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4 - Beyonce

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Genre: R&B & Soul - Pop R&B / Artist: Beyonce / Audio CD released 2011-06-27 at RCA

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    11 Reviews
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      07.06.2012 19:53
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      Beyonce's fourth album

      **Background**

      It felt like an eternity between, Beyonce's 2008-released third album, "I Am... Sasha Fierce", and her fourth one, which dropped midway through 2011. Once the singles stopped coming from the former, however, massive collaborations with Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga were reminders who the top dog of the Pop world was. By 2011, she was ready to return fully and made it clear with "Run the World". A success, the song was a reflection of her new musical direction - to push the boundaries of Pop by intermixing her style with other exotic strands from around the world. "4" would take the former Destiny's Child member to sky high levels of stardom with a standout body of music.

      *Good Points*

      What's the most striking about this album is simply the sheer number of straight-up hits. Beyonce comes in swinging and throws everything at her audience. From "Rather Die Young", through to "1+1", back to "Party" and over to "Love on Top", you're subject to an incredible display form one of the game's most talented artists. She's on top of her game and she's got the songs to make sure that everyone pays attention.

      Limited to just one featured guest (from the elusive Andre 3000) the album is a way to show that Beyonce has gone through a massive journey through her time and is finally able to deliver an album that everyone's happy with. Pop albums aren't often credited for their musical integrity, but with such effortless mixes of styles laced together with her great vocal tone, you have to give her as much credit as possible. She's put together a timeless release which will live on for years as a landmark release for her and the wider music world.

      *Bad Points*

      This is a thoroughly entertaining album which really doesn't have any weaknesses to it. Beyonce and the long list of writers and producers come out with a record which really embodies who she is as an artist and where she's at in her career. The only way you'll have something to complain about here is if you've got something against her, as everything goes to plan on this release. Anything with "Countdown", "End of Time" and "Start Over" on it couldn't possibly be viewed in a negative light.

      **Overall**

      While it felt as though she was halfway there with her other albums, it feels as though "4" is truly a masterpiece in Beyonce's discography. She's done a lot of good individual songs over the years, but her albums haven't quite been able to consistently appeal to the same wide audience at every step along the way. However, on this occasion, she's bang on every time. It's a flawless album which manages to pus R&B and Pop just as much as it nods at the legends in it. Every song on "4" is a great one and is a conversation starter, so you can't possibly have any complaints over it.

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        21.05.2012 23:49
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        an average album

        4 was Beyonce's fourth studio album and was released in 2011. I really loved her previous album I Am Sasha Fierce and was really excited to hear this when it was first released. I have quite mixed feelings about this album and wouldn't say it is my favourite Beyonce album so far as I only really enjoy a few songs on this.

        The track listing for this album is as follows:
        1. 1+1
        2. I Care
        3. I Miss You
        4. Best Thing I Never Had
        5. Party-Feat. Andre 3000
        6. Rather Die Young
        7. Start Over
        8. Love On Top
        9. Countdown
        10. End Of Time
        11. I Was Here
        12. Run The World (Girls)

        Favourite Tracks
        Run The World (Girls)
        This is a fun and upbeat fast paced song about girls and how amazing we are, I really like this as it is fun and sexy and has a really confident feel to it. This is my favourite song on the album so far because it has a lot of energy and is all about female empowerment.

        Best Thing I Never Had
        This is a really confident and empowering song about holding your head high after a break up with someone who didn't treat you well. This song is really strong and carries a great message about self worth. The vocals on this song are amazing and I feel that I can really relate to this song having a few ex's of my own and I am sure that there are a lot of other people who could relate to it as well.

        Countdown
        This is a song about being in love with someone and much fun you can have with your partner as a couple and also how important it is to support each other in a relationship through good and bad. This is one of the few faster paced song on the album and it has a really happy and positive feeling to it.

        Party (feat Andre 3000)
        This is a sexy and cool song about wanting to meet up with your friends and going to a party to impress the other sex. It is a mid paced song and it has a really funky tone and cool beat to it. This song is really easy to listen to and definitely worth a listen to.

        I Was Here
        This is a slower song about how Beyonce wants to make her mark on this world and be remembered for doing good in the world, this is a really lovely song and the vocals are of course as always perfect.

        The Rest of The Album
        Unfortunately I wasn't really impressed with the rest of the album, I wouldn't really say it is terrible, however it is a little boring and forgettable in my opinion. Quite a lot of the songs on this album are quite slow and there were a lot of ballads in this album, making all the songs sound the same. One thing I can say about this album is that it has a lot of soul and it seems that when writing this Beyonce drawn inspiration from music in the 70's.

        I really didn't like the song Rather Die Young, which is about how Beyonce would rather die young than live without love in her life, this song is just really boring and a bit annoying. I just tend to skip this song when it comes on.

        Price and Availability
        You can buy this album in HMV for around £8, which is much cheaper than I paid for it when it was first released. I do not however think I would pay for this album if I had listened to it first. Apart from a few songs it is pretty forgettable in my opinion.

        Overall
        I feel really mixed about this album, some of the songs grew on me over time even though I didn't really like them in the beginning. I don't think I would buy this album again, though I do sometimes listen to it, I prefer to listen to Beyonce's older material as it is much more modern and upbeat. Overall I would give this album 3 out of 5 stars.

        *also on ciao under lorrainek90

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          05.02.2012 16:36

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          There is no doubt in the world that beyonce is an excellent singer and this CD shows of her vocals excellently.

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          23.12.2011 08:36
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          Great album

          Released in 2011 this is one of Beyonce better albums in my opinion and it is full of variety and vibrant songs that will have you both singing and dancing along to them. It is the range in this album that really appeals to me and her vocals are clear and decisive throughout and demonstrate admirably the great range that she has. She is also a pretty amazing live performer and even that comes across somehow in this album.

          She portrays herself as a strong modern woman of the world and songs like Run the World get this message across loud and clear in the vocals of this song with the girl power theme carried over from previous songs she has performed. I Miss You is a song that is literally soaked in emotion and this is complemented by equally strong ballads such as Best Thing I Never Had which sounds awesome as does I Care which is another song with very moving lyrics indeed.

          There are a couple of collaborations on the album and the one that works best for me is the duet with Dionne Warwick on I Was Here, two great vocalists coming together to produce something special. The musical range in her work is also impressive, some of the productions are quite complicated with a lot of variety in terms of tempo and structure while others are just simple harmonies and the strength of the song comes from her strong vocals and the ability to deliver and emotional song without wailing and taking it too far (Mariah Carey please take note).

          This is not her best album in my opinion but it is a well structured and produced album that suitably show cases her skills as a singer and performer and on that basis I give it four stars as befits the title and a strong recommendation as well, fans will not be disappointed and those new to her music might well become converts.

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          10.11.2011 19:28

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          Another great album from Beyonce

          1. 1+1
          2. I Care
          3. I Miss You
          4. Best Thing I Never Had
          5. Party (ft Andre 3000)
          6. Rather Die Young
          7. Start Over
          8. Love On Top
          9. Countdown
          10. End of Time
          11. I Was Here
          12. Run The World (Girls)
          13. Lay Up Under Me
          14. Schoolin Life
          15. Dance For You
          16. Run The World (Girls) Kaskade Club Remix
          17. Run The World (Girls) Redtop Club Remix
          18. Run The World (Girls) Jochen Simms Club Remix


          I have always been a fan of Beyonce, her songs have been winners over and over, catchy with learnable lyrics and a beat that challenges you not to dance. 4, her latest effort is no different. She has a nice balance between slow and upbeat on this album, all of them brilliant to sing along to, and all of them potential hits. My personal favourites off the album are End of Time, Girls and Countdown. The deluxe edition features even more treats with a disc of bonus tracks, including a few remixes of Girls which are great to dance to. I love her strong voice and confident performance on each track, there wasnt a single track on the album I disliked. She has a brilliant, soulful voice which can both get you moving or lull you to sleep, depending on the track. Beyonce herself is a role model, her curvy body breaking the idea that you have to be skinny to be good looking, and shes done her life properly- made a career, got married and now expecting a baby. I think this album is fab and matches up to her previous successes. Definitely one for Beyonce fans everywhere. It features beautiful lyrics and catchy beats throughout, and songs that you find yourself singing in the shower for days. Must own!

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          12.10.2011 23:12

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          Overall I'd recommend to listen, definitely keeping up the high standards she has set

          I fell out with Beyonce a few years back after her failing to show up to a concert in Manchester, so admittedly I've forced myself to stay away from her recent albums. However, I'm a girl who appreciates a beautiful woman and couldn't help but think to myself how much Beyonce has blossomed recently so I finally decided to withhold my grudge and download 4.

          I'd say on average I tend to listen to around 50% of the songs on any album with the rare few capturing my attention for the whole track list. Unfortunately this was no exception! Despite this I thoroughly enjoy listening to my favourites on this album and she has definitely come back to her best in this album. A good mix of dancing tunes, tunes to cry to and some easy listeners. I would have liked there to have been a few more collaborations as there is only one featuring Andre 3000 and Kanye which was a little dull. All in all she still hasn't lost it and her voice sounds as good as ever.

          Favourite track - Countdown, don't know what it is about this song but it gets me singing along every time and is a song I can listen over and over again!

          Least favourite track - I miss you, a little dull and unimaginative

          Favourite track to freak to - Run the World, excellent sampling of Pon de Floor a definite one to get the ladies on the dancefloor

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          18.09.2011 20:52
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          With this being the year of Adele, this album sits neatly beside '21'.

          I didn't like I Am... Sasha Fierce. I didn't particularly get the fuss over Single Ladies, and she stripped a thin album for all it was worth. Having said that, I do admire Beyonce Knowles as one of the icons of our generation. 4 serves as her fourth studio album, following a series of albums that have all topped the US charts and done almost as well around the rest of the world. Many will remember Beyonce from Destiny's Child, the biggest selling female group of all time, but after her break out with debut solo single Crazy in Love it's no wonder she played to her strengths. Similar to how Justin Timberlake followed a passion for R&B music upon going solo, leaving the rest of N*Sync behind.

          There is no questioning that Beyonce can sing, even her casual fans will probably have caught her now infamous duet with Alexandra Burke on the X-Factor final, whilst we all thought Burke sang Listen amazingly well... the Grammy winner came along to blow her out of the water, and it seemed effortless. I wanted to see Beyonce really uses her vocals on this project, escaping from some of the questionable mainstream music she produced last time around. Britney Spears and Lady Gaga have both brought out some top dance music this year, and whilst you can't compare them - on sales you can. Does stripping back most of those dance beats leave Beyonce with a dull, Leona Lewis 'Echo', affair?
          1+1 doesn't do much for her case, but if anyone saw her performance of this track on the American Idol final will have seen first hand the passion behind the song. I'm glad that Beyonce ignored the idea of putting an introduction on the album, and threw us in headfirst "Ohh, make love to me" And it's not as sensual as it sounds, it's romantic. I Care starts off a bit dreary, but picks up once the chorus kicks in. Singing about the man in her life not caring, but she still does, I can see exactly what reviewer Nitsuh Abebe meant when they said Beyonce manages to make vulnerability sound like bravery.

          Words don't ever seem to come out right, but I still mean them Beyonce might not be able to get her words right in a relationship, but the lyrics to I Miss You are spot on. Whilst if you're not happy with Beyonce singing so many ballads, you still can't deny this is a perfectly implemented track with a beautiful meaning behind it. Best Thing I Never Had is probably the best song on the album, and is also set to be the second single. When a song actually reminds me of a previous relationship it must be doing something right, because music doesn't usually get through to me. Unfortunately I'm the one with the best thing I never had. There is a resemblance to Irreplaceable, which is another of my all time favourite Beyonce songs, so if you liked that I expect you'll like this. The critics have also praised this song, noting that she knows how to dump a man in style.
          I was very excited to hear Party (featuring Andre 3000), and you've also got Kanye West thrown in for good measures. Many will remember Andre as the face of Outkast on their smash hit Hey Ya! (Shake it like a Polaroid picture). Considering everything on 4 up to this point, it's quite refreshing for Beyonce to be talking about partying... but this isn't the smasher I was expecting. Beyonce is not talking about a party with a lot of people, getting krunk, it's more about having a party driving along in your car with the person you love... with this music playing, and then may be pulling over. If I go any further with this I may get thrown off the site. Rather Die Young returns to the main theme of the album, You're like James Dean, you make me feel like I'm 17, you drive too fast, you smoke too much, but that don't mean a thing, cause I'm addicted to the rush... I'd rather die young than live my life without you, I'd rather not live at all than live my life with you It's another top quality ballad.

          There are a fair few tracks on this album that with the opening beat you don't know what to expect at all, Start Over is another of these. Maybe we can start all over, give our love another life Luckily when Beyonce's more upbeat she's singing about female empowerment, because when she's low tempo it seems she's just begging for her man to come back. Considering she seems so happy with Jay Z, I don't know where the inspiration for these tracks comes from, all of which she plays a part in writing and producing. Love On Top is not my favourite song on the album, in fact I'm not crazy about much of this middle section. This tracks production sounds like it belongs in a different generation, but that's one of the quirky qualities we love Beyonce for.
          Countdown is a big song, and that's proved by the amount of writers behind it. I'm sure Beyonce could absolutely rock this song live, perhaps at Glastonbury, and if you blast this track up loud when it comes on you can really get into it. I suppose that may also be given you've sat through so many ballads the first piece of up-tempo you cling to. I will be the one to kiss you at night, I will love you until the End Of Time is the sort of song that seems to be really big this year, experimenting around with a song that should be a ballad, I don't exactly see what Beyonce was talking about when she said this album would create a new genre, but this music does have an audience.

          I want to leave my footprints on the sand of time When I heard that lyric, I immediately thought of the classic ballad, and could I Was Here perhaps be a future legendary ballad. I can see it on the talent shows now, and it would be a fitting third single. Run The World (Girls) closes the album, the lead single from 4. I was a little surprised and disappointed when I heard it for the first time, especially considering all the effort and hype that went into the video. On the first listen the Euro dance beat seems like it doesn't go and the whole thing seems a mess, but it does all blend together in the end. Traditional Beyonce song and I think her team would have expected it to chart better.
          For me, 4 doesn't recreate the hits of her first two albums (and unjustifiably, the third) but it represents growth as an artist and someone who seems very happy with their life at the moment. Almost every song on the album is perfect in its own way, but it just depends what you are looking for. Knowing her love for releasing singles, I would expect to see her about a lot for the rest of the year, and you're going to be hearing some of the songs off this album more than one more time. Beyonce also showed how comfortable she was in her own skin by throwing away all the possible features on this album, and standing tall by herself.

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            25.07.2011 19:57
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            A fantastic album from Beyoncé.

            This album was released in the UK on June 27th 2011 and I've owned it since this date. So far it has peaked at number 1 in around 10 different countries and it's quite simple, from the first listen, to hear why and this is the fourth studio album for Beyoncé Knowles. The standard UK issue of this album contains 12 songs, this is one that I purchased, however, you can also purchase a deluxe edition which contains bonus remixes of 'Run The World' (three of them), and 3 additional songs.

            1. 1+1 - This is the opener to the album, it begins quite simply and Beyoncé's voice is really what carries the music through. She shines through in this song and she is really singing her heart out, she's showing off her very full range of vocal abilities here. The lyrics are a soulful, emotional, heart wrenching tear out singing of being in love and making love. Beyoncé is really singing to her man in this song and it's a fantastic, heartfelt ballad to open the album. There is some great guitar work near the end which brings a little something extra to the song.

            2. I Care - Once again Beyoncé is shining through on this one, it's a ballad from the first line, that much is clear. There is quite a catchy beat running through the veins of this song and it gets my attention each time from the first listen, then once it's unexpected and I'm drawn in the song really comes in to it's own. There is lots of crooning and it's a real female whip your hair back anthem in places. I really enjoy the lyrics of this song and the 'la la la' part really gets me singing on and thoroughly enjoying every single second.

            3. I Miss You - This song is a little bit of a slow burner for me. It's got the lyrics of a good love song going on but it's just one that hasn't appealed to me much and I've listen to this album in the region of 20-25 times now. The song is nice and short so it's one that I normally just leave playing but I'm not really paying much attention. Even after all the times I've listen to it I can't recall many of the lyrics and it's a little bit forgettable for me. It really slows the tone of the album down but then it's quite fighting with the next song that plays.

            4. Best Thing I Never Had - The piano opener instantly gets my attention and in just a few seconds this song feels like it lifts the whole mood of the album. This song builds up in to a real crescendo before the chorus kicks in, it's the kind of song that you can really croon along to and it's a real girl power kind of song. It's got amazing lyrics, there is a little bit of man hating going on but every woman needs that her in her life at some point or another.

            5. Party (Ft André 3000) - This song has a different feel to the others on the album. The addition of a male vocal on this is almost a little out of place on the album. The song on it's own is fairly decent, it's got some lovey kind of lyrics that people will relate to which will probably make it quite popular if it's released. Beyoncé shows off her fantastic voice in this song so there is something that for the real die hard Beyoncé fans. André brings a cool little rap segment to this song that I found quite enjoyable. The song is a decent quality song but feels a little bit out of place when it first begins, particularly if you play this album through from start to finish when you listen to it.

            6. Rather Die Young - This is a love song which is basically singing about rather being dead than having to live without someone. I think the lyrics can be a little bit dramatic, particularly considering the type of target audience that may well want a copy of this CD. I don't mind the song, it's quite good, the lyrics are crooning and Beyoncé is really getting her message across, which becomes a little bit repititive towards the end of the song. I can remember on my first listen of this song feeling like I knew most of the words already and it became a little bit samey towards the end.

            7. Start Over - This song feels a little more upbeat than some of the previous offerings. It's another ballad song but it's one that has a funky, uplifting kind of feel to it. The lyrics and music just happily sweep me along without me being aware of how long the song has been going on for. Beyoncé is on top form in this song and she's really giving it her all. This has a fantastic beat to it that's a little funky in places and yet simple at the same time so it doesn't distract from Beyoncé's wonderful sound.

            8. Love On Top - This is funky from the beginning and immediately draws my attention. This is a song to sway to a little when relaxing at home. Whether it's while doing housework or just while sitting online I think it's fair to say that this song is one of my favourites from the whole album. The lyrics are fantastic, uplifting, fun filled and make me want to song along. This is a love song with a difference, singing about being in love and the lyrics are just fantastically cute, sweet and refreshing. This song really gets me singing along and I love giving it a hairbrush moment and swinging my hair around just a little.

            9. Countdown - This song has quite a fast tempo to it, it's got some fantastic instrumental work going on with a little brass mixed in with some more modern switching & popping kind of sounds. I love the countdown from 10 down in this song, it provides a little something and I can almost imagine what the video for this song would be like with lots of booty shaking and flashing lights. The only part of this song I don't like is the lyric 'Killing Me Softly' just because I think it's quite distinctive to one song and that's what I'll always think of when I hear it.

            10. End Of Time - The second half of the album continues with it's upbeat theme thanks to this song. It's got a beat to it that's wonderfully captivating and rythmatic. It's funky and has a brilliant beat to it, there is a little breakdown kind of bit in the middle where Beyoncé breaks it down and it's refreshing and feels a little bit different to the usual kind of thing. The lyrics are very balladesque without the song being slow and dreary as some ballads can be.

            11. I Was Here - This starts off quite slow and steady, Beyoncé is a little more soft and sultry to begin this song. She is showing that she really doesn't need to screech her heart out to reveal her beautiful voice. The song is almost a little bit chilling in places, particularly when you live to the lyrics. This song feels like it is different to the others, it reminds me a little of a Cheryl Cole kind of beat towards the middle. I almost feel like the album is being wrapped up with this song. It's fitting towards the end of the album as it's a little different and it feels like it would be hard to continue along this same vein of slow, soft, sultry kind of songs.

            12. Who Run The World (Girls) - This song has a little similar vein to Countdown, it's upbeat, trashy yet classy, funky and you can imagine Beyoncé shaking it to this song! This is the kind of song that reminds me of her in her Destinys Child days, fun and playful while trying something a little fresh and new. The lyrics are fantastic and this is definitely a club hit, it's one that's going to appeal to women everywhere and it's a fantastic way to end the album. I love the military style drumming that is going on throughout as it brings the album to a close fantastically and the closing lyrics are just simply 'Who runs the world? Girls.' and that's it, the album is done.

            Overall I would say that this album is a little different to what I have come to know and expect from Beyoncé over the last few years. There are the usual love ballad style songs but there are also some funky, upbeat, uplifting songs. I love the lyrics to the vast majority of these songs and my particular favourites are 'Who Run The World (Girls)' and 'Love On Top'.

            This album, July 2011, is available from Amazon.co.uk with the standard version costing £7.85 and the deluxe edition is available for £9.99 which isn't too unreasonable if you want the additional songs.

            The album is absolutely fantastic, I love it. There are one or two songs that I'm not so keen on but they certainly aren't bad enough to make me want to skip them. I thoroughly enjoy everything about this album, whether it's a ballad, the sound of Beyoncé's voice or some of the more funky and upbeat up tempo songs. The album is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end and it's one that I'm sure I'm going to continue enjoying on an almost daily basis for a good few months yet before resigning it to a Sunday sort of collection. You know the one, where you are having a chilled day but maybe need a little motivation to get up and dance and/or do the housework!

            If you are a fan of Beyoncé, or even if you are not, then why not check this out? The album is one that covers a few different genres, in places, and is one that I firmly enjoyed even if Beyoncé isn't usually the type of artist I would regularly listen to, well, unless you consider crazy in love!

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              20.07.2011 03:10
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              Great stuff

              **Introduction**

              I have been a fan of Beyonce Knowles ever since she became famous as the lead singer in the American girl group Destiny's Child. From then on it was obvious where Beyonce's talents lay. After a huge career in the group she embarked on a solo career which resulted in the solo debut release called Dangerously in Love which include huge hits such as "Crazy in Love" & "Baby Boy". As well as her music career she has also had a number of successful acting roles in such films as Dreamgirls, Austin Powers and a performance as Etta James in the movie "Cadillac Records". After three years in between albums she announced that she was soon to release her fourth album.

              **4**

              Leaving nothing to the imagination about the idea behind the name of the album, Beyonce's new release is simply her fourth solo album. This was perhaps one of her more anticipated albums due to a number of factors. The album was recorded in between 2009 and was finished just early this year. With a string of Summer festival performances wetting the appetite especially at Glastonbury where she was a revelation the stage was set for Beyonce to release solo album number four. As you would expect there are some well known producers on the album from Ryan Tedder, The-Dream, Babyface and of course Beyonce Knowles herself. There have been a total of two singles to date, "Run the World (Girls)" and just released "Best Thing I Never Had".

              1.) 1+1

              Written and Produced by Beyonce, The-Dream and Tricky Stewart

              This is a phenomenally good ballad about what your partner means to you and how you can get through almost anything with them. This is one of the best received tracks from the album and when you see her perform the track live then it's not hard to understand why. Beyonce's voice really shines on this track and the music really adds a nice touch alongside the vocals and the meaning in the lyrics is really the key to the effect of the song. It's one of the best songs she has done and is one of my favourite songs of 2011 so far. An absolutely superb ballad. She was just sensational when she performed this song at Glastonbury.

              2.) I care

              Written by Jeff Bhasker, Chad Hugo, & Recorded by Bhasker, Knowles*

              This is another fantastic ballad, It's about when a relationship hits a rough patch and you feel as though you're the only one who wants to save the relationship. I love the musical backing which consists of gentle keyboard tones and some excellent drumming which goes right across your speakers. This is an excellent ballad which really showcases Beyonce's amazing vocal talent. An excellent song all round. Superb stuff which is complimented by a fantastic guitar solo which Beyonce's sings along too.

              3.) I Miss You

              Written by Frank Ocean, Shea Taylor, Knowles & Produced by Knowles and Taylor.

              This is an excellent ballad which opens with a catchy drum loop with Beyonce's vocals sounding deeper in tone than usual, I love the way the song develops and as the lyrics get more emotive the music develops into a fuller sound. Musically it has a feel quite reminiscent of Usher last couple of albums. This is one of the best tracks on the album and showcases the power and grace of Beyonce's voice. The production is excellent and it's an excellent all round track.

              4.) Best thing I never Had

              Written by Kenny Edmonds, Antonio Dixon, Knowles, Patrick Smith, S. Taylor, Larry Griffin, Jr., Caleb McCampbell.

              This is a wonderful tirade to someone who was wrong for you and I'm sure people will relate to this song when you may have been interested in someone but find out then turn out to be not that great for you at all. Beyonce has shown she's well capable of these kind of songs with a couple of similar style tracks on her previous album "I Am, Sasha Fierce".

              5.) Party

              Written by Kanye West, Bhasker, Knowles, André 3000, Dexter Mills, Douglas Davis, Ricky Walters

              This is an excellent mid tempo track which has a late 80s early 90s feel with some catchy hooks and beats. Beyonce's multi layered vocals really add a decent feel to the track and the addition of Andre 3000 of Outkast adds a nice touch with his fluid delivery. This is one of the best up tempo tracks on the album and showcases the range of Beyonce's music. I'm sure this one would get people up on the dancefloor in the club. It has a good vibe. It samples "La Di Da Di" as performed by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew featuring MC Ricky D.

              6.) Rather Die Young

              Written and Produced by Bhasker, Luke Steele, Knowles

              This track opens slowly then builds into a nice mid tempo track about the life without someone you really love. I love the way the song develops and it has a great message about what someone you love can mean to you. Beyonce's vocals build throughout until a phenomenal vocal part which shows the power, grace and beauty in her vocals. I love the way she takes from the past and makes a new sound which is undoubtedly her own. Superb track.

              7.) Start Over

              Written by S. Taylor, Knowles, Ester Dean & Produced by Knowles, S. Taylor

              This is another excellent ballad, It features thumping drums, some excellent keys and guitars and Beyonce's soaring vocals. The subject of the track is about starting over in a relationship and putting things in the past. Another track with an excellent message of Love and performed extremely well. Beyonce's vocals really are sensational on this track too.

              8.) Love On Top

              Written by Knowles, Nash, S. Taylor & Produced by Knowles, S. Taylor

              This is an excellent mid tempo track which has a feel quite reminiscent to early Michael Jackson, Beyonce's vocals soar like a young Jackson and the catchy melodies and hooks are also early Jackson. This is an excellent track which just makes you want to toe tap to the melodies and the beats. One of the best up tempo tracks on the album. Excellent stuff.

              9.) Countdown

              Written by Nash, S. Taylor, Knowles, Dean, Cainon Lamb, Julie Frost,
              Sample written by Michael Bivins, Nathan and Wanya Morris.

              This is a really interesting track, It opens with a fabulously catchy melody then the sample of Boyz II Men's fantastic "Uuh Ahh" comes in with the thump of the drum beats. This is a real stomper of a track and really showcases Beyonce's rhythmic vocals. I love the way it goes into the sample every chorus, Beyonce is known to be a big fan and it's a great sample to use on this type of track, Excellent stuff. Two of my favourite artists on the same track!!.

              10.) End of Time

              Written by Knowles, Nash, S. Taylor, David Taylor & Recorded by Knowles, The-Dream, Switch, Diplo.

              This is a real stomper of a track, It reminds me a little of her Bday album with the track Deja Vu in the way that was also a stomper of a track. The drums and horns really add the big feel of this track and this is another track which would undoubtedly be a hit on a club dancefloor. It again showcases Beyonce's range as a vocalist and artist. It also has a similar feel to the up tempo Destiny's Child tracks.

              11.) I was here

              Written by Diane Warren & Produced by Ryan Tedder, Brent Kutzle, Knowles, Kuk Harrell.

              This is a lovely ballad written solely by Diane Warren, it's the only track on the album to be written solo. Warren has a huge reputation for writing amazing ballads and this is another great track. Warren laid the foundation for Beyonce and she took up the opportunity and recorded an excellent ballad. It's a lovely track which showcases the incredible vocal talent Beyonce possesses. The track opens gently and the vocal builds and becomes more emotive and strong. An excellent track with some excellent production.

              12.) Run the World (Girls)

              This track is the final track on the album and is a real stomper, I love the way the Music sounds and feels but I am not keen on the lyrics and feel it gets bogged down a little with the chorus. The track samples "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer which was released in 2009. This could have been a superb stomper but the lyrics don't really get me, It could have been a great empowering track but falls short. It's my least favourite on the album but I still love that beat!!.

              **Overall**

              This is a fabulous fourth album from Beyonce, she has produced an album with some great ballads that further enhance her reputation as an amazing vocalist and she has shown that that's not the only thing she can do with some excellent and worthy changes in her style. This for me is one of the albums of 2011 and is up there with the best work of her career, There are some sensational tracks on the album and only one which is a slight letdown. That doesn't dampen my view of the album as a whole though as this gets my full five stars as It's a superb piece of work which should further enhance Beyonce's legacy as one of the greatest female performers in the World. As there were a remarkable 72 songs recorded during the recording process I hope we hear a great many more in the future. She has released many of her extra tracks on previous albums so I hope it continues. A great album.

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              • More +
                29.06.2011 19:14
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                A new chapter in Beyonce's career!

                Woo hooo!! Guess what guys? Beyonce is back with a brand new album and I am so excited, especially after the brilliant album (I Am...Sasha Fierce!) she gave us last time.

                4 is the latest album from Beyonce and it was released in June 2011 and so is very recent. The album is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of just £7.93 which I think is excellent value for money especially as the album is only a few days old!

                ~ * Tracklist *~

                1) 1 + 1 2) I Care 3) I Miss You 4) Best Thing I Never Had 5) Party 6) Rather Die Young 7) Start Over 8) Love On Top 9) Countdown 10) End Of Time 11) I Was Here 12) Run The World (Girls)

                First of all, let's get one thing straight. A few years ago, I never got the whole craze about Beyonce. I didn't understand why people were obsessed with her and considered her to be their idol. Although, a couple of years ago, when she realease 'If I Were A Boy', 'Halo' and 'Broken Hearted' (and I bought her album 'I Am ...Sasha Fierce'), that is when I realised how brilliant Beyonce really is, and ever since then I would consider her to be a huge inspiration.

                ~ * So What Did I Think Of This Album ? * ~

                There is a fantastic collection of songs on this album. Each song brings something totally individual to the album. There are some happy songs as well as sad ones as well as 'go girl' kind of songs.

                I really can't pick a favourite as to me they are all brilliant. However, I do feel that I should give some certain songs a mention.Such songs which stand out the most for me are:

                Best Thing I Never Had - A beautiful ballad and she sounds amazing!

                Run The World - Whilst it's not my favourite (even though I said I had no favourites!) track on the album, I love the whole 'girl power' thing about this song - it gives you confidence and makes you feel great!

                I Care - A very, very emotional song! A great song though!

                Beyonce has an incredible way of putting the message of the song through to the listener. I believe every single word that she sings. She doesn't just sing - she tells you the whole story and so I think that this adds to the whole listening experience. Not only does she sound good, but she makes what she's singing interesting too. A great example of this is the song 'I Miss You' - give it a listen and feel the emotion.

                Listening to her voice: she is brilliant! It wasn't until her last album that I actually had a good listen to her voice and realised how amazing she is! She has a beautiful voice; which you could listen to all day long (not like Leona or Rihanna...whose voices start to get on my nerves after while). Beyonce's voice is clear and natural. She has a brilliant vocal range and ability and nothing is too strenuous for her. Vocally I give this album 10/10!

                I also like the fact that this album is very personal to Beyonce; a more obvious example of this is the title of the album which is a simple '4'. Who would have thought that one tiny number would have such a great meaning; well Beyonce's birthday is on the 4th (of September) and she got married to Jay-Z on the 4th (of April I think!).

                Beyonce is almost thirty now and so she is getting on a bit (in popstar land!); she has been doing this fantastic entertaining for over thirteen years now, and so whilst she is still really sucessful. there is going to become a day when she decideds to give up the job. What made me think this was the song 'I Was Here'; in the song, which is a duet with Dionne Warwick, she talks about 'ending her career as an entertainer', which I thought was quite sad.

                Talking of lyrics, there are some really thought-provoking lyrics on this album.

                Such lyrics include:

                I Was Here - "I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time /Know there was something that and something that I left behind / 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..."
                I Miss You - "I miss you like everyday / Wanna be with you but you're away
                I said I miss you missing you insane"
                Run The World - "Who run the world? Girls! ( x4 ) / Who run this motha? Girls! (x4) Who run the world? Girls! ( x4 )
                So as you can see from the impressive lyrics above, the lyrics are certainly ones which get you thinking!

                There is an element of 'girl power' on this album; although having said that it is not just on this album, Beyonce as a whole seems to represent girl power which I think is amazing. I like that her songs are very 'independent' and encourage women to be strong and individual. When listening to Beyonce's songs, I feel confident and proud, as though I can achieve anything, and so therefore I would recommend this album as a great 'pick me up'.

                I do really like this album, although 'I Am...Sasha Fierce' still remains my favourite album - I don't think nothing can beat that album. I'm not saying that this album is bad, because it is not. In fact, it is very good, just not as good as her previous album!

                I would definetely recommend this album, and I did find this album interesting in terms of seeing what Beyonce would do after her last album.

                Thanks for reading!
                June 2011
                xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)

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                • More +
                  24.06.2011 16:59
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                  A risky move, will it sink or swim?

                  "I wanted to do something refreshing and different. So I mixed genres and drew inspiration from touring, traveling, watching rock bands, and attending festivals... I was like a mad scientist, putting lots of different songs together." - Beyonce


                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  Who and what
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                  As the title of the album suggests, this is the fourth solo album* from the lead singer of now defunct girl-group Destiny's Child.


                  The album title is not just meant to signify that this is the fourth solo release, but it also meant to represent the day of her birth [4th September 1981] and the fact that she married her husband [Jay-Z] on the 4th of the month [4th April 2008]. The title was chosen as it is meant to be a "personal gift to her fans", as apparently her fans "have been taking to various social media pages urging her to name the album after her 'special number' for over a year" now.

                  The album was recorded over a year between the spring of 2010 and the spring of 2011, while Beyonce took a break from the spotlight. She spent her personal time listening to every kind of music she truly enjoys and promised that her "mixed musical gumbo will be displayed on the upcoming album".


                  *Dangerously In Love - In all honestly I found this album overrated. It had two solid singles, a few above average ones and then it sounds like unused Destiny's Child tracks were used to pad it out.

                  B'Day - This is my favourite out of Beyonce's albums as it offers plenty of variety both lyrically and musically.

                  I Am... Sasha Fierce - Its uses a interesting concept and it is the best of her albums for displaying her song writing abilities and ever-growing vocals.


                  - - - - - - - - - -
                  The album
                  - - - - - - - - - -

                  "'The album is definitely an evolution. It's bolder than the music in my previous albums because I'm bolder. The more mature I become and the more life experiences I have, the more I have to talk about. I really focused on songs being classics, songs that would last, songs that I could sing when I'm 40 and when I'm 60." - Beyonce


                  I might as well warn you now; your enjoyment of 4 will depend on how you rate Beyonce's ballads; The mix of musical influences is subtle and most of the tracks are dedicated to Beyonce's relationship with her husband. Beyonce's named influences for 4 include Fela Kuti [she even worked with the band from the Broadway musical, Fela! on 4], Earth, Wind & Fire, DeBarge, Lionel Richie, Teena Marie with additional influences by The Jackson 5, New Edition, Adele, Florence and the Machine, and Prince.


                  Beyonce has co-written every song on 4 [including the deluxe version], except for I Was Here, which was written by Diane Warren.

                  Additional song-writers include The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Corey Jackson Carter, Frank Ocean, Babyface, J. Que, Kanye West, The-Dream, Adidja Palmer, Diplo, David Taylor and Afrojack.


                  Daddy Knowles has fallen from grace [he has a love child with someone other then his wife of thirty years] so Beyonce is now going the distance alone and is herself the executive producer for 4, and individual track producers include Babyface, Consequence, Diane Warren, Kanye West, Ryan Tedder, Switch, Shea Taylor, Symbolyc One and The-Dream.


                  Beyonce's sultry styling and pose on the regular album cover (see above picture) reminds me of Raquel Welch, surely intentional. The deluxe edition's cover shot is different; Beyonce in a sleeveless blue and black panelled top with her eyes closed and a wind machine blowing her hair. The deluxe cover is pretty, but I prefer the smouldering cover of the regular edition.

                  The twenty page booklet contains many portraits of Beyonce by Ellen Von Unwerth, Greg Gex and Tony Duran; the styling and backdrops seem very 70s to me. The images are stunning, but I can't help remembering the Destiny's Child song Nasty Girl; it was all about advising girls to put some clothes on and not to dress 'sulty'. But who am I kidding? If I had her looks and body, I wouldn't bother with clothes.

                  [I have the deluxe edition of 4. I don't know if the regular album version has quite so many images in the album booklet]


                  - - - - - - - -
                  Tracklist
                  - - - - - - - -

                  "I'm not putting myself in a box. It's not R&B, it's not typically pop, it's not rock - it's just everything I love mixed together" - Beyonce


                  * 1+1 *

                  [Beyonce's favourite track and U.S. promotional single]

                  Beyonce expresses her endless love to Jay-Z, delivers sweeping statements about the power of their relationship and, umm, that's it. I don't think that it's a bad track, it's just a safe, well used formula. Beyonce's vocals are amazing on this though, so it is a nice album opener.

                  I like how the strings and Beyonce's emotive vocals combine together for a passionate delivery, but the most generous about this track I am after a month of repeated listening is to call it 'a grower'. Various reviewers have likened 1 + 1 to Halo, but this doesn't compare to Halo as far as I'm concerned.


                  * I Care *

                  This is one of my favourite tracks.

                  Beyonce is saying how she's in a dead-end relationship with someone and how she's trying to work on it, but her partner has clearly stopped caring for her, which is hurting her. She's saying that she still cares for him and can't walk away, despite the writing on the wall. What makes Beyonce's slower songs so powerful is that she can pack the required emotions into her voice.

                  I'm not too sure how to describe the music to songs; so simply put this is a slower track, with soft percussion's. It reminds me of when my parents listened to their Dina Carroll albums when I was young. Most of the album tracks use a similar, vintage soul feel to the music.


                  * I Miss You *

                  Another of my favourites.

                  This is simple but effective; Beyonce is admitting to missing someone, even though it means that she has to swallow her pride to let them know. Beyonce's emotive vocals carry on the heavy, somber tones nicely from the previous track.

                  I don't want to needlessly repeat myself, but, once again this is a slower track, with soft percussion's. Normally I think songs that sound similar shouldn't be placed next to each other, but I Care and I Miss You seem to be a continuing story and they flow nicely together.


                  * Best Thing I Never Had *

                  This is quite a simple track - although the lyrical content is strong. Beyonce tells us that she feels happy to have left someone who did not realise what a good thing he'd had until it was way too late and she had gone.

                  The mid-tempo pop/R&B ballad music is very radio friendly and I can hear echos of Irreplaceable and If I Were a Boy in the musical style. I think that the piano used in the intro and outro lift the song up a level.


                  * Party (featuring Andre 3000) *

                  [Samples the Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick song La Di Da Di]

                  Both the intro and outro to Party are performed by Kanye West, but his parts don't really add anything to the song; does anyone here know what he means by swagu? Beyonce's verses alone are OK, but nothing special. She's basically telling someone that tonight is THE night, wink wink. It's Andre's rap that gives this song it's life - it doesn't really feel like it's going anywhere, until we get to his verse.

                  We stick with the mid-tempo R&B music for this and, one again, the result is very radio friendly - much more so then the slower tracks [even though the slower songs have stronger lyrics]. This is bound to be on the record label's possible single list.


                  If you're thinking about playing this album for a younger child, I'll point out that Andre does repeatedly use the word f**k throughout his rap. He also uses n****r and there is a line that includes the gem "I make the milk 'til it drips down your knees"...


                  * Rather Die Young *

                  We're back to Beyonce gushing over how much Jay-z means to her. There's much to say here; she'd give up everything for him and she'd also rather die young then go on without him if he were no longer around.

                  The low tempo R&B screams 70's soul to me. This vintage feel does fit fantastically well with Beyonce's raw vocals, making an otherwise average song some spark and raising it up an level. It's middle of the road for me overall: it's above average, but it still doesn't stand out.


                  * Start Over *

                  This is my favourite song on the album.

                  Her relationship is stalling, but she's saying that whilst she's not ready to walk away, she doesn't want to settle for the way things have gone somewhat flat. She instead wants to rebuild things from the base up.

                  We're back to slow soul, with soft percussion's now. Almost all of my favourite tracks have the same musical influence to them - must be the childhood memories they bring to mind influencing me.


                  * Love On Top *

                  Jay-Z makes Beyonce's sunrise, the birds song... Seriously; whilst real love isn't perfect, it's more then worth it seems to be the message on this track. Nothing else to say, but that doesn't mean that isn't a good song, as it is.

                  This would fit perfectly with Dream Girls; I can envision a soul group having a lot of fun with it. The beat picks up and the saxophone in it adds a dollop of attitude to the mix.


                  * Countdown *

                  [Samples the Boyz II Men song Uhh Ahh]

                  The lyrics take little part of other album tracks. The overall message is similar to Love On Top; love is worth riding the waves so to speak. A line in the chorus includes "killing me softly", a shout-out to The Fugees or a coincidence? Beyonce is vocally more upbeat here then she is on the other album tracks.

                  The mid-tone R&B has strong reggae beats to it, which livens it up and makes it both cheerful and memorable. It seems quite summery, so could make for a nice single.


                  * End Of Time *

                  Another standout track.

                  Beyonce's vocals portray more confidence through to the vocals; she knows that she can give someone everything they could ever need, and it can be all theirs if they admit to wanting and needing it.

                  The music fuses hip hop and classic dancehall styles together and has a strong military march like drum beat running throughout it. It is similar to 'Single Ladies' in that it's nearly impossible to sit still when it's playing; it begs you to get up and dance. The synths in the opening seem to build up into a voice chanting "don't f**k with me", but maybe that's just my dirty ears.

                  It's very single worthy, though the fact that it's similar to Run The World means that it probably won't be at the top of the list.


                  * I Was Here *

                  This one of two tracks that doesn't lyrically fit in with the other album tracks themes of relationships and love. Beyonce is telling use that shes achieved all that she's set out out to do and she has left her mark on the world. It sounds very final to me.

                  Whilst this tracks is a lyrical mismatch on 4, the music ensures that it does still flow with the
                  album neatly - it fuses low tempo, ballady R&b with soul, which makes the song even more somber then it was already.


                  * Run The World (Girls) *

                  [Samples the Major Lazer song Pon de Floor]

                  A assertive female empowerment song, that travels along the same vein as Independent Women, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), and Diva. I do like it, but the lyrical content and aggressive vocal delivery does not fit on the album, so it doesn't flow with the other tracks and sticks out of place. No wonder it's the final track on the regular edition of the album.

                  The music is very similar to End Of Time; again fusing hip hop and classic dancehall styles together and again using a military drum beat, which perfectly matches the aggressive vocal delivery. It is also another get-up-and-boogie track. I don't think that it was a good choice for a single, as it doesn't give a taster of the album's material.


                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  Worth buying?
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                  Ever since I read that Beyonce admitted that she'd handed in 72 songs to her label in preparation for the album's release and that the label bosses call 4 a "mixed musical gumbo" I'd been expecting a sequel of sorts to the B'Day album: I'd assumed that the individual tracks would be a diverse mix of genres, seemingly random in the topics selected like her second solo album had been. Plus both of the album titles are celebrations of her birthday - I took it as a sign.

                  When I first heard the tracks [they leaked online a month before the album's official release] I was very disappointed; there isn't a nice variety in the musical styles at all, there are a few upbeat R&B mid tempo tracks on here, but most of the tracks are retro soulful ballads. Many fans of Beyonce love her ballads, but I was never a huge fan of them - after a while they all start to sound the same as she's been with Jay-Z for almost a decade now and whilst it is great that they've lasted and are still deeply in love, there are only so many ways which she can tell tell us that. Isn't there?

                  Well 4 will either convert you into a fan of her ballads with it's superior lyrical content, or it will send you to sleep. It was quite risky for someone who is known for her jelly shaking pop/dance numbers and is a love it or hate it album. To fully appreciate 4 you need to listen to the lyrics - this album's biggest strength is in the song writing, as there are no pop/dance numbers on here. I think that the lack of lighter, fun get-up-and-boogie tracks may result in lower then average sales, will be a crying shame as Beyonce's emotive vocals and ever-growing song writing skills are displayed to their best advantage on 4.


                  Overall: I think that the lyrical content of 4 passes the material passes the level of that on her I Am... Sasha Fierce album. But B'day still nudges ahead for me as my favourite album from her, simply because there is more variation in musical styles.

                  This is also a solid album for those who are fans of the soundtracks for Dream Girls, Cadillac Records and The Fighting Temptations, and/or the Destiny's Child original line-up.


                  I highly recommend that you buy the deluxe version [see below], as that is the best value for money and offers more in the way of variety for both lyrical content and music style. I seriously don't know why Beyonce bothers releasing regular and deluxe editions; fans of her music are clearly going to pick the deluxe edition as it has more to offer considering that the track listing for the regular edition is on the thin side. The price for the bigger and better deluxe edition is literally only a few pounds extra, so it's not like casual fans will be making a big saving by buying the bare bones version. Surely just having different cover art isn't enough incentive to own two albums that contain the same regular tracks?


                  Having said that and having bought the deluxe edition now, I'm almost certain that she'll release a new 'special' or 'platinum' album edition with more commercial tracks on offer in the not-to-distant future, as she has done with her last two albums.


                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  Track Listing for additional versions
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                  The deluxe edition of 4 contains a bonus disc which has three exclusive new songs and three remixes;

                  * Lay Up Under Me *

                  Sort of similar to her lines in Party, this is about, erm, happy time and how someone is going to get some tonight.

                  This follows Love On Top musically; mid-tone R&B/soul, which, one again, features a saxophone. It's fun and happy, a bit of a break from the more somber tracks. It's another middle of the road track for me, above average, but it still doesn't stand out.


                  * Schoolin Life *

                  My favourite from the bonus disc.

                  This as commercial as 4 gets. Beyonce announces that she is a freak and is "great at writing physical love letters", and, erm other stuff. I'm just going to go ahead and assume this is another sex song. Very Prince.

                  Musically it follows Run The World; fusing classic dancehall and hip-hop together. It does have more of a vintage 80s feel to it than Run The World and should have been a regular album track, as it would have made a solid single.


                  * Dance For You *

                  Well, the title says it all really. It's going down tonight, so don't be telling anybody. I wonder why Jay-Z never smiles? Beyonce at her most sultry, another track which should have made the regular album edition.

                  This is another mid-tone R&B track. For some reason it reminds me of Madonna's Like A Prayer, it must be the subtle organ-sounding synths that build up throughout the song.


                  * Run The World (Girls) Kaskade Club Remix *
                  * Run The World (Girls) Redtop Club Remix *
                  * Run The World (Girls) Jochen Simms Club Remix *

                  The first remix is the shortest, coming in at just over five minutes. The final two remixes are just over six minutes long.

                  There's not much to say for these really; the strong dance overtones just don't suit the song and I've listened to them once and don't see myself replaying them again in the near future.


                  ** The bonus disc contains an exclusive edit of the music video for Run the World (Girls), but Norton anti-virus won't let me play it **


                  Japanese bonus track;

                  Dreaming

                  I've not heard this track yet, but I'm sure someone will post it up on YouTube over the coming days.


                  - - - - - - - - - - - -

                  4 is released on Monday, but I pre-ordered on Amazon using free shipping. When you use free shipping on CDs that are posted by Indigo Starfish via Amazon they'll sometimes post pre-orders a little early, so you get the things the same day as people who use first class.

                  In this case my postal service was on the ball, hence me getting the album early.

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                • Product Details

                  Disc #1 Tracklisting
                  1 1+1
                  2 I Care
                  3 I Miss You
                  4 Best Thing I Never Had
                  5 Party (ft Andre 3000)
                  6 Rather Die Young
                  7 Start Over
                  8 Love On Top
                  9 Countdown
                  10 End of Time
                  11 I Was Here
                  12 Run The World (Girls)