Beyoncé – 4 (Columbia)
by Scott Creney
You may not hear a better heavy metal album all year than Beyoncé 4. And if you don’t think Beyoncé sings heavy metal then you’re probably a racist, or a sexist, and you should go write for Pitchfork. Because Pitchfork is boring. And so are you. And so am I. But Beyoncé isn’t.
People go on and on about Lady Gaga being the new Madonna, but Beyoncée’s way better than that. If anything she’s Madonna multiplied by Aretha Franklin. And don’t give me any shit about Aretha somehow being more real. It’s not 1968 anymore. Authenticity is dead. We live in the age of computer and cyber-etc. An electric guitar is, if anything, less real than a synthesizer. And a pro-tooled drum machine says more about 2011 than a banjo ever could. Electronically manipulated sound is the most authentic response to what is, after all, an age of electronic manipulation.
And if you don’t believe me, then go cancel your Facebook and get the hell off this website — both obvious examples of electronic manipulation. And oh yeah, stop reading Pitchfork (as one CB commenter wrote, they aren’t sexist, they’ve got a guy with an Indian name writing for them).
4 as in the 4th of July. 4 as in ‘I Would Die 4 U’. 4 as in 24 Hours From Tulsa. 4 as in ‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’.
If The Pointer Sisters were the missing link between The Supremes and Destiny’s Child, then Beyoncé Knowles is the missing link between Jesus Christ and the discovery of a super-race of alien beings. Discuss.
At its best, Beyoncé’s music is more experimental than a year’s worth of The Wire, and more accessible than whoever’s on the cover of this week’s NME. Of course it’s been 20 years since a major artist release a start-to-finish great album, and 4 does NOTHING to reverse this trend. But we live in a post-album age. You know what to do. Take what you want and go forward.
Regardless, one of these young ladies may grow up to be President of the United States someday. They’ve sure as hell got my vote.