Beyonce’s immediate follow-up to her monster solo debut “Dangerously in Love” is even better than its predecessor. Gone are the treacly and meandering ballads, replaced instead by a bombastic, thumping sound and gloriously over-the-top diva singing that shows off more of the superstar’s pop prowess. From the first two tracks, “Deja Vu” and “Get Me Bodied,” the album arrives fully formed, with a vibrancy that reaches out from the speakers and grabs at even the most passive listener. Other tracks like “Ring the Alarm,” “Upgrade U,” and “Freakum Dress” have an immediacy that just about demand to be heard, as though nothing could be more important. The Deluxe edition includes “Listen” from the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack where Beyonce does some of her best-ever singing, tearing into the song with gusto and inimitable confidence.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)