Watch 'Beyonce: Year Of '4'' On MTV Tonight at 7 p.m. ET

Beyoncé's latest album, 4, came out this week, and it's already poised for a #1 chart position. And tonight, Beyoncé's pulling back the curtain and revealing never-before-seen footage of her from the period in her life that inspired her latest effort. It's a look at both her year off and her year on in the MTV special "Beyoncé: Year of 4."

"My life was award shows and tour buses and hotels, and it kind of goes by so fast ... I couldn't even hear it anymore," she says in her tenderly revealing, up-close-and-personal documentary. "I never even realized I needed a year off. And I never realized I don't know how to take a year off."

Footage begins as Beyoncé wraps up her epic "I Am" world tour and finds herself at a crossroads before eventually following her mother's advice to take a well-deserved break. You'll see Beyoncé reflecting, traveling and enjoying some much-needed freedom and solitude. But all throughout her sabbatical, you get the sense that she certainly never stopped planning her next move, which is apparent as she launches an all-out assault on the project that would become her new album.

+ Don't miss "Beyoncé: Year of 4," tonight at 7 pm ET/PT on MTV and BET and 7:30 p.m. ET on VH1 and Palladia. Encore presentations follow on MTV.com, MTV Hits and MTV Jams.