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Record Rating: ****

Beyonce - B'Day - Sony/BMG R&B superstars Destiny's Child were on top of the world and the charts when each girl decided to take time out pursue a solo career. To no one's surprise, lead singer Beyonce’s debut ~ 2003’s Dangerously In Love ~ spawned hits bigger than those she had with the group and remained in the charts for almost three years.

Richer than her debut, B’Day lets everyone know that Beyonce is growing up and that she’s still crazy, sexy, and cool. Released on her 25th birthday, a more honest title for this CD would be something like A Bunch of #1's, for that’s what it’s sure to spawn. You didn't have to be a fan of R&B, or even music, to cross paths with the likes of first single Déjà Vu (featuring current boyfriend rapper Jay-Z) that’s all ready become the #1 pop anthem of 2006.

Those enamoured with that song will no doubt gravitate to the hard-driving dance cuts here. Never really straying far from danceable pop music, most of the ten tracks are like a wake up call to get back on the club floor. You won't find many ballads here; there’s the infectious, disco tinged Suga Mama (which should have been the first single), the frenetically paced Irreplaceable, the racy Get Me Bodied, and finally the gushing girl empowering anthem Resentment. She comes the closest to matching the frenzy of hit single Crazy In Love on the sweaty rump shaker (and the CD’s best track) Ring The Alarm, where she proves that she can seduce and shout and still sound strong and sexy at the same time.

Recorded in just two weeks, B’Day does suffer from slightly uneven songwriting, but it's nevertheless an assured step forward from her previous work with Destiny’s Child. Expect even bigger things from her in the near future.

Read our other reviews:

Bob Dylan - Modern Times       Elvis Presley - Elvis Movies - Sony/BMG       Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death - EMI       2006's Top 20 - Various Artists - Universal      


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