Magazine article The New Yorker

Crazy from Love; Pop Notes

Magazine article The New Yorker

Crazy from Love; Pop Notes

Article excerpt

Reading art as autobiography is a dicey business, but even a disinterested formalist will get the impression from Beyonce's new album, "B'Day" (Columbia), that some fool has done her all kinds of wrong. Released one day after her twenty-fifth birthday and entering at the top of the charts, "B'Day" is a short, sharp blast of harried music. In ten songs and thirty-eight minutes--not counting the irrelevant bonus track, "Listen," tied to her performance in the upcoming film version of "Dreamgirls"--Beyonce calls out a man who has underestimated her. Even "Freakum Dress," a putatively upbeat song about wearing a "short and backless" garment just so someone will remove it, starts with bilious scene-setting: "I think I'm ready, been locked up in the house way too long / It's time to get it, 'cause once again he's out doing wrong." Par-tay.

Elsewhere, "Kitty Kat" sounds like smooth R. & B. but returns again and again to doubt: "You know I hate sleeping alone, but you said that you would soon be home. But baby, that was a long time ago." And even the giddy, dancehall-inspired romp "Get Me Bodied" sounds anxious: "Can you get me bodied? …

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