Category: Beyonce

Beyoncé lands in Billboard's top spot with '4'

BeyonceBeyoncé has earned her fourth solo No. 1 album as her latest disc, “4,” bows at the top spot on this week's Billboard charts.

Despite the album’s leak nearly three weeks ahead of its scheduled release and plenty of doubt from critics as to how it would perform, "4" logged 310,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Though the entry is Beyoncé's lowest opening week tally since her debut, 2003's "Dangerously in Love," opened with 317,000, the disc comes in third as  the largest sales week of the year, right after Lady Gaga's “Born This Way,” whose 1.1 million units came largely from being peddled for 99 cents through Amazon, and Adele's "21" (351,000).

It also cements her as only the third artist to have all four of their first four albums debut at No. 1 (Britney Spears and DMX are the other two).

How "4" would perform was being closely watched, considering lead single "Run the World (Girls)" peaked only at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- the first time a lead single from one of her projects has missed the top 10 altogether. Its follow-up, “Best Thing I Never Had,” peaked at No. 58.

Beyoncé's label, Columbia Records, went so far as to release a statement dismissing the rumors that "4" would be shelved due to the lack of radio-ready records. Early reviews of the disc were mixed; The Times' pop music critic, Randall Roberts, wrote that the disc "pushes at the edges of pop."

"All the speculation that gets around is frustrating when it's just not true," Columbia/Epic Label Group Chairman Rob Stringer told last week. "The story about us being unhappy with the record and stuff is just not true. There's never been any doubt or conversations about moving the record or changing it... Those conversations never existed. We're really, really happy with it."

Adele has of course stuck around the top 10. The singer’s breakout disc, "21," moved 92,000 additional copies, taking her to No. 2, while Kanye West’s protégé, Big Sean, debuted at No. 3 with his first album,  "Finally Famous," selling 87,000 copies. The disc is the first release under West’s new “long-term worldwide label agreement” for his label G.O.O.D. Music through Def Jam.


Review: Beyonce's '4'

Beyoncé's '4' leaks online

Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label inks deal with Def Jam

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Beyoncé performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" in New York on July 1. Credit: Charles Sykes/Associated Press

Beyoncé '4' promo push: Delay in bonus content irks buyers

Beyonce new album "4" irks some buyers

Beyoncé fans who schlepped to Target for the "4" deluxe edition had a few questions for the retail chain about the singer's new album that they took to Twitter: Where is my copy, and why can’t I access the advertised bonus content?

The singer teamed with the chain for a special version of the album with a second disc featuring six additional tracks and an “exclusive edition” of her “Run the World (Girls)” video.

Her fans vented their frustration throughout Tuesday to complain about stores in their area being sold out of the disc, and more important, they weren't able to access the special director’s cut of the video once they did buy the release.

When the disc is inserted into a computer, a message pops up that the video is still being “finalized” but promises the finished product will be “worth the wait.” Those who purchased the disc were told to try again on Friday for the video -- not a terribly long wait. A representative said the chain was “checking” on the unexpected delay and during the day tweeted fans who complained and told them to get in contact with store supervisors.

It's the only glitch in an otherwise heavy promotional blitz, which is starting to gain steam.

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Album review: Beyonce's '4'

Beyonce4 Beyoncé Knowles isn’t worried chasing fads, though she’s well aware of them. Over the years, she’s learned how to harness them so effortlessly that they seem like her ideas. Take the standout track on her new album, “4,” “I Miss You,” a slow-burn jam of desire co-written by Odd Future-affiliated crooner Frank Ocean. In its beginning moments, the song draws on the sparse wave of recent music by British band the xx by using silence as a weapon, a notion that extends across the 12-song album.

At its best, “4” pushes at the edges of pop, but unlike on her best songs, “Crazy in Love” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” she does this more with seduction than sauciness. The first four tracks are ballads, each of a different variety, and each striking in its own way. “Best Thing I Never Had” sends drum rolls through an echo chamber in a defiant track destined to offer solace in heartbroken bedrooms around the world. Even “Party,” co-written by Kanye West and featuring Andre 3000 of Outkast, is a slow-paced number that sounds like a half-speed remix of a Human League song.

The second half of the record, however, picks up, and upends the silent contemplation with the kind of dance floor fury the Queen of R&B does best. Taken together, “4” is a surprising, confident turn, even if the surprises are of a subtler variety.


Gillian Welch's 'The Harrow & the Harvest'

Marianne Faithfull's 'Horses and High Heels'

Dolly Parton's 'Better Day'

— Randall Roberts

Three stars

Beyoncé's '4' leaks online, three weeks before release

4_album_-_Beyonce Not even Beyoncé is immune to the dangers of leaks.

On Tuesday morning, Twitter was abuzz with folks tweeting about the leak of yet another track, "Party," an André 3000-assisted midtempo produced by Kanye West and Consequence.  

That song's premature release was quickly followed by the surfacing of the Boyz II Men-sampling “Countdown.”

Clearly someone had their hands on Beyoncé's highly anticipated disc “4,” which isn’t scheduled for release until June 28.

It didn't take long for the full album to surface, though her label is attempting to chase the offending sites down.

Popular music blogs including That Grape Juice and PinBoard Blog have removed “Party” and “Countdown,” reportedly due to cease-and desist notices from the singer’s legal team, and after reporting the album had leaked in full,  Oh No They Didn't, the largest community on LiveJournal, is removing links to the album in its comment section.

But that isn’t stopping people from taking to Twitter to throw up links, as it’s a bit trickier to stem this flow. Could this be a potential hazard? The album’s first single, the dancehall jam “Run the World (Girls),” didn’t perform like previous first singles “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” "Déjà Vu” and “Crazy In Love” (though at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, the track is at its highest entry). Reps for the singer didn't return requests for comment.

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Beyoncé debuts new single, 'Best Thing I Never Had'

BEYONCE Beyoncé certainly knows how to dump a man in style.

The singer debuted her new single, “Best Thing I Never Had,” on Wednesday morning and it’s quickly drawing comparisons to her hit kiss-off anthems “Irreplaceable” and “If I Were a Boy.”

Lifted from her upcoming disc “4,” the Babyface-penned pop/R&B mid-tempo is familiar territory for Bey: An unworthy suitor is getting his walking papers, though this time she didn’t wait for the relationship to go sour. She tells him, “When I think of the time I almost loved you/ You showed your ass and I saw the real you.”

“Best Thing I Never Had,” was produced by Symbolyc One, the Dallas-based producer responsible for Kanye West’s “POWER.”

The album’s first single, the erratic dancehall number “Run the World (Girls),” stalled on the charts (it currently rests at No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at No. 33). With this one, fans and critics will certainly embrace Bey at her finest, and most scornful.

Take a listen after the jump:

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'American Idol': Five lessons Beyonce should have taught the finalists


The “American Idol” kids have gotten very spoiled in these final weeks of the competition.

After being mentored by Lady Gaga last week, the Top Three got advice from another platnium-heeled diva: Beyoncé.

Before the singer premiered the video to her new single, “Run the World (Girls),” she doled out advice for the three remaining contestants.

Always the consummate performer, Beyoncé, much like Gaga, has become known for her live shows. So,  it was a bit surprising to see the singer focus solely on the technical workings of contestants' vocals. 

She praised Haley Reinhart’s "warm tone" and "risky" song choices, told young 'un Scotty McCreery that she was interested in seeing him reach into the higher notes of his baritone, and reminded Lauren Alaina that she created alter-ego Sasha Fierce strictly to help her nerves and help her believe that she’s “strong … fearless … and ... a diva.”

Maybe she didn’t want to give them all her secrets, but with only two divas-in-training left (and a reminder that a female hasn’t won since 2007), here are five things we wished Bey would have taught the finalists, especially the girls:

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Beyoncé to release single 'Run the World (Girls)' to radio, iTunes Thursday

Run-the-world-girls Beyoncé is done making her fans wait.

After the singer’s new single, “Run the World (Girls),” leaked and caused a frenzy among her fans, the speculation on when the single would get an official release ran rampant online.

But the singer, who is gearing up for her fourth solo album, has announced the album’s first offering will be issued to iTunes and radio Thursday morning.

“Run the World (Girls)” fits right into the former Destiny's Child frontwoman’s long line of club-ready girl-power anthems.

The track features a direct sample of Diplo and Switch’s Major Lazer project, specifically the gritty dancehall hit, “Pon De Floor” and was co-written by Beyoncé and The-Dream; they also worked together on her smash “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” 

To further whet fans' appetites, the singer released a quick (and we mean 17 seconds quick) teaser of the upcoming Francis Lawrence-directed clip, but the only image we see of her is on the back of a horse.

In photos that circulated online, Beyoncé can be seen commanding what appears to be a post-apocalyptic war zone, donning an elaborate gold headdress and holding a red flag emblazoned with a black “B.” 

Watch the teaser here.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: “Run the World (Girls)” single cover. Credit: Courtesy of Columbia Records

Beyonce severs management ties with father

Beyonce Beyonce has ended her management relationship with her father, Mathew Knowles, it was announced Monday.

Her publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, issued a statement that the multi-platinum Grammy-winning singer and her father have parted ways "on a business level."

The elder Knowles has managed his daughter since she debuted in the late '90s as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, while her mother, Tina Knowles, acted as her stylist.

Beyonce's father went on to manage the careers of her groupmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams both as a trio and on their respective solo projects. He also manages his daughter (and Beyonce's sister) Solange.

In the past few years, Rowland and Williams have severed professional ties with Mathew, the man who had shaped their careers.

Beyonce said via her publicist that she is grateful for the role her father has had in her career.

"He is my father for life and I love my dad dearly," she said in the short statement.

Though rumors that she would be managed by husband Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company have swirled since he founded the company in 2008, no new management deal has been announced.

She is working on the follow up to “I Am … Sasha Fierce.”

— Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Beyonce performs at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 31, 2010, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.

BMI's How I Wrote That Song panel offers a glimpse into the magic of hitmaking [Video]

The songwriters behind smash hits from Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears and Beyonce discuss how they wrote the hits at a roundtable event.


It came as a bit of a surprise to see the line of eager last-minute ticket buyers and attendees stretching down the block outside West Hollywood’s Key Club on Saturday. Although Cee Lo Green, Seal and the Neptunes’ Chad Hugo were inside, they weren’t performing. Instead, they were talking songwriting along with lesser-known, behind-the-scenes hit authors Bonnie McKee, BC Jean and Claude Kelly during BMI’s How I Wrote That Song panel.

The writers behind the sticky hooks and melodies that reigned in pop and R&B sat down with Grammy-winning producer Dallas Austin and BMI Vice President Catherine Brewton for an in-depth discussion on the particulars of their respective hits.

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Herbie Hancock + a Beatle? = Grammy time

Herbie Hancock 2011 Grammy Awards-Allen J. Schaben 
A night of full of upsets and other surprises started early with Grammy voters’ verdict in the pop collaboration with vocals category. In a field featuring tracks that teamed superstar combinations of Eminem, B.o.B. and Hayley Williams; Elton John and Leon Russell; Lady Gaga and Beyoncé; and Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg, the Grammy went to … Herbie Hancock.

Now, we know how much the Grammys love Herbie, most illustriously when he took the 2008 album of the year award for "River: The Joni Mitchell Letters” album of the celebrated singer-songwriter's music. This time, he trumped the pop, rock, rap and R&B heavy hitters with his version of John Lennon's "Imagine,” from his "The Imagine Project" collection, for which he was joined on the Grammy-winning track by Pink, India.Arie and a group of international friends.

The award also delivered yet another example of the Grammy night adage: Never underestimate the power of a Beatle.

The music industry's love affair with the Beatles surfaced two other times Sunday, with awards to Paul McCartney for solo rock vocal for his rendition of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" from his “Good Evening New York City” live album, and the award for historical album for "The Beatles in Stereo," the 16-disc box set that packaged stereo versions of all the Fab Four's original studio albums.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Herbie Hancock at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.



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