Average sophomore attempt from birthday girl

Since her 2003 debut album, “Dangerously In Love,” Beyonce has saturated mainstream and pop culture through music, movies and television. Now, in 2006, she offers her fans another taste with her second album “B’Day.”

Despite backlash from the media, stating that her music has lost its “oomph,” listener’s lackluster reception to her lead single “Déjà Vu” and petitions against her videos, her label has decided to push the albums to the best of their ability.

The album opens with the lead single, “Déjà Vu,” produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. The track features several bars courtesy of her boyfriend Jay-Z.

The song really seems to be déjà vu as it attempts to recreate the same hype and success as 2003’s “Crazy In Love,” which the latter has failed to do so.

However, the tracks live instruments and hard-hitting percussions have created a love/hate relationship for the song.

You can’t resist singing, “Know that I can’t get over you/’Cause everything I see is you/And I don’t want no substitute/Baby I swear it’s Déjà vu.”

The album continues on an upbeat note as the song “Suga Mama” attempts to add a little flare to the LP but does not really impress much.

The Rich Harrison produced track does not have the appeal his previous hits, “Crazy In Love” and Amerie’s “One Thing,” had.

And just when you thought you had enough of the Jay-Z and B collabos, she serves listeners up with another one, “Upgrade U,” which I admit is definitely worth a listen or two or three. OK, I like it.

The song speaks on how she is not carried by her man in the relationship, and, if anything, he is what he is because of her.

Interesting? Very much so. “I can do for you what Martin did for the people/ ran by the men but the women keep the tempo/ it’s very seldom that your blessed to find your equal/still play my part and let u take the lead role believe me.”

The album’s second single, “Ring the Alarm” is a Kelis-esque failure at a woman scorned by her lover.

B’s screaming of “Ring the Alarm/Cuz I’ve been going to long/And I’ll be damned if I see another chick on your arm” becomes annoying after a while. But like the aforementioned, it makes you want to bob your head to the hot track.

The only true ballad on the 10-track set is the song “Resentment” which is reminiscent of classic doo-wop.

Beyonce’s voice truly shines and finally takes the forefront. The song’s lyrics are deep and heartfelt and make listeners feel for whatever resentment or pain she has gone through.

“I only give you a hard time/ I cant go on and pretend like/ I haven’t tried to forgive this/ But I’m much too full of resentment/I may never understand/Why I’m doing the best that/ I can and I tried and I tried to forgive this/I’m much too full of resentment.”

B’Day attempts to show Beyonce’s versatility and edginess but falls short in the execution of the tracks. As soon as you get some hope for the CD, it’s over.

Happy B’Day to you Beyonce, but since birthdays come every year, maybe she can try again next time.

 Grade: C