Beyonce, "4"

<p>Ironically, it's songwriter Diane Warren and not Beyonc&#233; herself who defines the diva's fourth album, "4," with a line like, "I want to leave my footprints on the sands of time." Less flashy but just as ambitious as 2008's "I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," the new set finds Beyonc&#233; in genre-blending, career statement mode, weaving together mostly pop and R&amp;B flavors in these dozen tracks. The album is quieter and torchier than its predecessors, with the singer delivering uniformly stellar vocal performances. Rich but not over-sung, she ruminates on love ("1+1"), lost love ("Best Thing I Never Had") and the gray areas in between ("I Care," "I Miss You," "Start Over"). Messy arrangements trip up "Party" (with Andr&#233; 3000 and Kanye West) and the Boyz II Men-sampling "Countdown." But the track "Love on Top" is a buoyant slice of girl-group pop and "Run the World (Girls)" is the expected shout-out to the independent women who may or may not have put a ring on it since Ms. Fierce last reared her head.</p>