bless us with tremendous blessings that is her discography. 4 is truly a blessing to my life and ears. A true gem. -MJ