Although Beyoncé's latest album, 4, was still weeks from its official release date, on Wednesday it was leaked and quickly caused a stir on the Internet, prompting fans and critics to weigh in on the singer's first new album in nearly three years.
So far, B's promo for 4 has been fueled by the release of tracks like the snarling "Run the World (Girls)", the track "Best Thing I Never Had," and the emotional "1+1." But now that all of the tracks are out there on the Net, Beyoncé's album is up for debate.
The Atlantic compares her latest to her last album: "In between, there's an unmistakable, if gradual, turn from melancholic top 40 ballads to the confrontational snap of military drums and giddy proclamations of love. Is this I Am ... Sasha Fierce part 2? Not quite. The course of 4 documents a progression, a maturation, of Beyoncé's worldview."
Rolling Stone observes, "Beyoncé's new album, 4, is a change of pace for the R&B queen ... 4 is a more relaxed, personal set that emphasizes ballads over bangers and showcases the singer's nuances; it's very much the sort of album a pop star makes when she doesn't feel like she has anything to prove."
Ology.com gives Beyoncé credit for working with so many producers on the album, but making it all sound "cohesive." "It stands quite easily as Knowles' most vibrant album; not saying it's her best (B'Day still holds that title), but it begs to be performed live in front of hundreds of thousands of screaming fans unlike anything else she's released yet."
Fans seem equally opinionated — and enthusiastic — about the album, which officially drops on June 28.
"This album is so not her, she took chances, went off in a new direction as far as sound, her vocal techniques are off the charts on this album," Lee Joseph Chaisson wrote on MTV.com. "She brought it vocally; the sounds are so uniquely different, her whole approach."
"I've heard the Album...The **** it BANGIN!" Oren Acquirestino added. "Beyonce's really really singing on this album."
B's most devoted also took to her Facebook page to put their two cents in. Tatyana Krasko wrote, "Beyonce thanks for great work...Album '4' it's amazing... I love Beyonce."
Another fan, Sunny Lochab, gave the singer props and said he was buying the album regardless of the leak. "I downloaded it. I couldn't help it - everyone was talking about it! and I completely love it - I'll be buying it too to show love! you show true growth on this album...it's ALL love."
Have you heard Beyoncé's album? Tell us in the comments!