Ten years ago, Beyoncé decided to make a move that would ultimately help her become one the most accomplished artists in music. The singer, while the R&B group Destiny’s Child was on a hiatus, ventured out as a solo artist.
Beyoncé launched her solo career with her studio debut album, “Dangerously in Love,” which turns 10 years old today (June 22).
The album features a very in-love Beyoncé embracing her womanhood and assured of her vocal prowess. Naturally, being the lead of Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé flourished.
Co-executive produced by herself, “Dangerously in Love” explores the singer’s range both in musical influences and vocally. Fused with hip-hop (Jay-Z, Big Boi, Sean Paul), soul (later Luther Vandross feature, Shuggie Otis, DeBarge samples), funk, pop and with relatable lyrical content — all while centered around a thriving romance — the album was embraced across a spectrum of fans.
“Dangerously in Love” propelled Beyoncé into superstardom, and foreshadowed the vibrancy of her 10-years-and-counting solo career.
The singer proved to her own label record, Columbia Records, that she could hold her own as a solo artist with “Dangerously In Love.” “They told me I didn’t have one single on my album. Yep,” she shared during her 4-day concert series NYC in 2011. “I guess they were kind of right. I had five.”
Her solo effort not only debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 317,000 copies according to Nielsen Soundscan, but it spawned multiple classic hits, including “Crazy in Love,” “Baby Boy,” “Naughty Girl” and “Me, Myself & I.”
Which of “Dangerously In Love’s” 16 tracks resonates the loudest 10 years later? Read on for our classic track-by-track review.
1. “Crazy in Love” (feat. Jay-Z)
Beyoncé comes blazing straight out the gate with her first “Dangerously In Love” single, also the first song on the track list. “Crazy In Love” features her now-husband, Jay-Z, and a wildly addictive hook (which samples instrumentation from The Chi-Lite’s “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)”). The song quickly became her first No. 1 off the album, staying at its peak position for eight weeks, and set a precedent of success.
2. “Naughty Girl”
Bey’ hypnotizes on the Scott Storch co-produced song with her near-whisper cooing, sly moans disguised as adlibs and lustful lyrics of a one inhibition-free night. The disco-flavored fourth “Dangerously in Love single, which samples Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” and is also influenced by Middle Eastern Arabian music hit the top five bracket on the Hot 100.
3. “Baby Boy” (feat. Sean Paul)
Bey’ topped her first “Dangerously In Love” No. 1 by following it up with a longer-lasting one. The mid-tempo cut, in which Bey’ continues to stride in self-assurance, bridges the gap between several genres such as R&B, dancehall, reggae (with the help of rapper Sean Paul) and as “Naughty Girl,” Arabian music. “Baby Boy” is the singer’s second longest running No. 1 as a lead artist, staying at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for nine weeks.
4. “Hip-Hop Star” (feat. Big Boi, Sleepy Brown)
Bey’, unabashedly, makes sure you want her and only her in the Big Boi and Sleepy Brown-assisted “Hip-Hop Star.” “I sit and wait for nobody/ People say that my style is so crazy/ I think you like it baby/ Do you want to get nasty?/ I dare you to undress me,” she sings on her first verse, staying sexually confident on the majority of “Dangerously In Love.”
5. “Be With You”
Bey’ slows it down for the boudoir ballad. From the jump, she’s upfront as to what she wants: “I love the way you make me feel/ It slows down time/ Come in my bedroom and turn off the lights/ You whisper softly in my ear/ Makes me unwind/ The way you touch me.” She really flexes her vocal range at the end of the song, emphasizing the desire. The song also includes an interpolation of Bootsy Rubber Band’s “I’d Rather Be With You” and chunks of The Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23.”
6. “Me, Myself and I”
The album’s third single was a change from her preceding uptempo hits. This earnest, personal song features Bey’ as a scorned woman still possessing the power to win on her own after heartbreak. The song peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became her fourth consecutive top 5 single.
The singer has no patience for an impatient man. Bey’ confronts an “ungrateful” counterpart turned ex on crawling synths co-produced by Bernard Edwards, Jr: “You are too damn old to be so immature/ I hope you learn.”
8. “Signs” (feat. Missy Elliott)
The singer maps her romantic history on the astrological ode, majorily shouting out a Sagittarius love which coincidentally is Jay-Z’s sign. If the album collaborations with her beau wasn’t enough of a hint of their relationship…
The sequence of slow jams continues. This come-hither “Speechless” finds Bey’ in a daze over slinky funk soundscapes.
10. “That’s How You Like It” (feat. Jay-Z)
The album’s second Jay-Z collaboration, which lyrically samples DeBarge’s “I Like It,” finds you in the middle of a back and forth between the couple; telling each other what they love of one another. Hov closes his verse with confirmation: “Young Hov and the letter B, how you like that, huh?”
11. “The Closer I Get To You” (feat. Luther Vandross)
Bey’ recruits the late Luther Vandross for the remake of the 1978 classic. While the singer holds her on alongside the legend, the quiet storm duet feels out of place considering the electrifying feel of majority of the album.
12. “Dangerously In Love 2”
The title track, which is a modified rendition of the version on Destiny’s Child’s “Surivor” album, is written and co-produced by Bey’ herself. The singer’s impassioned vocals amplifies love’s obsession.
13. “Beyoncé Interlude”
The 16-second interlude feels unnecessary and features Beyoncé at a loss for words: “Your love goes beyond what I can say.”
14. “Gifts from Virgo”
Years before bringing baby Blue Ivy Carter into the world, Bey’ pens an ode to her unborn child and the father. The song is inspired by the soulful, Shuggie Otis’ “Rainy Day.”
Bey’ closes the album with a song dedicated to the man that instilled perseverance, her father, Matthew Knowles. Not originally planned for the final track list, the singer took advantage of album delays and created the ode. “That loyalty and that strength that he has, those certain qualities I just want in all the people around me,” Bey told MTV News of her dad, who co-executive produced the album alongside her.