*What a great way to finish off the celebration of June Black Music month tribute with an article on one of the hardest working women in the business, uberstar Beyoncé. Now the triple threat (singer actor, dancer) has teamed with Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) for the exclusive deluxe edition of her fourth solo album, 4. The deluxe edition of 4 is executive produced by Beyoncé Knowles.
4 is now available at Target.com/Beyonce and at Target stores nationwide. A digital version of the deluxe edition is available at Target.com.
The multi-Grammy Award-winning artist is as ecstatic about her new adventure as her fans that have grown to love her and hold her in high regard because of the respect she continues to show for them by never associating her name or anything about herself in a negative way. “My fans will be so excited about my new album because I put my heart and soul into creating something that’s personal and honest.”
Inspired by a variety of music genres she loves, Beyoncé refers to the songs on 4 as her “musical gumbo.” The new collection of ballads, mid and up-tempos incorporates live instrumentation, classic songwriting and Beyoncé’s undeniable vocal ability.
The Target deluxe album includes three additional new songs from Beyoncé as well as three remixes and bonus video footage. The new tracks exclusive to Target are: “Lay Up Under Me,” “Schoolin’ Life” and “Dance For You.”
4, her fourth studio album following, Dangerously In Love, B’Day, and I Am…Sasha Fierce, is a risk-taker and a bold statement. “If people can predict your next move,” she states, “it’s not that interesting.” This is Beyoncé at her unpredictable best. A twelve-song collection that the artist describes as her musical “gumbo.” It quite literally mixes all of the genres she loves into one intriguing musical melting pot that employs the full gamut of her vocal ability.
The new collection emphasizes mid-tempos and ballads over dance tracks and displays a treasure of songs that are filled with huge choruses, twelve-part harmonies, bridges and exhilarating guitar solos. This is a nod to some of the great eras of music from an international artist who intends to shake things up.
Beyoncé approached the recording of this album from a place of relaxation with no pressure from anyone. She co-wrote all the songs, with the exception of “I Was Here,” penned by Diane Warren; and co-produced on every track. She recorded over seventy songs at her own pace.
From her travels around the world where she says for the first time she was able to see with eyes wide open and soak it all in, to listening to her favorite old jams, to taking ten hours a day discovering new music and artists, to harkening back to her skills as an actress, the inspiration for 4 is vast.
“For the first time in my life I was able to travel the world, hear different influences, see different types of dance and choreography and taste different types of food,” she begins. “It was important that I was able to digest everything. It inspired purity, more heart and more love.”
Recalling favorites like Earth, Wind and Fire, Fela Kuti, The Chi-Lites, Babyface (who is a co-writer on “Best Thing I Never Had,” the album’s second single) and Boyz ll Men, Beyoncé looked at the ‘70s and ‘90s for her biggest inspirations.
“I wanted to go back to the source,” she explains. “I really liked mixing the 90s with the 70s. I put those two together and it was so much fun putting bridges back into songs, all the things in music that I love that I feel I just want to hear again.”
4, named for Beyoncé’s favorite and luckiest number as well as marking her fourth solo studio album, is a well-stated musical progression for the artist. The themes of female empowerment, independence and self-worth are still here, especially on the lead single, “Run the World (Girls), but as Beyoncé explains, when you grow as a person it’s only natural to extend that growth to one’s music. Love in all its opposing sides of ecstasy and heartbreak are here, too, from the deliberate yearning of “1+1″ to the urgent, dismissive aforementioned, “Best Thing I Never Had.”