The Queen of R&B, Beyoncé Knowles, brings the spotlight back onto herself with 4, her fourth solo album. It’s been a little over a week, since the iTunes store release on May 24, 2011. It has already made a strong impression on me. The title, 4, was enough of an attraction for me to review this album.
It’s a collection of 12 tracks that summarizes the life of a woman dealing with a combination of emotions. The release is about a frustrated female who seeks love and affection from her man. However, despite her disappointment, she is still determined to fight for love.
4 delivers a personal representation of Beyoncé possibly reflecting her life before her marriage to Jay-Z. I could be completely wrong. It could just represent women who’ve had similar experiences.
However, whatever the case may be, the album allows the “Halo” singer to reveal her inner thoughts on life.
In an interview with Billboard.com, Beyoncé reveals the truth behind the album title: “We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me.”
She says: “It’s the day I was born. My mother’s birthday, and a lot of my friends’ birthdays, are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date.”
The more I listen to this album, the more I’m truly convinced this release is about her life before husband Jay-Z. It’s a long shot, but it’s possible. What’s driving me to this conclusion is the song “The Best Thing I Ever Had”. As the first verse easily portrays her strength, determination, and confidence, she sings: “There was a time I thought, that you did everything right. No lies, no wrong, Boy I, must’ve been outta my mind. So when I think of the time that I almost loved you, You showed your a** and I saw the real you.”
She goes on to say: “Thank God you blew it, thank God I dodged the bullet/I’m so over you. So baby good looking out.” These lyrics suggest the importance of leaving your past behind you. It’s a song that can give you the strength to never look back to the past. It encourages you to believe that when a door closes, another one opens soon after.
Let’s just flip the coin for a second, and consider another explanation given for the album title. 4 could be a reflection of Beyoncé’s love and devotion for Jay-Z, as her opening track is “1+1″ (and no, this isn’t a math lesson). However, if we were to learn something here, then It’s the connection of two people who are crazy about each other.
The song illustrates the importance, and the power of love effortlessly. She sings: “If I ain’t got nothing, I got you, If I ain’t got something I don’t give a damn, ‘cause I got it with you, I don’t know much about algebra, but I know one plus one equals two, and it’s me and you, that’s all we’ll have when the world is through.”
Tracks that stood out to me the most were “I Miss You,” and “I Was Here.” Could “I Miss You” be expressing the fact, both husband and wife lead a demanding life?
It’s so demanding in fact, and they spend so much time apart that it almost feels like they’ve become strangers. It’s another long shot, but it’s just my opinion.
Here’s what encourages me to believe that this may be the case. She sings: “I thought that things like this get better with time, but I still need you. Why is that? You’re the only image in my mind. So I still see you…around. I miss you, like everyday, Wanna be with you, but you’re away. Said I miss you, missing you insane, but if I got with you, could it feel the same?”
Hearing these words leaves you no choice but to feel sympathy, encouraging you to reach out your hand to help ease the pain and frustration.
As I analyze the lyrics further, I see this thought come forward even more. She says: “It don’t matter who you are. It’s so simple, a feeling, but it’s everything no matter who you love. It’s so simple, a feeling, but it’s everything.”
The lyrics above suggest the experience of loving someone who has been in your life for quite some time. Dealing with the ongoing problem of distance causes that person to become a complete stranger.
“I Was Here” is a song that I believe was written for the important people in Beyoncé’s life, which are family, friends, and fans. The song leaves a strong aura of Beyoncé’s existence, bringing her spirit, her passion, and her commitment, for her family, friends, and the music industry forward.
She sings: “I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time. Know there was something that, and something that I left behind. When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets, leave something to remember, so they won’t forget!”
The singer continues to emphasize: “I was here…I lived, I loved, I was here…I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted, and it was more than I thought it would be. I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here…”
This looks to be a reminder for the V.I.Ps in Beyoncé’s life. She wants to be remembered as a strong character, and that she is. It’s pretty self-explanatory, as she wants to be considered as someone who’s made a strong impact, and touched people’s heart with her contribution to the music industry.
“I want to say I lived each day, until I died. I know that I had something in, somebody’s life. The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave, that I made a difference, and this world will see.”
Before we reach the end of this extensive review. I would like to take a quick look at two other tracks on the album. These are “End Of Time,” and the first single from 4, “Run The World (Girls).”
When I first heard “End Of Time,” it felt like I joined a festival with hundreds of dancers, grooving to the funky beat. It kind of reminded me of the dance sequence of 100 women who danced to “Single Ladies” at London’s Piccadilly Circus. A video of this performance is shown below. Thanks to Conanbelletty on YouTube.
“Run This World (Girls)” has the potential to be known as the next generation of “Independent Women.” I’m sure you don’t need a reminder of this classic Destiny’s Child track. This classic just got a crazy makeover, with “Run This World (Girls).” Beyonce sings: “I’m repping for the girls who taking over the world/Have me raise a glass for the college grads.”
The independent woman continues singing: “My persuasion can build a nation/Endless power, our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me.”
With these influential words, she’s able to maintain her authority towards men, suggesting that a woman doesn’t need a man to live her life.
You don’t need to think twice. This album is a strong comeback from the Queen B. I don’t know about you, but I’m not disappointed with 4!