Rolling Stone (pp.95-96) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "It's a big-budget pop album with an A list of guest stars....Half the songs are ballads, but all kinds of sounds filter through the mix -- vintage soul, hard rock, reggae, [and] adult contemporary..."
Rolling Stone (p.70) - Ranked #25 in Rolling Stone's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "The world's shrewdest diva turns on her star power full blast..."
Spin (p.18) - Ranked #39 in Spin's 'The Top 40 Albums Of 2011' -- "[A]n album of '70-inspired soul and funk tunes alongside baby-making ballads."
Entertainment Weekly (p.72) - "Vocally, she's never sounded better -- throaty and precise....The terrific 'End of Time' seethes with off-balance harmonies..." -- Grade: B
Q (Magazine) (p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Best Thing I Never Had' delivers a fabulously breezy kick in the groin to he who dared wrong-do her..."
Paste (magazine) - "Even when grabbing a fistful of vitriol on 'Best You Never Had,' a boiling throw-down of invective and bitterness, it's her voice that stands out strong and clear, exploring the potential of the delivery."
Pitchfork (Website) - "'1+1' is that rare wonder: a wedding song that pleases but doesn't pander..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.79) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he final third is full of the tribal stomp of M.I.A. and Missy Elliott....Overall, 4 is a very strong record indeed."
Photographers: Ellen Von Unwerth; Greg Gex; Tony Duran .
Beyoncé reportedly recorded 72 songs for 4, 12 of which made the cut. The album's stylistic range was indicated through its first two singles, the busy and hyper empowerment anthem "Run the World (Girls)" and the bombastic ballad "Best Thing I Never Had." Said to be inspired by a diverse list of artists, from Fela Kuti to DeBarge, Beyoncé also lets herself go -- from a vocal standpoint -- as a way to reach the energy level of her live performances.
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