Saturday, 14 April 2012

Beyoncé 'Irreplaceable'

Chart Peak: 4

Beyoncé co-wrote 'Irreplaceable' with RnB sensation Ne-Yo (of 'So Sick' and 'Sexy Love' fame) - it is the most successful single release from her second solo album B'Day and scored her a No. 4 hit in the UK charts at the end of 2006... It was the last Billboard No. 1 of 2006 and the first of 2007.
It's a possibility that had the UK chart been compiled on the same sort of sales/airplay combination as Billboard, 'Irreplaceable' would have been a Number One here too - it would certainly have outperformed the sales chart-topper 'Deja Vu' because it appealed to many more radio stations: indeed there's a whole set of commercial stations that seemed to play it every day until it was supplanted by the rather similar 'Best Thing I Never Had' in 2011. I don't know if there's a name for songs where the title is meant negatively, but this is certainly one of them, with Beyoncé keen to inform the man she's chucking that he's anything but irreplaceable. And if the protagonist is supposed to resemble the real-life singer in any significant way, that's pretty easy to believe. Of course, if you ignore the video you might imagine that it's sung from the perspective of somebody without her looks, fame or money, but it's even then there's the often-overlooked fact that she's actually rather a good singer for such a big star as well.

The one thing that has always tended to let her down, though, is a shortage of interesting material. Between them, Beyoncé Knowles, NeYo and no fewer than four Swedish people seem to have come up with a song where nothing happens except some cheap synthesised handclaps. It's hard to imagine that somebody who didn't understand English (or Spanish, as there is a version in that language available) being able to guess what this is about: it crucially lacks any of the sense of victory or relief that the storyline requires and the finished article is more boring than entertaining.

Also appearing on: Now 54 [with Jay-z]; 56 [with Jay-Z]; 65 [with Jay-Z]; 67 [with Shakira]; 73; 74
Available on: B'Day Deluxe Edition

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