The singer supports her man and views him as her equal on “Upgrade U.” Tracks give unfaithful guys the boot (“Irreplaceable,” “Resentment”) and stand firm in the pursuit of dreams (“Listen,” based on her character in the movie Dreamgirls).
Profanities mar several cuts. On “Upgrade U” Beyoncé’s real-life boyfriend, hip-hop thug Jay-Z, tells her to “talk yo s—.” He also advocates drug use (“light up the dro”) and brags about “bagging girls” on the hit “Déjà Vu.” For all of Beyoncé’s public talk about her faith, materialism and immoral sexual freedom take the fore, lyrically. “Upgrade U” and “Ring the Alarm” overemphasize wealth. Loaded with innuendoes, “Sugar Mama” imagines an encounter with S&M overtones. Women learn how to dance provocatively in their “Freakum Dress,” which gets removed by a man later in the evening. A woman looks forward to a little indiscretion on “Kitty Kat” (“Somehow, somewhere I’ll be naughty … Don’t you want my body”), while “Get Me Bodied” baits the trap for a one-night stand. Beyoncé dons revealing outfits for liner photos, including a Barbarella-style swimsuit shot co-starring a pair of alligators.
This melody-impaired hip-hop disc doesn’t do the Destiny’s Child diva’s voice justice. Not that it matters. B’Day is a fountain of imprudent sensuality.