Following the lackluster response to Beyonce's 4, which leaked onto the Internet wholesale earlier this month, the singer's label has gone into crisis mode and is even considering another Destiny's Child reunion, The New York Post reported today.
Citing the ever-popular unnamed "industry insider," the Post's Page Six column says Sony executives are "bracing for the worst" should the album, scheduled to be released next Tuesday, not turn into a blockbuster like 2003's Dangerously In Love and 2008's I Am... Sasha Fierce.
Sony is "very nervous about Beyoncé's new record," this insider says. "It doesn't have the hit songs that her fans are used to. They asked her to make changes, but she said no."
The album's first single, "Run the World (Girls)," is currently at No. 64 on Billboard's Hot 100, down nine spots in its eighth week on the chart. The song, a sort of uptempo mash-up of TSU's "Ocean of Soul" marching band and M.I.A., peaked at No. 29, which for a superstar of Beyonce's caliber is like their movie opening in fifth place on the July 4 weekend.
The label has also had "quiet discussions" about getting Destiny's Child back into the studio, the Post adds, with one possible album title being the truly cringeworthy Family Reunion. However, this idea may itself be a dud because ex-Child Kelly Rowland's solo career has taken flight - her duet with Lil Wayne, "Motivation," is at No. 23, up two from last week.
""She has her own solo career now, why would she want to be singing backup for Beyoncé?" this insider told the Post.
Like most people, we suspect, Rocks Off has heard 4 at this point. Without question, nothing on the album has the instant-smash potential of "Dangerously In Love" or "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" - if there was, you better believe Sony would have released it by now. But there are a handful of songs, slower ballads like "Best Thing I Never Had" and "Love On Top," we can see taking root on radio and eventually becoming hits. "Growers," we believe is the proper music-biz term for that.
Here's a quick sampling of opinion on the album:
MTV UK (reviewing "I Care"): "Her vocals are flawless as she belts out notes we didn't even realise were possible."
US Magazine: "After some slow, simmering jams, it explodes for the last five tracks."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "It's a slower, more mature collection of passionate love songs better suited for fans of Diane Warren power ballads and retro '80s and early '90s R&B."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Maybe Sony ought not to panic just yet, or at least steer people toward Target stores, where the deluxe edition goes on sale Tuesday. ""Some of my favorite songs, I saved for Target," Beyonce was quoted by the Examiner on the set of a recent commercial for the retailing giant.
Mrs. Jay-Z also headlines the UK's premier summer festival, Glastonbury, alongside U2 and Coldplay this weekend.