Beyonce has gone to Africa. Fortunately for her fans, she's returned with drum-heavy, chant-like songs such as "Till the End of Time" that make up what will be her fourth album, appropriately titled "4".
The African influence is obvious in the video and sound of lead single "Run the World (Girls)," with its aggressive production, which included everything from a sample of Major Lazer's "Pon De Floor" to a dabble in electronica.
Although "Time," rumored to be the singer's next single, is similarly inspired, subtlety and sweetness replace the aggression and angst found in "Girls." It has the spirit and etherealness of "Halo" but wouldn't seem odd on the soundtrack of a live-action version of The Lion King either.
Again, there's an odd bit of techno featured in the most discreet places, but it works against Beyonce's tribal harmonies and the stellar drum pattern.
Lyrically, there's nothing new to mention but props must be given to Ms. Knowles for forgoing a completely contemporary, radio-friendly reworking of "Halo," one of her last album's biggest hits, for something so theatrical to the ears.
While the Beyonce camp has yet to officially reveal the producer of the track, it certainly matches what the singer recently said to MTV about blending genres to create a "musical gumbo."