The Word On... Beyonce, 4

"A diva of the first order, Beyoncé sells whatever she's singing, and '4' sees her stretching out vocally... Beyoncé's artistic maturation on '4' features some growing pains, but the album's polish and her poise go a long way toward masking those flaws."

"She's still a nearly peerless vocal performer, and if that's the one edge she retains over her otherwise edgier contemporaries, then it's probably for the best that her material be simple enough for her voice to really shine."

"Beyoncé slips from flirty to fragile to fabulous, and is in terrific voice throughout, reminding us that when she opens up there's no one else in the game."