Feed Limmy Albums of 2011: #10 – #1

Look at your tired ass coming back here for the sixth time in three weeks – thank you for your curiousity and dedication to the most unnecessarily prolonged albums and songs of the year countdown ever.

These final 10 albums that stand before us have all been on high rotation from the minute they shuffled into my iTunes library, so there’s really no second guessing my love for them. They’re not necessarily the most critically acclaimed or commercially lauded albums, but all 10 of them had me hooked with their stunning combination of pop correctness, soul and sparkle.

Some of these albums have been rather defining because they showcased a different musical angle for the artists. It is these “turning points” that I reckon we’ll be debating about for years to come. We’ve also got a small gathering of flawless debut albums that have no doubt raised the bar for all subsequent releases. I’ve spent far too much time compiling this list and writing the reviews only because these albums have made such an impact in my year.

So here’s a quick refresher on Feed Limmy’s Top 30 Albums of 2011 before I let y’all have it with the final 10:

#30 – Megalomania by Aqua
#29 – Prismophonic by Christophe Willem
#28 – The Sea by Melanie C
#27 – Miss Little Havana by Gloria Estefan
#26 – When The Sun Goes Down by Selena Gomez & The Scene
#25 – Parade by Parade
#24 – As If! (EP) by Sky Ferreira
#23 – From Here to Anywhere by Sneaky Sound System
#22 – Love? by Jennifer Lopez
#21 – Sticks + Stones by Cher Lloyd
#20 – Killer Love by Nicole Scherzinger
#19 – Who You Are by Jessie J
#18 – Heaven by Rebecca Ferguson
#17 – Secret Codes and Battleships by Darren Hayes
#16 – Vows by Kimbra
#15 – Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
#14 – Falling & Flying by 360
#13 – 21 by Adele
#12 – Up All Night by One Direction
#11 – 2nd Mini Album (EP) by 2NE1

#10 Here I Am (International Edition) by Kelly Rowland

Kelendria Trene Rowland is probably one of the most mentioned names on my Twitter, Facebook and blog this year. The ‘Motivation’-al diva deserves some kudos for the consistent body of American R&B she’s serving here, even if the listening experience is somewhat disrupted by the two oddly-placed dance singles ‘Commander’ and ‘Down For Whatever’.

Kelendria‘s mission to amalgamate her urban roots and growing dance music persuasion really flopped in this project because both sides weren’t fairly represented. Here I Am feels like a full-fleshed R&B album accessorised with a few modest dance tracks. Even when she’s desperately padding out the international version with her David Guetta (‘When Love Takes Over’), Alex Gaudino (‘What A Feeling’) and Diplo (‘Motivation’ remix) collabos, their inclusion felt more like an afterthought rather than a properly integrated effort.

Where the music styles appear a bit schizophonic, the one consistent theme with Here I Am is the intense sexual energy that radiates through almost every track. You gotta admire Kelendria‘s dedication to sexy times – she will let you have it with summery numbers like ‘Lay It On Me’  and put it down on nocturnal, neo-tribal beats in ‘Each Other’. Need some suggestions for places to make love? Kelendria got chu covered. “There’s no place I wouldn’t go, tonight I’m ready to take it anywhere,” she assures us on ‘Down For Whatever’, her ode to sex on the dance floor. How about that offer of doing it “in the middle of the bedroom, the kitchen or the hallway” on her baby-making slow jam ‘All of The Night’?

Basically, now that Bey‘s busy singing the praises of married life, Kelly‘s taken over to rep for their generation of single, independent women who know what they want and are not afraid to own it. We’re talking about women who are in control in the bedroom and in charge of their destiny. “I’m not cocky, I just love myself. ‘Cause he can’t buy a ring I can’t buy myself!” – she spits on the ferocious fist-pumping anthem ‘I’m Dat Chick’. The self-love continues on ‘Feeling Me Right Now’, a track that hears Kelendria checking herself out in a club.

Even though I’m always partial to Kelly‘s Eurodance direction, Here I Am unexpectedly turned me onto her R&B side. Feminine, alluring and in control – Here I Am is undoubtedly the strongest Kelly Rowland album yet.

Key tracks: ‘I’m Dat Chick’, ‘Down For Whatever’, ‘Lay It On Me’ and ‘Each Other’.

#9 Glamazon by RuPaul

“Sashay, shanté! Panther on the runway!” I don’t know if people really give RuPaul the credit she deserves as a bonafide pop songwriter but snaps away for that reference to her classic saying on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Glamazon is one of the most life-giving albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The positive energy and uplifting message was just what I needed to hear this year. There were months were I just felt flat, not wanting to get out of bed, but I would blast this record in the morning, make a cup of coffee and force myself to get dressed, even though I had nowhere to go. It encouraged me to draw on my inner-fierce at a time where I wasn’t even sure if I had it in me anymore.

The anthemic album opener ‘The Beginning’ appropriately foreshadows the fun and wave of positivity to come. “That was then, this is now! Here we go, starting over. You decide. Change your mind! Miracles happen everyday,” she urges.

There’s also a smattering of strutworthy tracks to help you out of your seat like the sassy ‘Click Clack (Make Dat Money)’ – a dedication to high heels that stomps all over Jessica Mauboy‘s ‘Get ‘Em Girls’ effort – and, of course, the blazing title track. Let me tell you, ‘Glamazon’ actually sounds like the most “commercially viable” single Ru has done in years. The Eurodance-inflected beats and vocal production is so now. The lyrics – designed to tease out your inner goddess – works as a universal anthem for both women and gays alike, so I don’t see why this can’t be a proper mainstream crossover.

There’s an emphatic nod to the 80s on the album, especially with tracks like ‘(Here It Comes) Around Again’ and the intergalactic mega dance ballad ‘Responsitrannity’. The latter really is the most important track on the album – possibly even Ru‘s career – and it will no doubt live on as the tranma’s eternal message to her drag children. “It’s your responsitrannity, don’t forget! Don’t forget who you are. Yes it’s true, true for all of you. We are all stars. We are all stars…” she assures.

It don’t matter if you’re a Drag Race fanatic or general appreciator of pop music, nobody should be denied Glamazon‘s mantra of love, positivity and self-empowerment. Now go forth, buy the album and may the fierce be with you.

Key tracks: ‘Responsitrannity’, ‘Glamazon’, ‘Superstar’ and ‘The Beginning’.

#8 Femme Fatale by Britney Spears

I don’t know about y’all but I reckon this would have to be one of Britney‘s best albums yet. You just know from the second you finish your first listen through of Femme Fatale that this is the fun, flirtier counterpart to her classic Blackout.

Femme Fatale is a king hit of infectious pop from start to finish, serving the freshest American pop melodies and commercial dance beats money can buy. The bank-breaking list of top producers and songwriters involved have all delivered the goods but this project probably wouldn’t have developed an identity or been as cohesive if it wasn’t overseen by Dr Luke, the man responsible for Katy Perry and Ke$ha‘s mega hit albums.

When was the last time Britney dropped a body of work that was both cohesive and ready to break a new sound? I’ll leave you to discuss that amongst yourselves. Sonically, Femme Fatale may have taken huge bites out of Ke$ha‘s Animal and regurgitated it with more complex flavours, but I don’t even think anyone’s checking for that. This exactly what a major American popstar of Britney‘s calibre should be coming out with anyway.

Monster party tracks like ‘Till The World Ends’, ‘I Wanna Go’ and ‘Big Fat Bass’ (feat. will.i.am) never fails to lift the mood and inspire ridiculous chest-pumping choreography from yours truly. But really, it’s the quirkier tracks in Femme Fatale that keeps me fixated, like the tremendous dubstep-inflected ballad ‘Inside Out’ and ‘How I Roll’, which reminds me a lot of Robyn‘s addictive pop crack: ‘Fembot’.

Femme Fatale is, for the most part, like a dirty Disney movie for early 20s party- goers. It’s filled with these romantic ideals of “meeting someone in a club and falling in love etc.” Nobody plays out a song filled sexual tension quite like Britney. The lead single ‘Hold It Against Me’ describes a spontaneous, carnal attraction on the dance floor that had me fantasising about slamming a hot guy up against the wall and mouthing, “If I said my heart was beating loud, if we could escape the crowd somehow. If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”

Elsewhere, ‘(Drop Dead) Beautiful’, ‘Seal It With A Kiss’ and even the slightly complicated ‘He About To Lose Me’ all set up similar scenes. For someone who had just come out of a significant relationship this time last year – and hadn’t actually been on a date since April 2008 – I am fucking lapping up everything Britney‘s selling here. Man, I wish I was “touching hands with someone seriously beautiful” tonight.

Key tracks: ‘Inside Out’, ‘Criminal’, ‘Till The World Ends’ and ‘He About To Lose Me’.

#7 Voyage by The Sound of Arrows

Y’know, when the tastemakers get it right they really get it right. After hearing so much buzz and excitement on the blogosphere about The Sound of Arrows‘ debut album, I finally jumped on board and went on a Voyage to remember.

The Swedish duo takes listeners on a journey through some impressive 80s synthpop soundscapes with the help of co-pilot, Richard X – one of my all time favourite music producers.

I hadn’t realised this at my point of entry but The Sound of Arrows‘ album is actually the third album in my Top 10 to feature Richard X‘s production. The amazing British music producer has been so instrumental in shaping my taste in pop and electronica in the past with gems like Rachel Stevens‘ ‘Some Girls’ and Annie‘s ‘Songs Remind Me of You’ – I can’t help but feel like 2011 is my second wave of X-orcism thanks to The Sound of Arrows, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Will Young‘s albums.

TSoA + X [Editor’s note: careful, this is starting to look like algebra] have achieved some immaculate, wistful pop together that should appeal to appreciators of Pet Shop Boys. Tracks like the euphoric ‘Magic’ – with gleeful children singing in the chorus – captures the wide-eyed essence of this youthful, dream pop album. But really, for the most part, Voyage is not as lighthearted as the aforementioned single suggests. The beauty lies in how seamlessly this album glides you from dark, vacuous tracks like ‘Hurting All The Way’ through to pulsating, stroblit productions such as ‘Nova’.

Despite the quick-shot comparisons to Pet Shop Boys largely thanks to the chilled male vocals and atmospheric synthpop, I reckon Voyage would still resonate with young, indie electro fans who have no concept of the synthpop godfathers. Pure m-a-g-i-c.

Key tracks: ‘Magic’, ‘Disappear’, ‘My Shadow’ and ‘Ruins of Rome’

#6 Make A Scene by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

British pop’s missus of cool Sophie Ellis-Bextor really had me gagging on the immensity of her first full-bodied dance album. I pity those simple fans who skip the Scene because they feel like it’s too obvious and “Ibiza” to be a proper SEB pop record. Behind the slamming beats and different streams of electronica on display still lies mega pop melodies with marvelous lyrics.

Tracks like the petulant ‘Revolution’ (which was co-written by Cathy Dennis and produced by Greg Kurstin, the same duo responsible for Sophie‘s 2007 single ‘Catch You’) packs a punch with a reference you’re unlikely to forget. “Face to face, it’s murder on the dancefloor. Cut to the chase, just give us what we came for!” Such lyrical brilliance. I absolutely get a kick out of artists who reference their own hits.

At its climax, Make A Scene totally decimates the speakers with some of SEB‘s most unapologetically club-centric work to date. I am, of course, referring to the key dance collabos with Freemasons (‘Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer’), Armin Van Buuren (‘Not Giving Up On Love’), Junior Caldera (Can’t Fight This Feeling’) and Calvin Harris (‘Off & On’).

I don’t know about you, but because the first three collabos were all released with the DJs as the prime artist (“featuring or vs. Sophie”), I’ve kinda gotten it in my head that they’re sort of the album’s step children? Like, the only reason they’re here is because the bitch felt obligated to invite them over as you do with Christmas family get-togethers. It’s plain insanity because ‘Heartbreak’ and ‘Not Giving Up’ were all originally presented as Sophie album tracks but because “Sophie Ellis-Bextor singles” aren’t exactly the shit no more, the label went with a different angle and had them released as dance collabos instead. Then there’s also the visual alienation of their random single artworks. If I don’t see a resemblance in your single artwork to the parent album, you’re a muhfuggin’ “step child record”.

Muscly club releases aside, the Scene is just as impressive when it’s not flexing and cruising comfortably with 80s electro ballads like ‘Starlight’ and the bewitching ‘Magic’, both courtesy of Richard X. There is actually a bit more variety than just four on the floor in the SceneMademoiselle E-B capably channels Blondie on the feisty ‘Dial My Number’, while its sister track ‘Homewrecker’ recalls the dry pop hooks of the Read My Lips era. Thoroughly engaging.

Key tracks: ‘Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer’, ‘Starlight’, ‘Magic’ and ‘Synchronised’.

#5 With The Music I Die by Wynter Gordon

My favourite debutantess of dance Wynter Gordon completely delivered with her spirited first LP With The Music I Die and frankly, I don’t see myself ever backing down from an opportunity to tout this album when someone mentions ‘Dirty Talk’. It is of extreme importance that people who only know that song don’t think that’s all there is to the girl.

This debut album has been a long time coming for fans like me who have been following Wynter since her R&B beginnings circa ‘Surveillance’. It has been a pleasure watching the hardworking singer/songwriter develop as a dance pop artist and approaching this genre with such an attention to mega melodies and youthful exuberance.

The massive party record ‘Til Death’ (co-written by Vitamin C) still has me throwing down everything the minute I hear the ticking beat kick in. I am really glad the world’s now more familiar with the Denzal Park single remix because that version just upgrades the rapturous chorus like no other mix I’ve come across.

‘Buy My Love’ (produced by Axwell of Swedish House Mafia) is a fluorescent summer pop record that feels like a long lost Gwen Stefani smash. So totally quotable. “No need to thank me baby, your credit card will do!” And the flirtation continues on the 90s-fantastic ‘Drunk On Your Love’ (written and produced by Australia’s own Nervo – the twins who penned hits for David Guetta and Kylie). Seriously that hectic breakdown with the mad echo pedal? Too much.

All in all, Wynter Gordon’s album makes a timely arrival in a pop market that hasn’t been more receptive to dance music since the early 90s. However, where that trend has kept our Top 40 jumping with hits after hits about partying and “running the night”, With The Music I Die manages to avoid that clichéd lyrical trap.

‘Back to You’ – the sole introspective ballad on the album – is a lonely mind’s reflection on a love discarded. God, I remember just completely breaking down behind the wheel when I first heard this. “I’m a fabulous example of an exhausted wanderer. I can walk all day and smile that this year is success, but it don’t mean shit unless you’re here and you’re not. I’m a mess.” This line on New Year’s Eve? Mmph.

Wrapping up in barely over half an hour, With The Music I Die is a concise cut of all killers, no fillers. I recall all the times I’ve spoken to Wynter about the album before it came out, trying to speculate what kind of “dance music” direction she was going for and all she could do was gush, “it’s a masterpiece… when you guys hear the album, no one is gonna feel like this is just a dance album. They’ll be like, this is music.” Insert voice over, “With The Music I Die”.

Key tracks: ‘Still Getting Younger’, ‘Til Death (Denzal Park Radio Edit)’, ‘Drunk On Your Love’, ‘Rumba’ and ‘Back To You’.

#4 Echoes by Will Young

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the presence of the most important Will Young album to date. Am I right or am I just fucking right? Echoes is the evolution I’ve been waiting for from the serial beige balladeer. This is the future.

Album producer Richard X really was the only man capable of achieving this sophisticated combination of ethereal electro pop with a bittersweet tinge and I’m so glad he did the whole damn thing. Echoes is beautifully consistent from start to finish with this slow burning pace required of introspective albums like this.

Tracks like the stunning lead single ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Hearts On Fire’ are all good places to turn to for “walking pace” standards but no one passing by should go without experiencing the seductive ‘I Just Want A Lover’. Bitches, this is Will Young shedding his trademark cardigan-totting pop for some dark, 70s Castro disco realness. It is properly defining.

Having said that, Echoes is not some demure exhibition of Will Young the closet disco diva. Every track here is rendered with some level of melancholy that I find so appealing. Will really is a master of writing songs from an outsider’s perspective. He has a way of capturing that complicated combination of detachment and attachment in relationships – especially in songs like ‘Silent Valentine’. “People comment around us on what a pair we make. It’s been three years or maybe more, feels like a day. Still you make my heart ache… walking away is the hardest thing to do but I must leave. It’s why I’m feeling, you’ll always be my silent valentine,” he sings.

Then there ‘s ‘Lie Next To Me’, which I’m gonna call out as the “sequel” to ‘Leave Right Now’ no one was counting on. “I see you got all that you wanted. You seem so happy this time around… since you went I can get lonely. I’ll spare you all the details. Took something from me, that’s the way it goes. It sent me slightly off the rails,” he confesses.

Moody, introspective yet so quietly stylish – Echoes really is the “glass of wine” kinda companion for your lonely Saturday nights.

Key tracks: ‘Jealousy’, ‘I Just Want A Lover’, ‘Good Things’ and ‘Runaway’.

#3 Cinderella’s Eyes by Nicola Roberts

Of course you knew that Chairman Nicola Roberts was gonna show up somewhere in the loftier end of my Top 10. After playing it non-stop for the last three months, I think it’s fair to say that I’m properly obsessed with this album and everything about the Girls Aloud siren we all affectionately call “Ginge”.

Cinderella’s Eyes is hands down, the most fascinating debut album of 2011 for me. Nicola manages to pull off edgy with incredible pop sensibilities – something mainstream music mongers are either gonna get or feel confuzzled by.

The album’s texture wavers from spiky aggressive stompers like ‘Gladiator’ through to lo-fi indie electro moments like ‘i’, in which Nicola pretty much reads off a list of things she’s fearful of. Check: “I’m scared to wake up one day and find that my bubble’s burst. I’m scared that someone else has got the new collection first. I’m scared of seeing ghosts, I’m scared of the unknown. I’m scared to be some two faced person’s little stepping stone.”

It’s this level of vulnerability in Nicola‘s raw and unapologetic lyrics that makes Cinderella’s Eyes so authentic. The heartbreaking ‘sticks + stones’ hears Ginge open up about the years of tabloid bullying she’s endured for being a little different from her band mates. “Too young to buy my own bottle of vodka so I begged the driver, please I need another. How funny that I was too young for so many things but you thought I’d cope with being told I’m ugly,” she sings. Even though ‘sticks + stones’ is such an intensely personal account, there’s something very universal in the way it speaks to anyone who’s ever been picked on or felt out of place.

There are so many lines scattered throughout this album that are just so me. This notion of putting on a brave face and “getting on with it” on days when you just feel incredibly sensitive and vulnerable really reflects my way of being. “Hush little babe, don’t overreact. Keep it all in and hold it all back. Hush little darling, time to save face. Give it some time, go down with some grace,” she sings on the anthemic ‘Say It Out Loud’ – as if she were reading my mind.

Key tracks: ‘Yo-Yo’, ‘sticks + stones’, ‘Lucky Day’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Say It Out Loud’.

#2 Born This Way by Lady Gaga

I do love me a complex pop album that can be as abstract and as predictable as I chose to read it – and Lady Gaga‘s immense sophomore Born This Way is just one of those extravaganzas that’ll keep the kids talking for years to come.

The budding pop icon and serial wank-talk philosopher is without question one of the most fascinating performers and musicians of our generation. Everybody has an opinion about The Germ‘s image, personality and performance style but at the core of all this, what I appreciate most about Gaga is how seriously she takes pop, and how serious she is about shattering this illusion that present day pop music is disposable and devoid of anything worth considering a “classic”. Whether she has legitimately produced a timeless classic in Born This Way is something that has yet to be realised. At this point of the procession, I’d like to point out that my definition of a “classic album” often has no bearing whatsoever on general consensus. See Limoncé‘s 2002 album of the year: Brandy‘s Full Moon.

There is an articulate review of Born This Way on my friend AdemWithAnE‘s blog that pretty much sums up how I feel about the album at this point, after living it for seven months. The journey has been rough and my faith in Mother Monster‘s definitely been tested far too many times, but what keeps me coming back to Born This Way week after week is the slamming, industrial-strength Euro club beats and utterly bonkers melodies. I’m not really here for the cod sentiments and biblical themes, I’m more fascinated with the overall sonic direction Gaga and state-of-the-art pop productions here.

Runway-ready bangers like ‘Government Hooker’, ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ and ‘Scheiße’ all sound like something underground dance artists would turn out and develop into a cult fave. It’s rather amazing to think that an artist as ubiquitous as Gaga could still go away and pull out tracks that are slightly off-mainstream topic but still catchy enough to be considered great pop. It’s the slightly odd and not-so-radio friendly tracks that upgrade my experience of Gaga the pop artiste. I mean, fuck, ‘Americano’ is like the mariachi band from hell’s gates performing over speaker-pulverising club beats. How can you resist?

On the flip side, I am also extremely attracted to the flamboyant 90s club pop melodies and obvious pop references. Tracks like ‘Marry The Night’ explodes with a hook that effortlessly channels some Real McCoy realness while ‘Born This Way’ shamelessly plunders ‘Express Yourself’. Elsewhere, shiners like ‘Fashion of His Love’ takes a bite out of Whitney‘s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ while ‘You and I’ takes on Shania Twain, complete with some fitting country glam rock production by Robert “Mutt” Lange (Ms Twain’s ex-hubby and main producer).

Regardless of what you think of GagaBorn This Way is one of the mightiest pop releases in 2011. In an era where so many top-selling popstars are playing it safe by recycling beats from the same, tired ass producers, Gaga‘s gone one step further with an elaborate pastiche project that strangely, at the end of the day, stands as a cohesive and defining body of work in its own right.

Key tracks: ‘The Edge of Glory’, ‘Bloody Mary’, ‘Americano’, ‘Judas’ and ‘Scheiße’.

#1 4 by Beyoncé

This is kinda like the time your high school best friend invited you to this awesome party where there’s promise of “games and loads of cool people” and you turn up to find yourself at a Hillsong youth group meeting. Yes, boo. You got played. Welcome to the Holy Tabernacle of 4 where we’ll be commencing praise and worship for our Lord Beysus in 15 minutes.

I distinctly remember the day that 4 prematurely leaked all over the interwebs. [Editor’s note: put the kettle on, love. This is some story] I had woken up with all the best intentions to look for work and service my Facebook and Twitter community with witty commentary when this epidemic broke out. Gurl, it was devastation of the highest order. At first, I wasn’t exactly sure of what we were dealing with but all I know is there were suddenly “hundreds” of Bey stans crying and shaking on my Twitter timeline.

I contemplated for a split second whether I should wait for the official release but then I slapped myself with the realisation that it is a muhfuggin’ new Beyoncé album we’re dealing with here – and one that’s actually complete and ready for the taking anyway. The early feasting of 4 actually set me up for life because I was able to dedicate an entire afternoon of uninterrupted Bey time that day, and I’ll never take that initial thorough immersion for granted. 4 is not Beyoncé‘s most commercially friendly album – it is not here to instantly gratify with another palm-flipping uptempos a la ‘Single Ladies’. It’s a full-bodied soul record for the most part, and the emotional delivery really requires your undivided attention in order for you to feel all it has to offer.

In terms of vocal extravagance, 4 is groundbreaking for a Bey project. Anyone who’s ever had the privilege of experiencing a Beyoncé live performance would be familiar with the megastar’s aggressive, soulful vocal stylings but that, strangely enough, has never been adequately captured in her studio albums before. 4 lets these children have it in the realest way.

Tracks like the slow-burning love ballad ‘1+1’ and angsty ‘I Care’ all sound exactly like something straight out of a live show recording, complete with the full band and orchestra spectacle. Speaking of the instrumentation, 4‘s colourful organic production is one of the clearest highlights in 2011 pop music. In an era where everyone’s grasping for synth-laden dance pop and precise electronic beats, Bey takes us back to a time where music sounded fuller and richer.

There are throwbacks to Soul Train goodness in the euphoric ‘Love On Top’, complete with a series of cardiac-arresting key changes, and 80s Prince-glinting glory in ‘Schoolin’ Life’ – which I’m happy to dub as the most important Bey track since ‘Crazy In Love’. Elsewhere, there’s the highly kinetic ‘End of Time’, with flawless beats that call out to Africa.

Having said that, this isn’t about recapturing the “good old days” of sumptuous soulful pop. If you pay attention, you’ll find several elements of 4 rendered with very modern and very present time production values. The killer single ‘Countdown’ blows out contemporary urban beats with sassy verses that sound precisely like something designed for today’s market, with nods to dancehall and funk.

4 is also Queen Bey‘s most personal album to date and with a lot of these songs, there’s a level of detail and emotional investment not heard before in Dangerously In Love, B’Day or even I Am… Sasha Fierce. There is an openness in this era not experienced before with the intensely private star. Songs like the aforementioned ‘Countdown’ celebrates Bey and Jay-Z‘s 10-year deep relationship and plans for the future, “I’m trying to make a three, from the two. Still the one!”

Eight years ago, her debut album Dangerously in Love introduced the world to a confident, young Bey, now with 4 we’re living a whole new chapter in Bey‘s womanhood with songs that are more directly connected with her as a person and artist. There’s a sense of fulfillment in the way she’s singing about love and life now, but also in her contribution to the world. See the career-defining ballad ‘I Was Here’, written specifically by Diane Warren for Bey, for more details.

Key tracks: ‘I Was Here’, ‘Schoolin’ Life’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘I Miss You’.


Thank you for reading and supporting Feed Limmy and my writing in 2011. Much love to you all!

Read the individual album reviews for Feed Limmy’s Albums of 2011: #30 – #21 and #20 – #11.



  1. Thankyou Limmy for all the effort you put into this blog. Love reading it every time i get a chance. I always live for the X Factor recaps and the all important end of year countdowns. I agree for the most part with your top 10 albums, especially King B at number 1. I like your countdowns because it forces me to think about mine. So to satisfy your curiosity here are my top ten albums from 2011.

    Special Mention to Cher Lloyd – Sticks + Stones

    10. Katy B – On A Mission
    9. Wynter Gordon – With The Music I Die
    8. Nicola Roberts – Cinderella’s Eyes
    7. Natalia Kills – Perfectionist
    6. Cocknbullkid – Adulthood
    5. Sneaky Sound System – From Here to Anywhere
    4. Rebecca Ferguson – Heaven
    3. Lady GaGa – Born This Way
    2. Marlon Roudette – Matter Fixed
    1. Beyonce – 4

    Here is to another year of pop brilliance from Limmy! x

    • Thank you Mat, you are too kind! Totally appreciate it :) x

      Also, wow at CockNBullKid being rated so high up! I mean, I know we both said we loved it at the start of the year but you know, there just weren’t as many standout tracks for me? I loved ‘Asthma Attack’, ‘Yellow’ and probably ‘Hold On To Your Misery’?

      Who’s Marlon Roudette? Have to check this out.

      • Yeah with cocknbullkid those are the standouts upon the first listen but after not listening to it for a few months and then picking it up again, other tracks really made me happy, like ‘I Deserve It’, ‘One Eye Closed’ and ‘Distractions’ (Best on the album for me).

        Marlon Roudette is one half of Mattafix, he went solo in 2011, every single track on his album is catchy, depressing, uplifting, fantastic. Check out ‘Anti Hero’, ‘New Age’ and ‘Brotherhood of the Broken’. Such an amazing album in my opinion :D

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