Though the tracks have been leaked online for weeks, today marks the official release date for Beyonce’s ‘4.’ Fans have anticipated the new album for quite some time, so it’s an exciting day for them for sure. But when it comes to reviews of the new album, it’s a mixed bag.
Virtually every major outlet from Billboard to CNN has covered Beyonce’s new release. Apicture of her performing ‘1+1’ leads the front page cover of the Arts section in today’s New York Times. And while no one doubts her influence, the reviewers all had very different thoughts on Beyonce’s ‘4.’
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote:
As modern as Beyoncé has allowed herself to be over the years, from tech-savvy club R&B with Destiny’s Child to the insistent pancultural stomp of “Run the World (Girls),” on this new album, she 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, though it’s executed in perplexing fashion. It has far more in common with soul albums of the late 1970s and early ’80s — the poppier side of Jennifer Holliday, say — than anything by her so-called peers; it’s a position statement in the age of Rihanna. What’s clear now is that the Beyoncé of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” of “Get Me Bodied,” of “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy” — that persona — was a homework assignment, a concession to the world around her by an artist with an astute ear and a gift for mimicry.
Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly wrote:
“…why does it feel likeBeyoncé is struggling so hard to prove herself on “4?” The album is an every-song-for-itself welter of conflicting ambitions: It wants to be cutting-edge but familiar, accessible but artistic, hot-blooded but strictly impersonal….Vocally, she’s never sounded better — throaty and precise — but the songs here just aren’t her equal. “It’s exactly the kind of genre-busting risk that few other current pop stars would even attempt, let alone pull off flawlessly with a no-big-thing shrug. With more moments like that, “4” might have been an album fully worthy of her talent. As it is, though, even star students get the occasional B.”
Steve Jones of USA Today writes:
“Compared with Beyoncé’s three previous albums, which arrived on a wave of hit singles, the release of 4 seems relatively quiet. Neither lead single Run the World (Girls) nor Best Thing I Never Had has caught fire on the charts,” adds Jones. But after Fierce’s duality, Beyoncé does not seem to need to make a cutting-edge statement. This time, she’s content to stay in her comfort zone.”