Release Date: June 24, 2011
Label: Parkwood, Columbia
Genre: R&B, pop, soul
Length: 46:33
Click the link to watch The Music Video

  1. “1+1”
  2. “I Care”
  3. “I Miss You”
  4. “Best Thing I Never Had”
  5. “Party” (featuring André 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)”

Promotional Photo’s

Producers
Antonio Dixon, Babyface, Brent Kutzle, Beyoncé Knowles (exec.), Caleb, Jeff Bhasker, Julian Napolitano, Jens Bergmark, Kuk Harrell, Kanye West, Kaskade, Luke Steele, Los Da Mystro, Ryan Tedder, Shea Taylor, Switch, Symbolyc One, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart

Singles
1. “Run the World (Girls)”
Released: April 21, 2011
2. “Best Thing I Never Had”
Released: June 1, 2011
3. “Countdown”
Released: October 4, 2011
4. “Love on Top”
Released: December 7, 2011
5. “End of Time”
Released: April 22, 2012

Critical Response
4 received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 36 reviews, which indicates “generally favorable reviews”. Slant Magazine’s Eric Henderson described the album as “predominately intimate, ballad-heavy” and “dominated by mid- to no-tempo tracks, which, vocally speaking, gives her enough rope to hang either her doubters or herself”. Los Angeles Times writer Randall Roberts called 4 “a surprising, confident turn, even if the surprises are of a subtler variety.”[185] James Reed of The Boston Globe called the album “low-key and effortless” and commended its production as “tasteful, sometimes even a bit tense.” Nitsuh Abebe of New York complimented Knowles’ “newly settled mood” and “charming” ballads, adding that “She does a wonderfully convincing job of making [vulnerability] seem like a form of bravery.” Consequence of Sound writer Chris Coplan dubbed it “pure pop excellence” and stated, “the truly dazzling aspect of the record is what it does with minimal production and simplistic lyrics.” Rolling Stone writer Jody Rosen commended Knowles for “leav[ing] fashionable production styles behind” and called the album “eccentric […] unmistakably personal and quirky.” Michael Cragg of The Observer complimented “the laid-back feel of her most accomplished album yet.” The A.V. Club’s Genevieve Koski stated, “Beyoncé’s artistic maturation on 4 features some growing pains, but the album’s polish and her poise go a long way toward masking those flaws.”

BBC Online’s Matthew Horton praised its “powerhouse balladry” and wrote that “Beyoncé slips from flirty to fragile to fabulous, and is in terrific voice throughout.” Jon Caramanica of The New York Times stated, “[Knowles] has always been a torch singer in waiting, anticipating the day when she could just get down to business. On that count, “4” is impressive. […] Beyoncé delivers heartbreak with purpose: to remind us just how overwhelming love can be.” Despite panning “Run the World (Girls)” as its “worst song”, Mikael Wood of Spin called it an “often-gorgeous collection of ballads and mid-tempo cuts rich with echoes of late-’70s/early-’80s pop-soul.” Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice called its uptemo songs “passé in the best way possible” and stated, “Beyoncé’s art is delivery, and 4 is a gorgeous frame for her voice at its absolute best.” Pitchfork Media’s Ryan Dombal complimented its “carefree retro sensibility” and stated, “the lion’s share of the album […] has one of the world’s biggest stars exploring her talent in ways few could’ve predicted, which is always exciting.” Embling of Tiny Mix Tapes called it “one of the most consistent and enjoyable mainstream pop records in years” and stated, “4 is an unqualified success in the Hawksian sense: There are at least three great songs and no bad ones.” Allmusic editor Andy Kellman stated, “the strength of most of the material, propelled by Beyoncé’s characteristically acrobatic vocal skills, eases the trouble of sifting through the disjointed assortment” and concluded that, “No one but one of the most talented and accomplished singers […] could have made this album.”[184] Gary Graff of Billboard gave a positive review for the album, writing, “Less flashy but just as ambitious as 2008’s ‘I Am… Sasha Fierce,’ the new set finds Beyoncé in genre-blending, career statement mode”.Graff also noted that “the album is quieter and torchier than its predecessors, with the singer delivering uniformly stellar vocal performances.”

Despite calling its up-tempo songs “genre-busting”, Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly found its first-half “lumbering […] a sleepy recital of ballads” and stated, “Vocally, she’s never sounded better — throaty and precise — but the songs here just aren’t her equal.” Alexis Petridis of The Guardian stated, “The highpoints offer hints of what it might have been: it’s hard not to feel that what it might have been sounds better than what it is.” David Amidon of PopMatters found much of its material “beneath a woman as talented as she is,” but viewed the album as an improvement over I Am… Sasha Fierce and complimented its “silly ‘80s musical references” and “strong vocal turns.” Kevin Ritchie of NOW wrote that “On 4, she’s still missing a real sense of vulnerability but steps out from behind the club jams with beautifully nuanced mid-tempo production.” Claire Suddath of Time criticized its lyrical substance, writing that it offers “well-executed songs performed by a talented woman who refuses to scratch anything more than the surface.” Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot noted an “inexplicable inconsistency” and stated, “the album feels skimpy, half-finished.” Similarly, Andy Gill of The Independent called its songs “dollops of […] tremulous, over-emoted melisma” and criticized their “half-hearted, puttering beats and woozy, wishy-washy synth washes.” Hamish MacBain of NME noted “boring ballads” and stated, “there’s the unmistakable sense of someone treading water, with even the OK bits here sounding uninspired.” Simon Goddard of Q gave the album three out of five stars and wrote that Knowles “plays it safe”

The Beyonce World » 4