Diversity inspires Beyoncé’s artistry in intimate album
HAS BEYONCÉ gone soft? In her latest album, “4,” the 29-year-old R&B superstar takes a welcome breather from the dance-floor dazzlers that have made her a star, and delivers a tasty mix of slow jams and trippy, idiosyncratic ballads.
The lovely singer refuses to rest on her hit-burnished laurels. Beyoncé says that the diversity in her music inspires her artistry. “I’ve grown,” she explains. “As I merge two contrasting personalities (mine and Sasha’s), I’m encouraged to mix the different genres I love. I don’t want to get stuck in a box!” Moreover, ballads enable her fans to more fully appreciate the quality and flexibility of her vocal gifts, because it’s harder to conceal flaws when the beats are slower.
However, there’s strength in the lovely singer’s display of vulnerability—and comfort in acknowledging it. One minute, she sings about longing, heartbreak and loneliness; next minute, she celebrates a woman’s foresight, intuition and demand for respect.
For instance, “Best Thing I Never Had” is about a faithless guy who she says doesn’t deserve her love and loyalty.
This time, Beyoncé’s harmony-driven tunes don’t follow predictable melodic patterns (the exquisite “Rather Die Young” and the zippy “Party”), they grow on you upon repeated spins.
The groovesome “I Care” cleverly fuses the moody ballads of Phil Collins and the laid-back charm of Adele, while “I Miss You” is a delectable slow-burn that strikes listeners like a gentle caress. Indeed, a slower groove doesn’t necessarily result in a duller sound.
Beyoncé further ratchets up the groove—and charm—in the exhilarating “Love On Top,” by transposing the key of its final section several times up to vigorously show off the singer’s malleable pipes.
Its heady “papara-papa” grind should warm you up and linger in your mind through the cold nights of the rainy season!
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