Despite all of the warnings to the contrary, Beyonce delivers the goods on B'Day and moves forward several steps artistically. Her first album Dangerously In Love was a fun, celebratory record, but ultimately it lacks the depth of B'Day. The new album is the work of a woman with focus, energy, empathy, and vocal firepower to spare.
Much of B'Day crackles with the suppressed energy of a woman who has been surrounded by more than her fair share of controlling and authoritarian men. This focus led many fans to concern for her relationship with rapper and music mogul Jay-Z. However, Beyonce explains the inspiration for much of the album in her bonus section for fans at the end of B'Day.
The new album was put together after shooting ended on the film Dreamgirls which stars Beyonce in the role of Deena Jones. Beyonce put together the songs on B'Day having in mind everything she wished that her character could have said and sung in the movie.
Top Tracks on B'Day
- Get Me Bodied
- Suga Mama
- Freakum Dress
Sexual Power, Intensity, and Independence
The best songs on B'Day crackle with the spirit and power of a woman who carries her sexuality and spirit with authority. "Get Me Bodied" is a party track that clears the way for Beyonce decked out for an evening where she is in the right dress and the right hair to get exactly what she is looking for. With a dirty, classic soul groove at her back, Beyonce plays the role of the "Suga Mama" who knows how to "take care of mine." Enveloped in a gorgeous, lightly swinging Stargate arrangement on "Irreplaceable," Beyonce explains what to do when things don't work out beginning with "Everything you own in the box to the left."
Move Beyond the Radio Songs Into B'Day
Surprisingly, the first two singles released from B'Day, "Deja Vu" and "Ring the Alarm," are among the weakest songs here. Fans would do well to dig deeper into this album and absorb the spirit of a unified work. At only 10 songs, B'Day feels short compared to many current albums, but the result is there is no filler here. By the time the gospel-influenced "Resentment" climaxes to close out the album, you have been through an emotion-filled, sexy, and expertly produced (Rich Harrison, Neptunes, Swiss Beatz, and more) work of art. Beyonce's own comments, a bonus track from Dreamgirls and a remix of "Get Me Bodied" are simply dessert. Savor Beyonce's entire musical menu.