But in recent months, that scrutiny has gone to another level entirely.
Based on interviews given by collaborators Ne-Yo and Diplo — both of whom made it seem as if Beyoncé was still attempting to figure out a direction for the disc — and reports that she'd scrapped 50 songs intended for the album and was beginning from scratch, the project definitely seems to be in flux, and some have begun to wonder whether the follow-up to 4 would see the light this year.
All the while, Beyoncé's camp has shot down rumors of a delay, saying that there never has been a release date for the album, tentative or otherwise. And last week, when MTV News emailed her reps asking for a comment about a reported November release, we did not receive a response. But on Sunday, a spokesperson for Bey did give us an update on the progress she's making ... and, take note, BeyHivers, there is progress:
"She continues to work on her album," her rep wrote in an email.
Beyoncé will keep on working between dates on her Mrs. Carter World Tour, which wraps a North American run in August before heading back overseas. She'll return for another leg of North American shows at the end of 2013.