Columbia Records executives fear Beyoncé’s new album, “4,” could be a dud after she refused to return to the studio to re-record new tracks, sources say. “They’re very nervous about Beyoncé’s new record,” an industry insider told us. “It doesn’t have the hit songs that her fans are used to. They asked her to make changes, but she said no.” Bracing for the worst, Columbia suits are strategizing in case of slower sales and have had “quiet discussions” about the reunion of Destiny’s Child. “Beyoncé’s career has stalled a bit,” a source told us. “Columbia seems to think they can get some mileage out of a comeback record with all of the girls.” Another source tells us Destiny’s Child could start recording together as early as October, with a suggested album title “Family Reunion.” But Kelly Rowland might not be eager to join forces again. Our source said, “She has her own solo career now, why would she want to be singing back up for Beyoncé?” A Columbia rep told us, “All I know is that the record came in . . . Nothing was ever discussed to change it.” Beyoncé’s rep said, “All of this is completely untrue. All of it.” Rowland’s rep didn’t get back to us.Mrs Carter doesn't care. She's in love and ready to birth some babies. This album is a 44-minute love letter to her husband so why would she want to change a thing? "4" is chock full of ballads (some of our favorites, the mid-tempo "I Care", the smooth and interestingly composed "Countdown" and “I Was Here”) but it closes with that dud, Run the World (Girls) -- which seems completely out of place. While we don't hate the album, we find it to be vapid and haphazard; We give it a C -- mostly because of "Girls". Is it too late to re-hire Mathew Knowles as her manager? And can we get a video for "End of Time" and "Schoolin' Life", please. Thank you.
Update, June 29: Columbia/Epic Label Group Chairman Rob Stringer refutes the Post's anonymous source telling Billboard "all the speculation that gets around is frustrating when it's just not true. The story about us being unhappy with the record and stuff is just not true. There's never been any doubt or conversations about moving the record or changing it... Those conversations never existed. We're really, really happy with it." He adds that this current era will last a total of 18 months -- which will include "extensive touring" and extensive promotion which will have Mrs Carter flying around the world for the next "few months is to get this record working everywhere." HITSDaily predicts the album will bring between 275,000 and 300,000 in first-week sales. Mrs Carter's last album, I Am...Sasha Fiere, sold 463,000 in its first week.
Update, July 6: The first week sales are in. Beyoncé's 4 debuted at number 1 on Billboard albums chart. The album sold 310,000 copies.