Personnel: Beyonc‚ (vocals); Espen Lind (guitar); Allen "Al Geez" Arthur, Ronald Judge, Aaron "Goody" Goode (horns); Jay-Z (rap vocals).
Audio Mixers: Rich Harrison; Jason Goldstein; Rodney Jerkins; Beyonc‚ Knowles.
Recording information: Great Divide Studios, Aspen, CO; Lair Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Sony Music Studios, New York, NY; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Max Vadukul.
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.