What’s the definition of “four?” The product of “three” plus “one.” Four seems like such a simplistic and seemingly lazy name for an album title, so when I first saw that 4 was the title of BeyonceΓÇÖs latest, I rolled my eyes.
Then I heard the first single off the album, “Run the World (Girls),” and I liked itΓÇª a little. IΓÇÖm all for some Girl Power. But I was so used to the ΓÇ£Queen BΓÇ¥ belting out soulful songs that make you wanna put a manΓÇÖs belongings to ΓÇ£the leftΓÇ¥ and ΓÇ£ring alarmsΓÇ¥ while feeling ΓÇ£crazy in loveΓÇ¥ as you ask him “why don’t you love me?” This was unfamiliar territory. I, like most of BeyonceΓÇÖs fan base, rely on her music to take us to a place where itΓÇÖs okay to sing (badly) at the top of our lungs and sweat out our frustration, or proclaim our undying love for the men in our lives.┬á IΓÇÖll be honest, in this case, I definitely judged an album by its cover and first-released single. So as I placed 4 back into my CD player, I grabbed a glass of Moscato and said a “Hail MaryΓÇª”
Ten plays of the album later, I was sweating and screaming at the top of my lungs; crying, dancing and professing my undying love to my future husband — all at once. Beyonce’s 4 is a beautiful masterpiece. In true Beyonce fashion, in one minute sheΓÇÖs singing about being hurt and scorned, and then two songs later sheΓÇÖs crooning about being down forever with her man. This time around, BeyonceΓÇÖs vocals are prominent and stripped down. There arenΓÇÖt many bells and whistles: no autotune or big orchestra bands in the studio while she recorded. It seems that drums, snares and a basic keyboard are her only accompaniment.
The theme of the album is mid-tempo and pays homage to the ’80s and ’90s R&B era, when you actually had to be musically inclined in order to record good music.┬á Track five, ΓÇ£Party,ΓÇ¥ exemplifies that perfectly. Beyonce’s songs on this album are comparable to her younger sister Solange’s music. The emotion is raw and real. On track number two, entitled “I Care,” Beyonce’s voice cracks, and she sounds like she is about to break down in tears. You canΓÇÖt fake that kind of emotion and passion in music. I feel like B captured the experiences in the average relationship between man and woman, and it manifested itself┬á into 4.
The title has a deeper meaning than just being Beyonce’s fourth album. The singer has revealed that her birthday, her husband Jay ZΓÇÖs birthday, her motherΓÇÖs birthday and a slew of other important individuals birthdays fall on the fourth day of various months. Beyonce’s wedding was also on the fourth.
The numeral four in astrology represents things that are earthy and solid. Beyonce’s 4 is uncut and definitely has an earthy tone. The albumΓÇÖs makeup is solid: You know and understand the situations B sings about, and it’s in a way that youΓÇÖll feel like youΓÇÖre having a life-changing conversation with your best friend. You might even find yourself saying out loud, ΓÇ£I knew I wasnΓÇÖt alone in this!”
I recommend adding 4 to your music collection. Just be sure that when you buy the album, you purchase a box of Kleenex, too.
photo credit: Sony