Recording information: Sony Music Studios, New York, NY.
Beyonce had little to prove on her second solo outing, B'DAY, having already demonstrated her taste, (solo) vocal prowess, and sparkling star quality on her first post-Destiny's Child release in 2003. Nevertheless, the singer and her crack team of producers and collaborators (R&B's finest, including the Neptunes, Swizz Beats, and Rich Harrison) have come up with a collection that's at least equal to her previous triumphs, and that shows off an almost angry intensity only hinted at on earlier releases.
The club hit "Deja Vu," with an extended rap from boyfriend/producer Jay-Z, boasts an addictive bass line that contrasts dramatically with Beyonce's emotive upper register. The haunting "Ring the Alarm" is a multilayered melodrama built around a dizzying minor-key hook that relies on Beyonce's vocal dexterity and newfound fire. Despite the appealing bravado of most of the tracks on B-DAY, the most memorable song is the beautiful lovelorn ballad "Irreplaceable," on which a wounded Beyonce protesteth too much about an errant lover's dispensability. Her nuanced and soul-deep performance suggests the tearful hurt lying at the center of all that anger.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.69) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here is endless pleasure in the gliding transitions from Jay-Z's staccato rhymes to Beyonce's own honeyed flow..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.158) - "[T]he songs arrive in huge gusts of rhythm and emotion, with Beyonce's voice rippling over clattery beats..." -- Grade: B+
Q (p.149) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Nelly-esque 'Get me Bodied', the Neptunes-helmed 'Green Light', with its marvellously cascading chorus, and the super-taut 'Upgrade U' are turbo-charged..."
Q (p.118) - Ranked #72 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006."
Vibe (p.138) - "[A] generally exhilarating marriage of pop songcraft and state-of-the-art rhythms."
- Deja Vu - (with Jay-Z)
- Get Me Bodied
- Suga Mama
- Upgrade U - (with Jay-Z)
- Ring The Alarm
- Kitty Kat
- Freakum Dress
- Green Light
- Check On It - (Bonus Track, featuring Bun B/Slim Thug)
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