Beyoncé's 4 may have leaked weeks ago, but its official release date is finally upon us. It's been a long-churning album that touches on soul, '90s R&B, hip-hop and even '80s adult contemporary. Long before the album even dropped, B promised fans that the album would be eclectic — a promise that was certainly met.
"I have a lot of live instruments that I'm putting into the tracks to try to change the sound and make my own genre of music," she said about the album.
On it, she worked with a number of A-listers, including The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Kanye West, Chad Hugo, Ryan Tedder and Diplo, to name a few. She had also been spotted in the studio with indie acts like Sleigh Bells, proving that she wanted to try anything and everything.
"I'm mixing every type of genre that I love and I'm inspired by every type of genre," she told MTV News late last year. "I'm not in a box. It's not R&B. It's not typically pop. It's not rock. It's just everything I love all mixed together in my own little gumbo of music."
By the time 2010 was nearing its midway mark, Beyoncé finally debuted "Run the World (Girls)," a girl-power pop tune that samples Major Lazer's "Pon De Floor" and is full of so much bravado that she needed wild animals in the music video.
So why did Beyoncé name the album 4? Well, aside from the fact that it's her fourth album, she explained: "We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me. It's the day I was born. My mother's birthday and a lot of my friends' birthdays are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date."
In addition to "Run the World (Girls)," Queen B teased fans with songs like the album's official second single, "Best Thing I Never Had," plus the promotional track "1+1" and the leaked track "Party," featuring Andre 3000.
The songs show the many sides of Beyoncé: playful, heartfelt, flirty, sexy and, yes, sassy. In the end, B wanted fans to hear all those sides of her on the album. "I also gave myself more freedom to really belt out some songs, and bring soul singing back," she explained. "I used a lot of the brassiness and grittiness in my voice that people hear in my live performances, but not necessarily on my records."
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