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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 - Her fourth chart-topper
I love this album! She made a record for herself. It was time for Beyonce: The Person to step forward. The result is a shape-shifting piece of musical work for Beyonce. It also sets out its vision as a radical sidestep from the era-defining club and pop hits of Destiny's Child. It is filled with 3 platinum-plated ballads to mid-tempos. She toured the world and it opened...
Published on July 9, 2011 by D-Lord

versus
233 of 286 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Old School Back
Now I'm not the biggest Beyonce fan, but there are a few songs of hers that I like, which is why I purchased her 3 previous albums. I must say that B-Day and I Am... Sasha Fierce disappointed me greatly. Those albums were much too immature for me considering that they both succeeded Dangerously in Love, which was a decent R&B album (not 5-6 Grammys worthy, but that's...
Published on June 28, 2011 by Miss Nesha


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233 of 286 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Old School Back, June 28, 2011
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
Now I'm not the biggest Beyonce fan, but there are a few songs of hers that I like, which is why I purchased her 3 previous albums. I must say that B-Day and I Am... Sasha Fierce disappointed me greatly. Those albums were much too immature for me considering that they both succeeded Dangerously in Love, which was a decent R&B album (not 5-6 Grammys worthy, but that's another subject altogether).

It seemed that Beyonce's only concern with her last 2 efforts was to cross over to the MTV audience and ditch the urban fanbase that supported her since the VERY beginning when she was still making music with LaTavia, Letoya, Master P, Scarface, Silkk tha Shocker, etc. And she succeeded in her endeavor, releasing pop-worthy singles while both albums contained nothing but filler music.

When I initially heard "Run the World (Girls)", my gag-reflex kicked into high gear. Here I was thinking, "Okay, Beyonce, you're 30 years old, you're married, you're a successful GROWN ASS WOMAN, why in the WORLD are you singing a song that was clearly written for Willow Smith?"

"Run the World (Girls)" is an extremely immature song and it seemed the mass population in America agreed with me. The song peaked at 29 on the Billboard charts before plummeting somewhere unknown. Even with the Sasha Fierce-reject video of her and her background dancers as sexy (skanky) Nazis didn't wow the American audience (Beyonce: we get it! You look great in a leotard! Now ditch it already! You say you're the Queen of ALL music, Queens are supposed to be able to re-invent themselves with each new album. You're recycling Sasha from 2008. Give us something new!).

I began to think that Beyonce's reign was starting to dwindle. Her fans have grown. Most of her fans since the late 90s are FULLY grown. If Beyonce's (supposedly) final album is anything like "Girls", then her time in the music business will definitely cease. Simple fact: grown people want to listen to "grown folks music" with a more mature subject matter. Is it possible for adult artists nowadays to create mature music as they mature as well? (Heck, even Usher reverted back to more pop-filler garbage in order to satisfy the mass public who happens to be tweens, since they're the ones consuming today's mess of music.)

Then Beyonce released "1+1" as a promotional single. To be honest, I didn't care for it at first because I thought that it was pretty boring. However, I watched the video Jay-Z posted on his website showing Beyonce singing the song acapella on the night she was supposed to perform on American Idol. Her voice was nothing short of beautiful, which prompted me to listen to the song again. I fell in love with it.

However I was still apprehensive about purchasing this album because of "Girls", but I downloaded it anyway. I must say that Beyonce sounds WAY more mature...more mature than she has ever sounded since her last 2 albums. It has an old school 90s feel to it and I LOVE that since all I've been listening to is 90s R&B due to the crap that's on the radio today. The majority of her fanbase aren't going to be pleased with Beyonce's latest effort because there isn't any ass-shaking songs on here. Her fanbase will not be able to relate to the majority of the songs because Beyonce is presenting today's youth with a sound they're not very familiar with.

I am VERY thankful for that! I mean, who really wants to listen to "Single Ladies" repeatedly within the span of an hour? It's headache-inducing!

I'll rate the songs 1-5 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.

1. "1+1": 3 1/2. It had to grow on me, but when it did I fell in love with it. The lyrics are a bit cryptic, which reminds me of "Halo", but that's what I like about this song. I heard both versions from Beyonce, and the one from The-Dream (who wrote it), but I prefer Beyonce's version better (even though nothing really changed) due to Beyonce's superior vocal ability.

2. "I Care": 3. It seems a bit to filler, especially with the "la, la, la, la, la" and repetitive. Nothing spectacular really stands out to me with this song.

3. "Miss You": 4. Even though it's not even 3 minutes long, Beyonce shares her pain with her audience of a love gone astray. And the song ends perfectly with just the instrumental fading out. It gives a feeling of whether she'll reunite with the one she loves or forever live with the pain of not having him. (At least it did for me, lol.)

4. "Best Thing I Never Had": 3. I'm highly disappointed in Babyface (who wrote and composed this song), since I dubbed him, "The King of Urban Music". Anyone who's familiar with Babyface's catalog is fully aware of the master artistry he creates with music. However, Babyface failed to deliver with this song. Both artists could've done better with this song. While I understand the message, it just doesn't do it for me. And for Babyface (who I hold in an EXTREMELY high regard) to put his stamp of approval on it disappoints me. This song is only...okay. And "okay" isn't good enough for Babyface.

5. "Party" featuring Andre 3000: 5. This Kanye-produced track is one of my favorite songs on the album and an excellent standout! Andre 3000 is Beyonce's only featured artist and he delivers (like always).

"Kiddo say he looks up to me, this just makes me feel old
Never thought that we could become someone else's hero
Man, we were just in the food court, eating our gyro"

My favorite line from Andre because it gives me a nostalgic feeling from the humble beginnings of the 90s from both artists to what they've become today. And the production has a 90s sound to it as well. Kanye did great with this track. In fact, every artist present shined on this song. Now if Beyonce would've released this as the lead single, who knows what would've happened? Nevertheless, Beyonce still has time to rectify her mistake with "Girls" and release this song. It would be an intelligent move on her management team. Beyonce, if you're reading this: do it!

6. "Rather Die Young" 4: I like to call this song, "an ode to Jay" because that's exactly what it is, and there's nothing wrong with that. Every woman who's ever had amorous feelings for another man can relate to this track, especially with the opening lines,

"Boy you'll be the death of me
You're my James Dean
You make me feel like I'm seventeen"

That single quote took me back to my high school years when I feel for a guy who was nothing but trouble for me. Sometimes Beyonce overdoes it with her vocals, but the message is strong. I can't give it a 5, but this song deserves nothing less than a 4.

7. "Start Over": 5. Another standout track from this album. The harmonies Beyonce shares with her backup singers are breathtakingly beautiful. This song was on repeat so much, I fail to understand how I even manage to finish listening to the entire album. This song succeeds anything Beyonce has done in the past (in my opinion) because she sounds so MATURE (something we haven't heard from her in a LONG time), so passionate in the lyrics. I felt her desperation to salvage the broken relationship she's in with her guy. This song is single-worthy, but I wonder how today's music consumers will react to it?

8. "Love on Top": 4. More "classic" Beyonce. It's a fun, upbeat song that I believe her fanbase will appreciate. I find myself playing this song whenever I take my morning jogs just because of the sheer energy it exudes. I can picture Beyonce's team releasing this song as a single, but in my opinion it's best to remain on the album.

9. "Countdown": 5. Another "classic" Beyonce song that her fanbase will appreciate. It's fun, catchy, and clever. In 10 counts Beyonce tells her audience of the love she shares with her man. Normally this type of song is something I wouldn't listen to, but Beyonce delivers in such a fun way that I couldn't help but to pay attention.

10. "End of Time": 3 1/2. Beyonce satisfies her fans with yet another track they'll appreciate. Honestly it's an okay song, I really like the production of it. I'm a sucker for songs that have that "marching band sound" to it.

11. "I Was Here": 4. Beyonce teamed up with Diane Warren for this angst-y track where she basically tells her audience her time as an entertainer is ending (something I predicted anyway with her album title, so I wasn't surprised in the least). Beyonce has finally made her mark on the world and she'll never be forgotten. This song should've been the album's closer, yet we had THIS song to close it...

12. "Run the World (Girls)": 1. I won't waste time writing a review since I already stated how I felt in the above paragraphs. But I do have a question: How did this song make it to the final cut for the album, anyway?

All in all, my rating on this album is 3 1/2 stars. It's decent and more mature-sounding. Something that I can vibe with and reminisce about the great music of the 90s due to it's old school feel. I wish I could've given it a 4 (just like the title, lol) but the few filler tracks and that atrocious "Girls" knocked it down from a 4 to a 3 1/2.

I normally don't give reviews, but I felt that I had to on this one. If you managed to read everything I had to say, thank you for taking time out of your day to do so. And forgive any grammatical errors I have made. It's still early, lol.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 - Her fourth chart-topper, July 9, 2011
By 
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
I love this album! She made a record for herself. It was time for Beyonce: The Person to step forward. The result is a shape-shifting piece of musical work for Beyonce. It also sets out its vision as a radical sidestep from the era-defining club and pop hits of Destiny's Child. It is filled with 3 platinum-plated ballads to mid-tempos. She toured the world and it opened her up to the possibiilities of new genres and the magnitude of the festival experience. She had started looking beyond stadiums, watching Linkin Park and Muse and Rage Against the Machine whip up their adoring fans in different ways than Pop music intuits. She then started thinking about the possibility of re-writing her place in musical history. Her musical maturation is almost complete. Her personal ethics and work methodology stretch even further. This album is going to be successful like her previous albums.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Beyonce, July 3, 2011
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
To evolve you have to change and grow and that's exactly what Beyonce latest album gives us growth and change. I inserted the cd into in my cd player and listen to every song. I love every single song on this cd. I took time to listen to the melodies, the rhythm and her lyrics. This cd is definitely a masterpiece. Some of her fans will not like this cd because she has changed up her style a little, but I LOVE this cd.

Her voice is raw, filled with emotions and she seems to be expressing herself from her soul. Some of my favorite songs on this cd are 1+1 and I Care (I love her raw emotions and voice in these songs and I already know the words to these). I Miss You is a beautiful song that I wish lasted longer. I put it on repeat a few times just to make it last longer. Countdown, Party and I Was Here are also nice songs. This cd is one you can just insert and press play..and just listen without skipping.

Great cd!! Definitely five stars!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important album of her career, July 5, 2011
This review is from: 4 [+Digital Booklet] (MP3 Music)
I've been a casual fan of her music since DC and to be honest, I've been iffy on her voice (no she can SANG, but just her vocals can be grating) until the '10 Grammy's when she belted out IWAB and a powerful, legendary cover of Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know." It was then that I truly realized and embraced her as a living legend. I'll call myself a "stan" at this point smh lol. However, she may be the last great female entertainer worth "stanning" for and I'll wear that badge with pride!

Being that I come from the school of the late Michael, Madonna, and Janet, it has been hard for these rookie performers to impress me. Beyonce is the only performer that is acting like a true professional on stage and she gets the utmost respect from me for that. Despite anticipating her latest effort, the album leaked and I heard mostly negative things about it. I didn't let that deter me from hearing the album for myself. I am telling you her subtle promo sucked me in completely. I had only heard two songs from this album, but I saw her "Year of 4" promo doc and she won me over AGAIN. This is a true professional who is taking charge of her career, but realizes that she is incredibly blessed with this life, but is still a small piece of the puzzle in this overwhelmingly huge universe. Her career and personal life is inspiring to me and her album personifies that. This is a very mature, important record for her. People say it is an ode to Jay and that is fine, but to me it is for anyone who has ever LOVED and lost, period. The record is a little more hopeful than my other favorite album of the year, '21'. The message, the performance (vocals are PERFECTION on this one), musical influence, and the surprise sound (or disappointment) of this album to me makes this her best album to date for me. There is not one track that I do not appreciate. It is a cohesive album from start to finish. Even the quirky "Girls" grows on you even more and ends the album nicely. The production of Beyonce tracks are always on the quirky side and they will make you move your butt, but '4' will finally make you sing like you are Whitney. But this is Beyonce, OKAY!?! YASS HONEY! If you respect or quietly appreciate KING BEY as a singer, artist, performer, etc. then you have to give this album a fair listen. It is NOT like her other albums, but it is her best imo. This album will inspire you to live your life to the fullest and love hard. I dunno about you, but that's the type of music I like to listen to! "I was here. I lived, I loved... I've done everything that I wanted and it was more than I thought it would be." CHILLS MAN. CHILLS.

I've read where Beyonce wanted to make an album that she could sing when she was 40. Umm no shade, but there are some singers who will be trying to ~seriously~ singing about disco sticks and highway unicorns well into their 30's. C'mon son. Basically this album is an instant classic and something to be proud of. I think it will be between 21 & 4 for album of the year @Grammy's. I wouldn't care who won; both are classic albums from two very talented woman. But back to King Bey, cop this album!!!

Favorite, standout tracks: 1+1, I Care, Rather Die Young, START OVER (replay value is srs on this one), Countdown, I was Here.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "4" should've been called "5 Star", July 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
Beyonce has been growing ever since she debuted as leader of Destiny's Child and went into her solo career with the solid "Dangerously in Love". She went above and beyond my expectation when she released one of the most important Contemporary R&B/Pop albums of all time, "B'Day" (her most critically acclaimed work up until that point) in 2006 covering a relationship from the dazzling beginning to the miserable end. It also documents the growth of a(young)woman. 2008's "I Am...Sasha Fierce" saw Beyonce covering several different genres effortlessly and effectively. It was a transitional album leading up to the arrival of "4".

"4" is a gumbo of different sounds, emotions, and tempos on one album by one woman. It's an album a pop star of Beyoncé's caliber makes when she is ready to give you her complete self without the pressures of commercial performance. The set finds Beyonce, the best rhythmic singer since Aretha Franklin, diving into several heartfelt ballads about love, lost, and longing. It also has its fair share of uptempos one being the swagged out "Countdown", the Afrocentric (my absolute favorite track) "End of Time" and the amazingly aggressive "Run The World (Girls)" (her most aggressive and unique single to date). "Party" is a throwback track that seems to be written from Beyonce-of-the-90's point of view which happens to be one of my favorites. "Best Thing I Never Had" which is a Babyface/Beyonce penned midtempo lies perfectly in the middle for the "fresh out of a relationship" crowd. One of the stand out ballads, "I Care", is blatant homage to Prince with high staccato adlibs over an intense, almost emotional guitar break. Preceding "I Care" is the heartfelt "1+1" which hears Beyonce giving one of the best vocal performances of her career. "Rather Die Young" is a throwback 70's track where Beyonce belts out her devotion for the one she loves. The set also contains the haunting "I Was Here" which sums up what Beyonce hopes to achieve with her career outside of amazing music.

"4" is easily the best album of 2011 as well as one of the best ones in her discography. The main reason being that it is so different from her others. Some other reviewers are blatantly whining about how queens reinvent themselves (and misquoting Beyonce herself). Beyonce has done just that unless they are referring Beyonce's hair and clothes which are irrelevant to the music itself. The main rule in Beyonce's discography is not to expect another "Single Ladies" or "Crazy in Love" but do expect the first "End of Time" and "Run The World (Girls)" which are just as great.

Let's be honest though, no matter what kind of album Beyonce created out of her musically unique mind, she was never going to please some reviewers that review an album citing chart positions and a false sense of "maturity" as a basis for their underhanded compliments and outright lies. "4" is Beyonce at her strongest boldly telling her audience that she is here and she has IT. What she offers with "4" is an honest, diverse, and unique set of tracks that will be remembered as the best in 2011 pop music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeding my Expections, August 25, 2011
This review is from: 4 [+Digital Booklet] (MP3 Music)
The album is great! Its very different and I can understand what she meant when she wanted to make songs from different genres and put it together; mixing the old tunes with the new. The tracks that I feel stay true this statement are "Love on Top" (Jackson five feel), "End of time"(contemporary), and "Party"(90s style); These songs are "feel good music", which is hard to find in the music industry today.

Of course she brings in the slow ballads like her previous "Halo"; two specifically "Start Over"and "I Was Here". I have to say these two are my favorites; it definitely showcases her range and vocal skills, most importantly the choruses are catchy.

Then we have "best thing I never had", although it cannot replace the popular "irreplaceable" its definitely one of the top hits of the album.

Overall leaving her father's management to accomplish her successes on her own, she is doing a pretty damn good job!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Album, November 14, 2011
This review is from: 4 (MP3 Music)
Where do I begin, This is one of the best albums I have ever heard. She has received a lot of flack for this album, but I have to disagree with the bad reviews. This is a break down of each track

1+1: The album starts with a beautiful ballad, which showcases Beyonce's amazing voice. A true love song, that should get her a Grammy, for her vocal performance

I Care: A hard hitting ballad, that also shows her range, with her hard vocal and hard production.

I Miss You: One of my favorites, the song is so settle and relaxing. The lyrics are even more beautiful. I would definitely say its different from what we are used to from her, but its a stand out track on the album.

Best Thing I Never Had: Once again AMAZING VOCAL,also a good sing along. Reminds me a lot of Irreplaceable. Grammy Nomination worthy

Party: Another stand out track, Kanye did an excellent job with the production. A true party anthem.. Andre 3000 did a great verse that completed the track

Rather Die Young: She should have just called it Dear Jay. I love it! A well written song, and reminds me of a genre, I can not really pen point.

Start Over: I think this should have been a single. It has radio appeal, and probably the most commercial song on the album, but its one of my favorites. From her vocal, to the production, to the lyrics. I absolutely love this song

Love On Top: Classic, old school track. Best Traditional R&B Performance Grammy WIN! Another stand out track.

Countdown: Boyyyyyyyyyyy! Another great track! This is probably one of the funner tracks, I can only think I would be better with a rap verse

End of Time: Great Upbeat Song! Nothing really to say about it but she should release it as a single

I Was Here: A Legends song! This song shows Beyonce's amazing vocals once again. I can see it being in commercials, and her performing it at A Legends Ball!

Run the World (Girls): This song was not a good first single choice to me, but its a great dance track, and the video is to die for!

Deluxe Edition:

Lay Up Under Me: Why only on the deluxe?!!!! I love this track, I can see the video in my mind, and I hear it blasting through the speakers of many women.

Schoolin' Life: Reminds me of Prince. Amazing track, with amazing concept, all around an amazing song, except the ending didn't make sense to me.

Dance for You: Grab your man and do a lap dance song. Probably the most R&B song on the album. Favorite!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very different, more mature sound for Beyonce, September 2, 2011
By 
Nick (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
4 is proving to be a bit of a controversial album for Beyonce in the sense that so far it doesn't seem to be selling like most people think it should, although it's been certified platinum for about a month and a half. Many reviewers find it boring with too many ballads and fillers, plus the first single, "Run the World (Girls)" was recieved with mostly lukewarm reviews. I personally loved the song the first time I heard it and thought it was very different, but loved the risks she took with the song. The next song I heard was the demo of "End of Time", which I thought was okay, but as soon as I heard "1 +1" my excitement for this album only grew stronger. The album actually leaked three weeks early, which many people thought would kill album sales when it was officially released, which may be true to some extent. The first time I heard it there were a few songs I loved, some I enjoyed, and some I didn't care for at all. However, I felt there was something special about this album and now I love it and listen to it almost daily.

"1 + 1"--possibly the best Beyonce ballad behind "Halo". It has a very simple, bluesy feel to it and the lyrics are simple yet beautiful, and her vocal delivery is very raw and passionate. The basic meaning behind the song is that even if the world ended and everything crumbled, as long as love exists, that's all that matters. A truly beautiful song. 5/5

"I Care"--not bad. One expects the song to go a certain direction in the beginning, but as soon as the chorus starts its like a different song. Her vocals really save this song, and her imitations of the guitar riffs towards the end of the song are incredible. 4/5

"I Miss You"--some people find this song very boring, but I love it. It is a short song and she sings almost all of it in her lower register, but the music is very atmospheric and almost trancelike. A very chill track, it manages to relax me while still keep me on my toes. 5/5

"Best Thing I Never Had"--the official second single from the album. I heard alot of good hype about this song for a few weeks before I actually heard it, and I don't think that helped it. I do think its a very good song, but there's something about it I can't quite figure out. It doesn't really do anything special for me, but by no means do I dislike it. I love the piano in the song and once again her vocals are top notch, but I do feel as though its just a tiny bit overrated. 4/5

"Party"--I love the chill 90s vibe to the song. The harmonies are flawless and take the song to another level. This is a great summer jam and everytime I hear it I picture my friends and I driving around with the windows down blasting it and singing along. Andre 3000 kills his rap verse as well. The title suggests that this song would be a very upbeat dance song, but even though its a very chill midtempo track, it still works very well. 5/5

"Rather Die Young"--probably the most R&B sounding song on the album. I love how the song is at once quiet and haunting, then all of a sudden the chorus kicks in with a punch and she rips the vocals up. She goes back and forth with this a few times, giving the song a particular range that is quite impressive. 5/5

"Start Over"--the only song on the album I don't particularly care for. I'm sure it will grow on me over time as it is not a bad song at all, I just feel like it never really goes anywhere. 3/5

"Love on Top"--LOVE this song! This was the first song I heard on the album that I loved instantly. It has an old school soul feel to it and just makes you feel so happy. It's about finally finding the one special person that you love, and you can certainly feel the love that she does when she sings this song. And can we talk about the 5 key changes that she TEARS APART flawlessly? It's incredible. I saw her at the Roseland Ballroom August 18, 2011, and this was one of the best moments of the night. Seeing it live is amazing. This is probably going to be a classic Beyonce song and one that will mean alot to her and her fans, since she famously went public with her pregnancy for the first time when she performed this song at the 2011 VMAs, unbuttoning her blazer at the end of the song and rubbing her baby bump. This will always be one of my favorite Beyonce songs. 5/5

"Countdown"--This song is sure to be a hit single. It has catchy hooks and a fun countdown chorus that I believe she sampled from a Boyz II Men song. One of the few dance songs on the album, its a harmless, upbeat, fun song to jam to. 5/5

"End of Time"--Another highlight of the album. It has a very tribal feel to it throughout the song, and the harmonies in the beginning gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. It is very catchy and sure to be a hit in dance clubs. 5/5

"I Was Here"--I DID NOT like this song at all the first few times I heard it, but after she closed the Roseland show with it I have grown to enjoy it alot more. She was fighting tears throughout most of the song, and now that I realize she was pregnant during the concert, I'm sure she was thinking of her unborn child and how she wants to leave an important mark on his/her life. Sometimes it takes a video or live performance to take a certain song to a different level, and that is certainly the case with this song. 3.5/5

"Run the World (Girls)"--probably her most controversial song to date and with good reason. It is very abrasive and in your face with some intense Fela Kuti-inspired beats behind it and aggressive "girl power" lyrics, but that's what I love about it. She took major risks with this song, and for me, it worked. It does stand out like a sore thumb when you listen to the entire album as it sounds VERY different from everything else, but I still love it. Her performance of this at the Billboard Music Awards will probably be right up there with Michael Jackson's Motown performance of "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25 concert, and Beyonce is already said to be the Michael Jackson of our generation, and with good reason. 5/5

Overall I think this is her strongest work to date. There are lots of old school soul/throwback jams throughout, but she took chances with these songs and it pays off. It seems to be the best reviewed album of her career thus far with the major critics, although I feel as though it is very underrated with the general public. For this Beyonce fan, it is a fabulous collection of songs that showcase her incredible voice and personality. A great album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a blind fan, but I am a fan all the same., August 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
...and with that said, this is B's best work hands down. If you are a fan of 70s, 80s or 90s music, then this CD has something for you. It's a big mixture. The tempo of the songs mainly hit mid-tempos with ballads and a few uptempos thrown in. But it seems that B's most comfortable in mid-range although she can tackle anything here with ease. Her vocals have improved vastly since the last release (or are they just recording them better?). Production is smart, smooth but varied. The attention to detail is amazing like one of those darker albums by Janet Jackson The Velvet Rope, Christina Aguilera Stripped and the like. This album is not dark, however. Just comparing the little bells, whistles and additions in the background that you have to listen for multiple times to notice every little nuance.

Like I said earlier this album is not her most upbeat and for that, some of her fans will be and are disappointed as you can see here already in many of the reviews for the standard edition. They will find most of the ballads and mid-tempos boring unless they can appreciate B in a bit of a different light. B'Day, as fun as an album as that was, this album is not! And I'm actually happy for that. She needed to switch it up a bit to impress me from the so-so Sasha Fierce and she did just that. The main thing I was impressed with on that album was the downbeat and mid-tempo tracks which most of were winners (Faves being "Halo" and "Broken-hearted Girl").

Songs get intimate ("1+1, "I Miss You", "I Was Here", "Lay Up Under Me") playful ("Best Thing I Never Had", "Love On Top", "Countdown", "Schoolin' Life") and thoughtful ("I Care", "Rather Die Young", "Start Over"). I swear. There's a track for just about anyone on here.

Favorite downtempo: "I Miss You" (So intimate the lyrics might give you goosebumps. Love the head voice she uses at the end of certain lines.)
Favorite mid-tempo: "Rather Die Young" (A ride or die song. Think Bonnie & Clyde '03 but less chill.)
Favorite uptempo: "Countdown" (This track was so unexpected. It's true that it's genre-busting and some might think it sounds like a B'Day reject but I can say that it rivals ANYTHING on B'Day. Perfection.)

All in all, this album is not only Beyoncé's work of art (finally!) but it's a big surprise and treat for the real fans who have been waiting for B to get serious with her music and give her all. She did, believe me! B'Day, although juvenile to some was my favorite album by her until I heard these infectious tracks. Give them time to sink in. I loved most of them on full listen the first time I heard them but they might have to grow on you. Lots of great music has to do that sometimes.

4.5 stars.

If you don't get the album...

DOWNLOAD:
"Rather Die Young"
"Countdown"
"I Miss You"
"Start Over" &
"Love On Top"

HONORABLE MENTIONS (you can't download legally):
"Lay Up Under Me" &
"Schoolin' Life"

SKIP:
Maybe "Run The World (Girls)" (the original).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly better than average, July 1, 2011
This review is from: 4 (Audio CD)
Beyonce right now is still the biggest cross over R&B artist of her time and for quite some time now. she has been able to take different styles of music into her gumbo and get a stir with mixed results. i still think and feel she still doesn't have a timeless song in her solo catelog yet."crazy in Love" was really good, but still not a money track.

Beyonce is like the female version of Lebron James, got the Goods to be crazy Great and might one day be in a serious argument about a place on the mount rushmore of there various fields and mind you as a Miami Heat fan, I root for Lebron, however having said that, he like her doesn't have that "it" when it comes to the clutch moments to match the natural skills and that is what hurts Beyonce.

for all her soulful range and ability to have radio friendly tracks,etc.. she is always trying to create an event out of a box of cracker jacks. she is missing on just making music and having fun with it.

she wants to be heavy and deeper than she is. her voice is good and she has some moments here and there, but until she steps up the material game, she will be close,but not very good to Great as she aspires to be and for all the Hype she gets, her material often feels rushed and just kinda there.

she needs a real songwriter and producer to push her as to pushing a image. she has a couple of tight tracks and then filler which wrecks even a almost good album. she ain't close to great, but good be if tweaked into the direction of real songs to compliment her range as to oversinging and trying to build a tower out of tent.
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4 by Beyonce (Audio CD - 2011)
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