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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Beyoncé - B’Day
Release Date: September 5, 2006
Label: Sony

The main complaint I had about Beyoncé’s debut was the lack of uptempo tracks. It’s a little misleading when an album’s hit singles bear little resemblance to the rest of the songs. Upon listening to B’Day (say it fast and it sounds like it should belong in a toilet), it appears that Beyoncé’s noticed this as well. The album’s sole slow jams (the gorgeous Irreplaceable and the Aretha-wannabe Resentment) are tacked onto the end of the record. Everything else appears to have been engineered for a party. What kind of party? Well…apparently one that involves Beyoncé screaming at you a lot.

If you’ve been unlucky enough to hear the second single from B’Day, Ring The Alarm, you’ve been given a pretty accurate taster of what the album’s like. Filled with blaring sirens, caterwauling and pointless posturing, the “song” is an unqualified mess. This trend continues on Get Me Bodied and Freakum Dress, which aren’t so much songs as opportunities for Beyoncé to display her unique (and ear-piercing) squawking over obnoxious, repetitive tracks.

There are echoes of Crazy In Love all over B’Day. The lackluster Deja Vu is as close as she gets to recreating her biggest solo hit, while Green Light borrows some of Crazy’s brass. The songs that aren’t all up in your face (Upgrade U, Suga Mama) are almost too slight to be memorable. This is all especially frustrating because we know that Beyoncé has it. She can be pleasingly odd (as evidenced by her tribal-cum-seizure dance in the Deja Vu video) and can crank out fantastic urban pop (Work It Out, Crazy In Love). B’Day, however, is a notable misstep. D

Key Tracks: Irreplaceable, Deja Vu, Kitty Kat


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