March 3, 2016
My Lord, pop music has gotten exhausting. It seems every second song is “AN EVENT”; a carefully structured meme generator on the state of race, gender and sexuality in the world today. Either that or it’s a chance for the artist to lift their head off of a snot and tear-stained pillow and tell the world, through revenge porn lyrics, about the folk -often famous, who didn’t appreciate ‘little ole me’.
Some of the above should be admired, even if-like Beyonce’s Formation, it can be self-aggrandizing and self-serving. Pop has a duty to incite.
But, occasionally, one does wish that there was more bubblegum around, sweet, disposable, throwaway tunes where the singer isn’t proclaiming from the chart tops about how they have matured, how they have reformed or how they have conquered.
January 12, 2012
Once leading singles were put out by acts to whet the public appetite for their forthcoming opus. Nowadays chart divas use them to lower expectations so that what eventually appears will seem better than it actually is. Just like Gaga, Christina and Britney pre-empted their albums with stinkers, Beyoncé Knowles returns from the wilderness with (Who Rules the World) Girls, a dulling of Major Lazers Pon De Floor with a tired Girl Power message added on.
The experimentation hinted at by the talent assembled (Diplo, Switch, Sleigh Bells) never emerges and there are far too many tracks here that she throttles with her impressive but unnecessary vocal hysteria.
The key to 4’s charm is it’s throwbacks to late 80s early 90s hip hop. Prince is an influence, album opener and near highlight 1+1 is a delightful rip off of the purple pervert’s The Beautiful One’s, and bonus track Schoolin Life highlights her skill at aping artists who have carved out an individual niche.
But that is what is missing here. Beyonce’s vocals have soul and her beats have lineage. But they are collectively a dilution, serving as a gateway to superior artists but providing nothing she can claim as her own.