Released: 23rd June 2003.
The most anticipated album of 2003 is finally here, but has it been worth the wait? As one third of Destiny's Child, will lead singer Beyoncé's album just end up sounding like another album by the group?
"Dangerously In Love" starts off with the brilliant "Crazy In Love", featuring her 'lover' Jay-Z. Then it kicks in to the Arabic jam that is "Naughty Girl", using samples from Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby". This is one of the strongest tracks on the album, but listen too much and you'll hate it.
Afterwards it's another duet, "Baby Boy" with Sean Paul, which also has an Indian/Arabic feel. With her sexy vocals and Sean Paul's rapping, it's an instantly catchy song. The next track, "Hip-Hop Star" featuring Big Boi & Sleepy Brown, is one of the most unusual tracks on the album. It needs to grow on you a little, but once you've heard its infectious chorus and cheeky rapping a couple of times, you'll love it!
"Be With You" sees the album slow its pace down a little. A sexy ballad with excellent lyrics and vocals from Beyoncé herself, the album carries on like this through "Myself And I". The album's first of two fillers, the backing track is excellent, but the lyrics aren't. They're a little corny, depicting Beyoncé telling a boyfriend to wait until she's ready to be intimate with him.
The album picks up after that with "Signs", featuring Missy Elliot, which is another grower. The lyrics are strange, but it's a fab track! "That How You Like It" sees the second duet with Jay-Z - this one's pretty standard, but it's no filler. Meanwhile, "The Closer I Get To You" with Luther Vandross has all the makings of a classic R&B tune. Another stand out track from the album, it would make a perfect release around Christmas.
Next up, Beyoncé takes her favourite song from "Survivor", changes the drum beat, adds a piano, and the result is "Dangerously In Love 2". One of the best tracks from "Survivor", it's also one of the best here! Then it's onto "Gift From Virgo". The second of two fillers, this sounds like something from a Christmas episode of Ally McBeal. It needs time to grow on you, but it's no "Crazy In Love".
Finally, we have a couple of bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. "Work It Out" from the "Goldmember" soundtrack and "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" with Jay-Z both need no review. Then there's a hidden track, "Daddy", dedicated to her father Matthew Knowles. She sings about all he has done for her and how much she loves him; corny, but a good track to end the album with.
So after listening to it all the way through, you have to ask yourself - has Beyoncé made a successful transition from lead singer of a top girl group to a top solo star, without sounding too much like Destiny's Child? And the answer? YES! The album is excellent, and one of the best of 2003 so far. Go Bee!
In what could possibly be the most anticipated album release of the new millennium, Beyoncé steps up to the mic on the last of the Destiny's Child solo projects to surface. Everyone is eager to hear what stylistic surprises are in store on this collection of 17 songs.
We've already heard the romping "Crazy In Love", but is there anything else here that can meet that quality? Unfortunately I'm going to have to say no! I wanted to like this record... I tried really really hard, but to no avail.
The first mistake in my mind is the abundance of down-tempo numbers. The second is the song order - not a good idea to group the uptempo tracks at the beginning and end of the album. The third is the lack of potential hit singles.
Don't get me wrong, there are some 'likeable' songs in the form of Middle Eastern flavoured "Naughty Girl", "That's How You Like It", "Be With You", "Hip Hop Star" and possibly the only other choice for a single, "Baby Boy". What is left, however, is a bunch of structureless, down-tempo songs that become an endless drone on your ear.
Even the Destiny's Child crossover title track "Dangerously In Love" feels out of place and awkwardly positioned. I can't for the life of me work out why Beyoncé would take the track, do very little with it, and title the album after it.
The only upside - and the only reason to even consider purchasing this - is the fact that it contains the singles "Crazy In Love", "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" and "Work It Out" all on one release. However, I think the pressure of releasing a better album than that of her bandmates has burnt Beyoncé's mind to a crisp... and we're supposed to pay good money for the result?