Columbia - 2001 – 71 minutes
When media heads began comparing Destiny's Child to the reality TV programme, 'Survivor', frontwoman Beyoncé Knowles knew exactly how to bite back. The third DC album features the ultimate get over him, her, or it tune as its title track. Knowles sings, "Now that you're out of my life I'm so much better," and you know she means it.
Knowles and Kelly Rowland are the two original members, the pair who left last year attempted unsuccessfully to sue Beyoncé's father, their manager. Of their replacements, Michelle Williams is still with the group; the other left after 5 months, citing chronic dehydration. I guess it isn't easy being part of the hottest R&B act on the planet.
All this firing and re-hiring hasn't affected the music – if anything it's gotten better. Knowles (20) co-writes, produces and arranges every track on 'Survivor'. She's also the one who started their trademark speed-singing vocal style (as a joke).
Opening with last year's 'Charlie's Angels' anthem, 'Independent Woman' and following with 'Survivor', 'Bootylicious' continues the don't-mess-with-me theme, sampling Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. It's the trio's next single and probably their next number 1. 'Nasty Girl' and 'Fancy' give teenage belly-top wearers and DC copycats a warning, but by the time you reach 'Apple Pie À La Mode', it's likely you will have had enough of the special brand of staccato harmonising and funky beats that mark a DC tune.
'Happy Face' hits a bum note with its unfortunately catchy Sesame Street-style chorus and from here the album descends into a series of slow, soppy ballads. Presumably intended to show off Beyoncé's vocal ability, some of these tracks could give Celine Dion a run for her money. 'The Story of Beauty', Beyoncé's response to a letter from a fan who had been abused is more like it, but the á capella 'Gospel Medley' and final self-congratulatory rap we could do without.
Rumour has it that Knowles will launch a solo career soon, so watch this space. In the meantime, buy 'Survivor' for its girl-power summer tunes – there are enough of them to last while you don your make up before hitting the town in your camouflage belly top – just make sure you leave the house before you get to track ten.
Tracklisting: Independent Women Part I – Survivor – Bootylicious – Nasty Girl – Fancy – Apple Pie À la Mode – Sexy Daddy – Perfect Man – Independent Women Part II – Happy Face – Dance With Me – My Heart Still Beats – Emotion – Brown Eyes – Dangerously in Love – The Story of Beauty – Gospel Medley – Outro (DC-3) Thank You.