'B'Day' serves to further strengthen, if such affirmation was called for, Beyoncé's position as the real star of Destiny's Child. Her former collaborators Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams can sing but neither have the presence or sheer infectiousness that Beyoncé exudes with her solo material.

This album opens with the funky, shake-your-booty track 'Déjà Vu', which does for 'B'Day' what 'Crazy in Love' did for Beyoncé's solo debut 'Dangerously in Love'. It's memorable, it's catchy and it promises much for the remainder of the album.

And while what follows never quite reaches these heights, there are a few stand-out tracks on this short-and-sweet offering, namely 'Sugar Mama', 'Ring the Alarm', 'Freakum Dress', 'Irreplaceable' and the previously released hit single 'Check on It'.

Although shedding her Destiny's Child counterparts, Beyoncé cleverly hangs on to the style of the group, carrying on the 'all-the-women', mature girl-power vibe – which was at the heart of the trio's broad appeal.

Beyoncé is a real pop queen. Most of her songs instantly make you want to dance - not the kind of music that you can easily listen to while sitting stationary on the bus. However, we also get to check out her subtler side on her latest offering. With 'Irreplaceable' Beyoncé does soulful as well as she does brash, creating an uncharacteristically soft sound despite the gutsy lyrics and consistent beat.

"Baby I swear it's déjà vu," she hollers. No kiddin', as the man in her life, Jay-Z, once again joins her for some vocal tennis on more than one occasion here. But déjà vu isn't always a bad thing, especially when it comes to Ms Knowles belting out a few cracking pop tunes.

Linda McGee