Why Beyoncé’s 4 Deserved Better

"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." That's how Beyoncé described her approach to 4, her aptly-titled fourth studio album, on her website upon the LP's release in the summer of 2011.

The album arrived at a transitional period in the superstar's solo career, a career that's since come to be clearly delineated by two defining eras.

(That is, if you don't take into consideration her prior work...

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