Beyoncé: 4 (Columbia) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Jul 18, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Beyoncé Knowles has always kept excellent company and on her fittingly-titled fourth album, 4, it seems she’s learned that consistent company makes for a consistent album. The-Dream (Terius Nash)—the man responsible for “Single Ladies” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella”—co-wrote approximately half the album. This fact no doubt helps account for why 4 is Beyoncé’s most cohesive and satisfying LP.

In the press, Beyoncé made a shamelessly hipster-baiting fuss about how the album was influenced by Fela Kuti, which, it turns out, isn’t terribly accurate. 4 does boast a impressive arsenal of martial drums on a number of tracks, as well as other hipster catnip such as Frank Ocean, Andre 3000, Kanye West, and the Major Lazer-sampling single “Run the World (Girls).”

The oft maligned “Run the World (Girls)” finds Beyoncé making a crass grab for M.I.A.’s polyglot-pop steez and, thankfully, it’s an outlier on 4. Oddly enough, it also sounds better in the context of the album. 4’s second single, the Sam Cooke and Prince inspired “1+1,” is much more indicative of the album as a whole. Beyoncé’s magnificent vocal performance culminates in a guitar solo dripping with Purple Rain.

Surprisingly, 4 lacks the kind of songs tailor-made to become chart-toppers and it’s stronger for it. The album’s overarching theme of finding joy in life-long love and devotion resonates strongest in the somber, luminous swoon of “I Miss You.” However, the exuberant march of “Countdown” and its refrain of “Ladies, if you love your man, show you the fliest/Grind up on it, girl, show him how you ride it” feels like a sleeper hit waiting to happen.

The missteps on 4 are pretty minor, but the overwrought, Diane Warren-penned ballad “I Was Here” is absolutely unnecessary. Imperfections and all, 4 shows that Beyoncé is willing to defy expectations and embrace her eccentricities. In doing so, she has crafted her most personal and affecting album to date. (

Author rating: 7/10

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July 21st 2011

Eric of Matt ‘n Eric reviews this album at

Beyonce Songs
November 15th 2015

One great song by Beyonce is what you have shown in the article… Run The World. I like to see this explanation meaning that girls are the reason why we all exist so we had better be recognizing that. They are the ones that carry infants and take care of themselves during 9 months. The are careful about what they do to their bodies during this time.

After they give a healthy birth to a child, they still take care of themselves by breast feeding. They make sure that their baby doesn’t get poisoned by alcohol or anything else. Girls are the reason why we all grow up and survive childhood. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have a chance to grow up as adults and take care of ourselves.

For that reason, they get the right to say that they run the world. It is an act of feminism on Beyonce’s part. She expresses what we should all understand before trying to ever disrespect a woman. It isn’t fair for them to be downgraded in anyway.

It is unfortunate that there are some men out there not treating a woman the way they should. This message in the song is meant for those who haven’t learned what it took for them to become adults.