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It’s no secret that Beyonce Knowles is obsessed with ‘4’.  So why waste the perfect opportunity to stamp the number on her fourth solo album?  I must admit, “4” definitely exceeds my expectations.  As a whole, the album is pretty cohesive; the songs evoke images of a lovesick Beyonce riding the ups and downs of love’s roller coaster.  I don’t really connect with songs like “Start Over” and “I Care”; “Run The Word (Girls)” just annoys me.  I enjoy the more fun and energetic “Countdown” and Michael Jackson inspired “End Of Time.”  But these are my ultimate four from “4”:

4.  “1 + 1” produced by Beyonce Knowles, Terius “The-Dream” Nash and C. “Tricky” Stewart

Definitely sounds like Beyonce learned a thing or two from working with/portraying Etta James in Cadillac Records.  I’m a fan of James’ music and persona, so I dig this song a lot!  Stylistically, it is reminiscent of old-soul.  Lyrically, it’s on point.  And as far as conveying emotion and believability, Knowles delivers … period.

3.  “Party” featuring Andre 3000 and Kanye West produced by Beyonce Knowles and Kanye West

‘I’m so in love’ with this infectious retro-soul-funk joint!  The harmonics, the keyboards, the “La-Di-Da-Di” sampled beat — sounds like Knowles and West were channeling  the 80’s on this track, and I’m happy about that.  As for Andre 3000, I really don’t understand how his verse relates to the theme of the song.  But his effortless flow makes up for his lack of coherence.

2.  “Rather Die Young” produced by Jeff Bhasker

The musical arrangement of this song is incredibly enjoyable to listen to.  The verses are a nice contrast to the chorus and bridge.  I feel like I’m time traveling back to a time where R&B was more about the music and less about the sex.

1.  “Love On Top” produced by Beyonce Knowles and Shea Taylor

This disco-fashioned number makes me want to lace up my roller-skates and glide around on cloud nine!  Knowles’ voice is luminescent.  And as a musician, I really appreciate the gradual build-up and smart instrumentation.  After listening to this song (again and again), I so want to fall in love!

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