4 (Beyoncé album)

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4
A woman is shown with her arms raised above her head.
Studio album by Beyoncé
Released June 24, 2011 (2011-06-24)
Recorded 2010–11
Genre
Length 46:33
Label
Producer
Beyoncé chronology
Heat
(2010)
4
(2011)
4: The Remix
(2012)
Singles from 4
  1. "Run the World (Girls)"
    Released: April 21, 2011
  2. "Best Thing I Never Had"
    Released: June 1, 2011
  3. "Party"
    Released: August 30, 2011
  4. "Love on Top"
    Released: September 12, 2011
  5. "Countdown"
    Released: October 4, 2011
  6. "I Care"
    Released: March 23, 2012
  7. "End of Time"
    Released: April 23, 2012

4 is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Beyoncé, released on June 24, 2011, by Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records. Following a career hiatus that reignited her creativity, Beyoncé was inspired to create a record with a basis in traditional rhythm and blues that stood apart from contemporary popular music. Her collaborations with songwriters and record producers Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Shea Taylor produced a mellower tone, developing diverse vocal styles and influences from funk, hip hop and soul.

Severing professional ties with father and manager Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé eschewed the music of her previous releases in favor of an intimate, personal album. 4 '​s lyrics emphasize monogamy, female empowerment and self-reflection, a result of Beyoncé considering a maturer message to contend artistic credibility. The album was praised by critics for its fusion of various genres and her strong vocal ability; many publications included it on their year-end lists.

In May 2011, Beyoncé submitted seventy-two songs to Columbia Records for consideration, twelve songs of which appeared on the standard edition. 4 was promoted in mid-2011 by television performances and festival appearances, such as Beyoncé's headlining Glastonbury Festival set. It was her fourth consecutive album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200, and it also reached number one in Brazil, France, Ireland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 4 spawned the international singles[note 1] "Run the World (Girls)", "Best Thing I Never Had", "Party", "Love on Top" and "Countdown". "Love on Top" won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 55th annual ceremony. As of 2013, 4 has sold 3 million copies worldwide and, as of 2014, 1.41 million copies in the United States.

Development[edit]

Following the release of her third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008) and a world tour, Beyoncé took a career hiatus in 2010 "to live life [and] to be inspired by things again".[3] During her hiatus, she "killed" Sasha Fierce, the alter-ego used in her previous album, as she felt she could now merge her two personalities.[4] She severed professional ties with father and manager Mathew Knowles, who had guided her career since the 1990s with Destiny's Child,[5] noting that the decision made her feel vulnerable.[6]

In an interview for Complex, Beyoncé expressed dissatisfaction with contemporary radio.[7] She intended 4 to help change that status, commenting, "Figuring out a way to get R&B back on the radio is challenging ... With 4, I tried to mix R&B from the '70s and the '90s with rock 'n' roll and a lot of horns to create something new and exciting. I wanted musical changes, bridges, vibrata, live instrumentation and classic songwriting."[7] On her website she wrote, "The album is definitely an evolution. It's bolder than the music on my previous albums because I'm bolder. The more mature I become and the more life experiences I have, the more I have to talk about. I really focused on songs being classics, songs that would last, songs that I could sing when I'm 40 and when I'm 60."[8] Beyoncé also sought to make more artistic music, rather than purely commercially-oriented songs.[9]

The horns and percussion used on "End of Time" were inspired by late Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.[10]

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Although much of 4 '​s inspiration came from "touring, travelling, watching rock bands and attending festivals",[11] the album's early musical direction was influenced by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, whose passion for music motivated Beyoncé. She worked with the band from Fela!, the Broadway musical based on Kuti's life.[10] Jordan "DJ Swivel" Young, one of 4 '​s engineers, later described how Kuti's use of percussion and horns influenced the track "End of Time".[12] She also found additional influences in Earth, Wind & Fire, The Stylistics, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson.[13][14] She used hip hop for a "broader sound" and looked to bring soul singing back, stating, "I used a lot of the brassiness and grittiness in my voice that people hear in my live performances, but not necessarily on my records."[13]

Recording[edit]

I said I'm going to take a risk and I'm going to bring R&B music back and I'm going to add bridges to songs and chord changes. I'm going to sing about love and do the opposite of what I thought I was going to do. I'm not going to try to be cool, forget being cool, I'm going to be honest, I'm going to be sad, I'm going to be passionate, I'm going to be vulnerable, I'm going to sing from my heart.

Beyoncé, Life Is But a Dream, 2013[15]

Three months into her hiatus in March 2010, Beyoncé began recording in Jay-Z's Roc the Mic Studios, New York City.[6][16] One song—"Party"—was recorded because she wanted to see what working relationship would develop with engineer DJ Swivel.[16] Kanye West assisted the production of "Party" after Beyoncé was impressed by his work on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010).[7] André 3000, the only featured artist on 4, contributed a rap verse to the song, which he recorded in Georgia, US.[17]

Six weeks later, in May 2010, she asked Swivel to work on the entire project.[12] Concerning his working relationship with Beyoncé, he commented, "There was no 'We're doing this today.' It was a very kind of open project, where whatever she felt like recording at that time was what we'd work on. It was based on how she felt, her mood, and also her listening to the demos that writers would give us."[12] With Swivel, she experimented with horns, drums, guitars and percussion instruments.[16] Mostly inspired by the Fela! sessions, Swivel began to formulate beats using their own recordings and those from Fela![16] The project was moved to KMA Studios for a week and a half because Roc the Mic was not large enough. There they began recording "I Care", "Best Thing I Never Had" and "Rather Die Young", and completed "Party". They recorded the songs "Schoolin' Life", "1+1" and "Start Over" at Jungle City Studios in New York.[17]

MSR Studios was the final New York City-based studio used, and where most of 4 was recorded—only "Party and "I Was Here" were recorded entirely at other studios.[16][17] At MSR, Beyoncé emphasized the use of live instruments on songs such as "I Care" and "End of Time".[12][17] Consequently, most of the instruments, including drums, keyboards, guitar and bass work, were recorded there and performed by Jeff Bhasker and Shea Taylor.[16][17] Beyoncé asked Frank Ocean to write and record "I Miss You" at MSR, saying to Complex, "[Jay-Z] had a CD playing in the car one Sunday when we were driving to Brooklyn. I noticed his tone, his arrangements, and his storytelling. I immediately reached out to him—literally the next morning. I asked him to fly to New York and work on my record."[7]

After listening to each song, Beyoncé would often request the addition of specific instruments, leaving her production team to make the sounds cohesive.[12] Her vocals were recorded through an Avalon Design 737 preamp and compressed in an 1176 Peak Limiter with a 4:1 ratio.[12] After recording the lead vocals for a track, Swivel cut them in different ways and he and Beyoncé picked the best, then recording the backing vocals.[16] Beyoncé composed her own vocal arrangements and harmonies for each song. Her microphones were carefully placed to achieve a blend of sounds with a clear quality.[16] Swivel spoke of her work ethic in an interview for Sound on Sound:

A large glass conservatory is shown attached to a house in a field.
Beyoncé recorded at various locations, including Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Wiltshire, England.

She's so fast and good at what she does that you can't afford to waste time on anything, so if we’re ready to record drums, for example, we’re going to work with whatever we have available right there and then. That's why we worked in such great studios, because we know they have great gear, and we don't need to worry about renting gear. Part of my job as an engineer is to make sure the sessions are not only moving along, but moving along at her pace.[16]

After the move to MSR, Beyoncé and her production team began travelling.[12] In the United Kingdom, they worked at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Wiltshire—particularly using Gabriel's multi-instrument room—to create "Love on Top".[12][17] Soon after, Beyoncé joined Jay-Z in a Sydney mansion, as he was working on his collaboration album Watch the Throne (2011) with Kanye West. There they created a "primitive studio" using a microphone, a rig out and Pro Tools software to record.[12] Sessions were also held in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Honolulu.[17]

In February 2011, MTV reported the project was nearing completion.[18] 4 was mixed mostly at MixStar Studios in Virginia and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York City.[17] The audio mastering was delayed by a week following the unexpected recording of "I Was Here". Diane Warren had played the song to Jay-Z during a telephone conversation, leading him to put Warren and Beyoncé in contact.[19] In May 2011, Beyoncé submitted seventy-two songs in preparation for the album's release.[20] According to Swivel, an eclectic range of songs were recorded, including ballads, "weird ethereal things" and 1990's R&B and Afrobeat-inspired songs.[12] Columbia Records were reportedly overwhelmed with the "sheer volume of material she presented to them".[21]

Composition[edit]

A woman kneels upon a piano whilst singing
Beyoncé performing on a piano, singing the opening track of 4–"1+1"–on The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour

The final cut of 4 comprises twelve tracks on the standard edition and eighteen on the deluxe edition—three of which are remixes of "Run the World (Girls)".[17] Critics viewed 4 as a major departure from Beyoncé's previous catalogue, with a distinctive mellower sound.[22][23] The album consists mostly of mid-tempo R&B songs,[23] with 1970s funk, 1980s pop and 1990s soul influences.[22] The second half was more eclectic, exploring a variety of genres including hard rock, reggae and adult contemporary.[24] The Guardian complimented the album's divergence from the "layering [of] Euro-synths on pop-step woomphs" that characterize the music of Beyoncé's contemporaries.[22]

The balladry of the first half of 4 combines diverse vocal styles with the use of live instrumentation. "1+1" demonstrates Beyoncé's vocal-flexing[22] over "magnificent guitar bombast"[25] and a soft backing beat,[26] while "Start Over", a mid tempo R&B ballad, uses a futuristic beat with electric elements and synthesizers.[27][28] "I Miss You", with its "layers of atmospheric keyboards",[29] ambient synthesizers[30] and tinny 808 drums[31] was sung in a half-whisper[32] to exhibit intense emotion.[25] "I Was Here", an understated pop-R&B ballad with indie rock inflections,[33][34] primarily concerns self-reflection with dramatic vocals.[35]

On other songs, Beyoncé explores womanhood. "Best Thing I Never Had", 4 '​s fourth track, was described as a moment of self-realization and a "female call to arms".[26] With vocals that allude to a "wounded bird turned resilient lioness",[26] the song is built on a "winkly piano riff and beefy bass drums".[25][36] "Dance for You" conveys a more sexual tone through breathy vocals and blaring electric guitars.[35] It forgoes her typical empowerment themes in favor of sensual imagery and comfort with one's partner.[35] "Run the World (Girls)", a female empowerment anthem reminiscent of Beyoncé's more contemporary work on I Am... Sasha Fierce,[22] uses an energetic sample of Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor".[25] The song incorporates "layered melodics", most prominently a military marching drumbeat, while Beyoncé's near-chanted delivery encompasses her full vocal range.[37]

Beyoncé viewed "Countdown" as one of her most experimental songs.[38] Using a variety of genres,[26] including dancehall,[24] it features a brass arrangement.[24] Beyoncé sings the chorus—a countdown from the number ten—with a sample of Boyz II Men's "Uhh Ahh".[26][28]

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The tracks "Countdown" and "End of Time" were distinguished by their musical and lyrical experimentalism. "Countdown" was described as "everywhere on the genre map",[26] although predominantly dancehall-led with a "bristling brass arrangement".[24] Its chorus describes a relationship by counting backwards from ten,[26] using a sample from Boyz II Men's "Uhh Ahh".[28] "End of Time" '​s pulsating, brass sound[22]—reminiscent of a marching-band[26]—was heavily influenced by Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.[12] Kuti's use of horns and percussion instruments was recreated and combined with elements of electronic music and synthesizers.[12] "Lay Up Under Me" is also built on retro horns, featuring upbeat vocals,[35] a sound Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork associated with Michael Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall.[39]

Other tracks were noted for their retro stylization. "Rather Die Young" is a throwback to 1960s doo-wop[26] and Philadelphia soul,[40] with a slow tempo and modern drums.[29][35] "Party" achieves a vintage aesthetic through minimalistic production,[23] replete with heavy synthesizers and a 1980s smooth-funk groove.[29] The song is unique for its conversation-like structure, in which Beyoncé and guest-vocalist André 3000 sing verses that allude to socialization at parties.[23] Elements of Prince's style was found on "Schoolin' Life" and "I Care".[22][26][35] "Schoolin' Life" is an uptempo funk song, with lyrics that advise the listener to live life to the fullest while cautioning them about the consequences of excess.[35] The chorus of "I Care" was compared to "Purple Rain", with themes of sadness and resentment, the song uses soft background vocals and dense percussion.[29] "Love on Top" was noted for its energetic key changes with a joyful tone, evoking the work of Michael and Janet Jackson.[23] Its retro sound is marked by a melding of horns as well as sweet backing harmonies that are most prominent on its bridge and chorus.[41][42]

Release and artwork[edit]

4 '​s release date in the United States was confirmed on May 18, 2011, to be June 28.[43] On June 7, the album leaked onto the Internet in full; Beyoncé's legal representatives issued warnings to infringing websites and leaked tracks were soon removed from such sites.[44] On June 9, Beyoncé responded to the leak through Facebook, commenting, "My music was leaked and while this is not how I wanted to present my new songs, I appreciate the positive response from my fans. When I record music I always think about my fans singing every note and dancing to every beat. I make music to make people happy and I appreciate that everyone has been so anxious to hear my new songs."[45] Following the leak, reports circulated that Columbia Records executives hoped to cover their assets in fear that the album may be a commercial failure. Rumors had suggested that the label requested from Beyoncé to make changes to the record and reunite Destiny's Child, claims Columbia denied.[46] In August 2013, NME reported that Sony Music were suing a forty-seven year-old man from Gothenburg for US$233,000 concerning the leak of 4.[47] The deluxe version was released simultaneously with the standard edition in several countries. In the United States, it was available exclusively through Target stores.[48]

In an interview for Billboard, Beyoncé stated that despite having another concept for the album, she was ultimately influenced by her fans to name the album 4. She described the number four as being "special" to her, as her and Jay-Z's birthday, several other family and friends' birthdays, and her wedding anniversary fall on the fourth day of the month.[10][49] The cover of the standard edition was revealed on Beyoncé's website on May 18, 2011.[50] Shot on the rooftop of the Hôtel Meurice in Paris,[51] Beyoncé is looking into the distance with her arms raised over her head, wearing smokey eye makeup, thick gold cuffs and a fox-fur stole by cult French designer Alexandre Vauthier, embellished with Swarovski crystals by the Lesage embroidery house.[50][52] The cover of the deluxe version was shown on June 16, where Beyoncé is dressed in a tight-fitting blue-purple dress by French designer Maxime Simoens,[52] holding her hands in her hair.[53] For its artwork, she opted for clothing made by lesser-known designers.[52] The promotional and interior-package images for 4 were shot at the same time.[51]

Promotion[edit]

A large crowd is gathered round a stage, fireworks are in the sky.
Beyoncé, on the eve of 4 '​s release, opens her set at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival with "Crazy in Love". She was the first solo female artist to headline the event in over twenty years.

Beyoncé made several appearances on television and in live shows to promote 4. She performed "Run the World (Girls)" for the first time on May 17, 2011, on Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular at the United Center in Chicago.[54] She also performed the song at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.[55] On May 25, "1+1" was made available for download through the iTunes Store in the United States.[56] The same day, "1+1" was performed at the American Idol final;[57] she introduced it as her favorite song.[57] In June, she performed at the Palais Nikaia in Nice, Zénith in Lille, and the Galaxie in Amnéville.[58] On June 26, Beyoncé was the closing act at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom. She was the first solo female artist to headline the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival in more than twenty years.[59] A pre-taped performance of "Best Thing I Never Had" and "End of Time" at the Glastonbury Festival was broadcast during the 2011 BET Awards.[60] The following day, Beyoncé's exclusive hour-long interview with Piers Morgan in London was broadcast on Piers Morgan Tonight.[61] She also appeared on the finale of France's The X Factor to perform "Run the World" and "Best Thing I Never Had".[62] An MTV television special, Beyoncé: Year of 4, premiered on June 30, documenting Beyoncé's life during 4 '​s production.[63]

On July 1, Beyoncé appeared on Good Morning America as part of its "Summer Concert Series" in New York City.[64] She also projected images from 4 on a number of London's landmarks, including Madame Tussauds and Battersea Power Station.[65] She then traveled to Scotland to perform at the T in the Park Festival on July 10, 2011.[66] The next day, she performed at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland.[67] On July 28, 2011, Beyoncé performed "1+1" and "Best Thing I Never Had" on The View;[68] the latter was also performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the same day.[69] From August 16–19, Beyoncé held the 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé concerts at the Roseland Ballroom to a standing room only audience.[70] Subsequently, the Live at Roseland: Elements of 4 DVD was released in November.[71] "Love on Top" was sung at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28,[72] Beyoncé finished the performance by unbuttoning her blazer and rubbing her stomach to confirm her pregnancy.[73] A live performance of "Countdown" recorded in July was broadcast on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in November.[74]

Singles[edit]

4 was Beyoncé' first album that yielded no number one singles in the United States, as no song from 4 reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.[75] "Run the World (Girls)" was released internationally as the lead single from 4 on April 21, 2011.[76] It reached number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[77] and number eleven on the UK Singles Chart.[78] "Best Thing I Never Had" followed on June 1, 2011.[79] It fared much better on national charts, reaching number sixteen in the United States,[77] number five in New Zealand[80] and number three in the United Kingdom.[78]

"Party" was released as an urban contemporary single in the US on August 30, 2011;[81] its remix, featuring J. Cole, was released in the United States, Canada and some European countries on October 24, 2011.[82][83][84] "Love on Top" was released in Australia as a contemporary hit radio single in September 2011;[85] it was released in Italy, Belgium and the United States later.[86][87][88] It topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven consecutive weeks.[89] "Countdown" was released in the United States and parts of Europe, beginning October 4, 2011.[90] "I Care" was released in Italy only on March 23, 2012,[1] while "End of Time" was released in the UK only on April 23, 2012.[91]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[92]
The A.V. Club B–[93]
Entertainment Weekly B[94]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[95]
NME 4/10[96]
Pitchfork Media 8.0/10[39]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[24]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[97]
Spin 8/10[98]
Uncut 4/5 stars[99]

4 received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 36 reviews.[100] Michael Cragg of The Observer called it Beyoncé's "most accomplished album yet".[101] Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson believed 4 succeeds vocally as an album of mostly intimate and slow-tempo ballads.[97] Mikael Wood of Spin magazine applauded its ballads, mid-tempo songs, and evocations of late 1970s and early 1980s pop-soul.[98] In his review for Rolling Stone, Jody Rosen wrote that Beyoncé eschews contemporary production styles for a more personal and idiosyncratic album.[24] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times viewed it as a good showcase for Beyoncé as a torch singer, because she convincingly sings about heartbreak and the strong emotional effect of love.[27] Pitchfork Media's Ryan Dombal found it easygoing, retro-informed, and engaging because it shows "one of the world's biggest stars exploring her talent in ways few could've predicted".[39] AllMusic's Andy Kellman said that the quality of Beyoncé's singing and the songwriting compensate for the assorted arrangement of the songs.[92] Uncut viewed it is an exceptional album in spite of occasionally trite lyrics.[99]

In a less enthusiastic review, Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly said the first-half of 4 is marred by boring ballads and the songwriting in general are not on-par with Beyoncé's vocal talent.[94] In his review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis was ambivalent towards the album's 1980s influence and argued that, despite well written songs, it is not very consequential.[95] Time magazine's Claire Suddath said the songs lack lyrical substance, even though they are performed well.[102] Greg Kot, writing in the Chicago Tribune, called 4 inconsistent, short, and unfinished.[103] NME magazine's Hamish MacBain felt Beyoncé does not progress from her past work and that "even the OK bits here" sound "uninspired".[96]

Accolades[edit]

4 was included on various publication's year-end lists. It was ranked as the best album of the year by The New Yorker,[104] and came in the runner-up spot on lists produced by Spin and Amazon.[105][106] The album was ranked within the top 10 by MSN, where it came in at number three,[107] The Guardian and MTV, which placed it at number four,[22][108] and the Chicago Sun Times, which placed it at number six.[109] The BBC ranked it at number seven,[110] while The New York Times listed it as the 10th best album of the year.[111] The album had strong showings on other lists, where it was placed number 13 by Consequence of Sound,[112] number 18 by Stereogum,[113] number 25 by Rolling Stone,[114] and number 27 by Pitchfork.[115] 4 was included in NPR's Top 50 Favorite Albums of 2011,[116] and was ranked at number 26 in the Pazz & Jop's critics poll.[117] It was listed at 37 on Rolling Stone '​s Women Who Rock: 50 Greatest Albums of All Time.[118] Pitchfork Media ranked the album at 39 on their list of the Top 100 Best Albums of the decade thus far, Kyle Kramer wrote that 4 "avoided the trappings of safe, later-career bids, instead setting up the perfect platform for Beyoncé as the pop star, a queen for all the people."[119] The album was included on Consequence of Sound's list of The 10 Best Summer Albums of All Time with Kenneth Partridge writing that "whether she's hopelessly heartbroken or crazy in love, Queen Bey works damn hard to make you feel exactly what she's feeling".[120]

4 won R&B Album of the Year at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards[121] and received nominations at the 2011 American Music Awards,[122] the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards,[123] the 38th People's Choice Awards,[124] the 43rd NAACP Image Awards[125] and the 2012 Grammis.[126] At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, "Love on Top" won the Best Traditional R&B Performance Award.[127]

Commercial performance[edit]

On its first day of release, 4 sold around 32,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[128] According to the Official Charts Company data, this was more than the combined sales of its three nearest challengers: Adele's 19 (2008) and 21 (2011) and Lady Gaga's Born This Way (2011).[128] After a week of sales, 4 debuted atop the UK Albums Chart on July 4, 2011, with first-week sales of 89,211 copies,[129] staying there for a second week with sales of 44,929 copies.[130] By May 2013, it had sold 603,548 copies in the UK.[131] 4 opened at number two on the Australian ARIA Albums chart, giving Beyoncé her highest chart debut there.[132] 4 debuted at number three on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 8,700 copies in its first week.[133] It debuted at number one in France, selling 12,393 copies in its first week.[134] According to the Japanese music charting site Oricon, the album debuted at number ten, selling 18,984 copies for the week ending July 11, 2011.[135]

In the United States, 4 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 310,000 copies.[136] This gave Beyoncé her fourth consecutive solo debut at the top of the chart, making her the second female artist and third artist overall to have her first four studio albums debut atop the Billboard 200.[136] 4 '​s first-week sales became Beyoncé's lowest sales start with a studio album to date.[136] Keith Caulfield of Billboard magazine noted that the album was not released during the festive season and that Beyoncé was so far lacking a hit single, which could help explain the album's softer entry.[136] It marks the third-largest sales week of the year, after the number one bows of Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Adele's 21."[136] 4 became the ninth numerically titled album to top the chart since 1956.[137] In its second week, the album remained at number one on the Billboard 200, despite a 63% sales decrease, selling 115,000 copies. It hence became the first album by Beyoncé to top the Billboard 200 albums chart for more than one week; an effort succeeded by her fifth album Beyoncé (2013) that remained there for three weeks.[138][139] On August 1, 2011, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having shipped 1 million copies to retail stores.[140] By May 2013, 4 had sold 3 million copies worldwide, and on July 2014, it reached sales of 1.41 million copies in the US.[141][142]

Track listings[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "1+1"  
  • Knowles
  • Nash
  • Stewart
4:33
2. "I Care"  
  • Bhasker
  • Knowles[a]
3:59
3. "I Miss You"  
  • Knowles
  • S. Taylor
2:59
4. "Best Thing I Never Had"  
  • Knowles
  • Edmonds
  • Dixon
  • S. Taylor
  • S1 & Caleb
4:13
5. "Party" (featuring André 3000)
  • Knowles
  • West
  • Bhasker[a]
4:05
6. "Rather Die Young"  
  • Bhasker
  • Knowles[a]
  • Steele[a]
3:42
7. "Start Over"  
  • Knowles
  • S. Taylor
3:19
8. "Love on Top"  
  • Knowles
  • Nash
  • S. Taylor
  • Knowles
  • S. Taylor
4:27
9. "Countdown"  
  • Knowles
  • S. Taylor
3:32
10. "End of Time"  
3:43
11. "I Was Here"   Diane Warren 3:59
12. "Run the World (Girls)"  
  • Switch
  • Nash
  • Knowles[a]
  • S. Taylor[a]
3:56
Total length:
46:33
Notes
  • ^a signifies a co-producer
  • ^b signifies an additional producer
  • ^c signifies a vocal producer
  • ^d signifies a remixer
  • The deluxe edition contains an exclusive version of the music video for "Run the World (Girls)".[145]
  • "Party" samples "La Di Da Di" as performed by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew featuring MC Ricky D. and written by Douglas Davis and Ricky Walters.[17]
  • "Countdown" samples "Uhh Ahh" as performed by Boyz II Men and written by Michael Bivins, Nathan Morris and Wanya Morris.[17]
  • "Run the World (Girls)" samples "Pon de Floor" as performed by Major Lazer and written by Afrojack, Adidja Palmer, Wesley Pentz and David Taylor.[17]

Personnel[edit]

The following people are credited on the album:[17]

Managerial

Performance credits

Visuals and imagery

Instruments

Technical and production

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Country Certifications
Australia (ARIA) Platinum[195]
Canada (Music Canada) Gold[196]
France (SNEP) Gold[197]
Ireland (IRMA) Platinum[198]
New Zealand (RMNZ) Gold[199]
Poland (ZPAV) Platinum[200]
Russia (NFPF) Gold[201]
United Kingdom (BPI) 2× Platinum[202]
United States (RIAA) Platinum[203]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition(s)
Australia[204][205] June 24, 2011 CD, digital download Standard, deluxe
Austria[206] Digital download Standard
Spain[207]
Switzerland[208]
Germany[209][210] CD, digital download Standard, deluxe
Ireland[211] Standard
Netherlands[212][213] Standard, deluxe
France[214][215] June 27, 2011
Hong Kong[216][217]
New Zealand[218][219]
Poland[220][221] Eco, standard, deluxe, reissue
United Kingdom[222][223] Standard, deluxe
Argentina[224] June 28, 2011 Digital download Standard
Brazil[225][226] CD, digital download Standard, deluxe
Canada[227][228]
United States[229]
Japan[230][231] June 29, 2011
Denmark[232][233]
Philippines[234] July 1, 2011 Standard
Thailand[235] July 6, 2011 CD
China[236] October 20, 2011
United States[147][237] July 24, 2012 Expanded edition
March 29, 2013 Digital download

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "I Care" was only released as a single in Italy,[1] and "End of Time" was only released as a single in the United Kingdom.[2]

References[edit]

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