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Beyonc? reportedly delivered over 70 songs to Columbia for her fourth solo studio album. The dozen that made the cut, combined with their sequencing, make it plain that straightforward crossover-dance singles and cohesion were not priorities. Taking it in at once is mystifying, even when little attention is paid to the lyrics. The opening "1+1," a sparse and placid vocal showcase, fades in with a somber guitar line, throws up occasional and brief spikes in energy, and slowly recedes. It's the kind of song one would expect to hear during an album's second half, certainly not as the opener -- not with the (fittingly) slight sonics and heavy lines like "Just when I ball up my fist, I realize I'm laying right next to you, baby." Three additional ballads follow. Each one features its own set of collaborators and contrasts both sonically and lyrically. "I Care" rolls in on pensive percussion and low-profile synthesizer drones, surging during a cathartic chorus. "I Miss You," alluringly bleak and hushed, is a codependent confessional. The only one that's rote, "Best Thing I Never Had" is a bombastic kiss-off saved by Beyonc?'s ability to plow through it. From there, the album restlessly bounces between tempos and moods: a desperate midtempo chest thumper, a couple cyborg marching-band dancefloor tracks, an ecstatic early-'90s throwback, yet more ballads. What's most surprising is that a song titled "Party," co-produced by Kanye West with a guest verse from Andr? 3000, quickly settles into a low-watt groove and remains there. Wildcard interludes and a Euro-pop party-anthem cash-in would be the only ways to make the album more scattered, but the strength of most of the material, propelled by Beyonc?'s characteristically acrobatic vocal skills, eases the trouble of sifting through the disjointed assortment. No one but one of the most talented and accomplished singers -- one with 16 Grammys, nothing left to prove, and every desired collaborator at her disposal -- could have made this album. [A Deluxe Edition was also released.] ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi

  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: CD
  • Sold by: HPB Bandera
  • Seller rating:
  • Label: Sony Bmg Music Entertainment
  • UPC: 887254236627


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): Book may have been read. Looks new and has no defects. May show remainder marks. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Near Fine (NF): Clean, with no defects, but may show slight wear at edges of book or dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows signs of wear. May have minor defects: clipped or chipped dust jacket; owner’s inscription; remainder mark; minor foxing or bumping. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. May have any of the defects above to a greater degree, including highlighting, library markings, or loose bindings. Rare and collectible books may have cocked spine, cracked hinges, water stains; torn or repaired dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): May be very worn, soiled, torn, or barely holding together. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): May have extensive damage from moisture or insects; detached boards; parts may be missing; marginally salable unless very unusual. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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