Columbia - 2003 - 69 minutes
The music industry needs to have another major get together. Not about the issue of piracy, new technology or if Guns 'n' Roses will release anything before Axl's due a pension. Instead, they must sit down and agree to outlaw over-long records. NO pop album should run to 69 minutes and while the media and the ever-growing, male population worldwide says there's no such thing as too much Beyoncé, 'Dangerously in Love' is a great argument to throw back at them.
Opening in classic fashion with 'Crazy in Love' and current beau Jay-Z roaring like he's the luckiest bloke on earth you'll think it doesn't get any better than this - and then reward yourself with a gold star for premonition over an hour later. Stuffed with plodding soul and R&B, no amount of guest appearances, producers or riffs on classics gone by can save 'Dangerously in Love' from itself or you from the feeling of being stood up.
This maybe a raunchier Beyoncé than Destiny's Child has so far allowed, the letdown is that she's either thigh deep in slush or stuck in a mid-tempo crisis and trying to wade through it - high maintenance made music. Lastyear's 'Work it Out' and 'Naughty Girl' prove the smallest of consolations and you can only laugh so much at lyrics like "come in my bedroom and turn off the lights" and "picture us dancin' real close in a dark dark corner of a basement party".
Of course, you will need to take a shower afterwards. But only to wake yourself up.
Tracklisting: Crazy in Love (featuring Jay-Z) – Naughty Girl – Baby Boy (featuring Sean Paul) – Hip Hop Star (featuring Big Boi and Sleepy Brown) – Be With You – Me, Myself and I – Yes – Signs (featuring Missy Elliott) – Speechless – That's How I Like It – (featuring Jay-Z) – The Closer I Get to You (Duet with Luther Vandross) – Dangerously in Love 2 – Beyoncé Interlude – Gift From Virgo – Work it Out – Bonnie & Clyde '03