Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pay it 4Ward

Of course my first post back on the blog scene would be about Beyoncé. The pop superstar was recently awarded an Artist of the Millennium honor by Billboard and is set to release a new album in two weeks. The album caught many by surprise with it's ballad heavy nature. Many fans and critics have griped that they want the fun Beyoncé back. Though risky, I think 4 is the best career move she has made in a while.

Run the World (Girls) was the first track lifted from her fourth studio album. Brazen and laden with drums, the female empowerment anthem was along the lines of Independent Women and Single Ladies in terms of content. However, the chanting hook, or lack of a hook, was a stark contrast to those tracks. Sampling a track by indie act Major Lazer, Beyoncé went left field. Animalistic in nature, the track was hardly the glossy pop hit that the Crazy in Love star usually serves up. As risky as the hit was, it was not representative of what the album sounds like. 4 is an album of an adult woman who has nothing to prove. There isn't really a chart topper in sight. But what we have is a collection of timeless songs. From the soul wrenching 1+1 to the exuberant early Whitney-esque Love On Top, Mrs. Knowles-Carter aimed to take us back to a place when singing was real. This sets her apart from the big pop albums of this year. Synth heavy albums from Britney, Gaga, and Katy Perry are not close to the album Beyoncé has crafted. Free of autotune, she is looking to show her artistry.

Time will only tell how this pans out. We asked Beyoncé to grow up and to make real music with real messages and heart. She has done so. With her singles failing to pick up steam on the charts despite glowing reviews of the album, will she prevail? Or will she have to resurrect Sasha Fierce for a little help? I'm banking on this being a win in the long run.

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