Dangerously in Love is the debut solo studio album by American singer Beyoncé. It was released on June 23, 2003 through Columbia Records and Music World Entertainment. During the recording of Destiny's Child's third studio album Survivor (2001), the group announced that they would produce solo albums to be released. Recording sessions for the album took place from March 2002 to March 2003 at several studios, during the hiatus of her then-group Destiny's Child. As executive producer of the album, Beyoncé took a wider role in its production, co-writing a majority of the songs, choosing which ones to produce and sharing ideas on the mixing and mastering of tracks.
The tracks in the album are a mixture of uptempo songs and ballads, which are basically inspired by R&B and soul genres; it also features elements of hip hop and Arabic music. Although Beyoncé remained discreet about her interpretation of the songs, its underlying meanings were attributed by music writers as an allusion to her intimate relationship with then-boyfriend and well-known rapper Jay-Z. Dangerously in Love received positive reviews from music critics upon its release, with critics praising Knowles' "artistic leap". The album also received numerous accolades, earning Beyoncé five Grammy Awards at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2004.
Dangerously in Love reached a worldwide commercial success, earning multi-platinum certifications in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 317,000 copies in its first week, earning Beyoncé the highest debut sales among Destiny's Child members' solo albums. Dangerously in Love has sold over eleven million copies worldwide and produced two US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles – "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy" – and two top five singles – "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl".
Beyoncé launched her career as lead singer to R&B group Destiny's Child in the late 1990s. According to Corey Moss of MTV News, "fans are eager to see" how Beyoncé, after years with the group, performs solo. While recording their third album, Survivor, in late 2000, Beyoncé announced the group would be put on hiatus in order for the members to produce solo albums in the coming years, which they hoped would boost interest in Destiny's Child. The idea of individual releases emanated from the group's manager and Beyoncé's father, Mathew.
With different types of music for each member to produce, the albums were not intended to compete on the charts. Destiny's Child's management strategically planned to stagger the release of each group member's album to maximise sales. Michelle Williams was the first to release a debut solo album, Heart to Yours, in April 2002. Meanwhile, Beyoncé debuted on the big screen, starring in the comedy film Austin Powers in Goldmember, and recorded her debut single, "Work It Out", which is featured on the soundtrack to the film. Rowland collaborated with American rapper Nelly on the song "Dilemma" as a featured artist; it became a hit that year, leading the label to advance the release date of her debut solo album, Simply Deep, in late 2002. Beyoncé also starred in The Fighting Temptations and recorded another solo single. In August 2002, she collaborated with boyfriend Jay-Z as featured vocalist on the song "'03 Bonnie & Clyde". The single earned Beyoncé credibility and paved the way for the release of Dangerously in Love.
Before Beyoncé began recording for Dangerously in Love, she selected the producers with whom she would collaborate. For two days, she held meetings with prospective producers from the West Coast across the East Coast, and had interviews with them. Beyoncé went to Miami, Florida to begin sessions with Canadian record producer Scott Storch, her first collaborator, and lived in a Miami hotel in the following months. As she wanted to concentrate on the album, Beyoncé took her time to avoid pressure build-up, significantly different from the hasty productions of Destiny's Child.
As she did on Survivor, Beyoncé took a wider role in the production of Dangerously in Love, co-writing a majority of the songs, choosing which ones to produce and sharing ideas on the mixing and mastering of tracks. Although Beyoncé did not create beats, she came up with melodies and ideas she shared with the producers. With 43 songs completed — 15 of which made it to the album— Beyoncé is credited as co-writer and co-producer, as well as the album's executive producer alongside Matthew Knowles.
Beyoncé felt that recording an album without her group mates was "liberating and therapeutic", coming into the studio and freely expressing her ideas with her collaborators. The dependency she developed with Destiny's Child, however, meant it was harder "to be on [her] own creatively". As she wanted to grow as an artist Beyoncé contacted other artists with a view to forming a collaborative partnership. When the collective finished writing several songs, she printed copies of each and sent them to prospective guest artists. She talked to them by phone for possible collaboration, eventually gaining their approval. Besides Jay-Z, Beyoncé was able to work with Jamaican artist Sean Paul, American rapper Missy Elliott, among others. In contrast, some artists sent copies of songs to Beyoncé, which were eventually produced. Additionally, Beyoncé also worked with Timbaland and Missy Elliott on a track titled "Wrapped Around Me" for the album. Eventually, however, for reasons unknown, the song failed to appear on the album.
Dangerously in Love was originally a song of the same title which Beyoncé had written for Survivor. The song was deemed too sophisticated compared to other songs on Survivor, and the group decided not to release it as a single off the album. After recording several tracks for Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé decided to add "Dangerously in Love", after realizing that it fit the overriding theme of the album. Since the album's release date was postponed to capitalize on the success of "Dilemma", Beyoncé had been offered the chance to further enhance the album. Although she was disappointed with the move, Beyoncé realized that "everything happens for a reason", agreeing to return to the recording studio to work with other songwriters. This allowed her to record more songs, including the album's lead single, "Crazy in Love". In late 2002, Beyoncé paused working on Dangerously in Love for a holiday tour with Destiny's Child. With a few weeks left for recording in March 2003, Beyoncé was still collaborating with other guests on the album, including Sean Paul and P. Diddy.
The album's lead single, a collaboration with rapper Jay-Z, contains hip hop influence and lyrics about the effect of love.
Problems playing these files? See media help.
Beyoncé's mother-manager Tina Knowles said that Dangerously in Love showcases her musical roots. While Williams and Rowland were on gospel and alternative pop, respectively, Beyoncé focused on recording R&B songs. Songs in the album are varied: from mid-tempo and club-oriented tracks in the first half, and ballads in the second half. Beyoncé commented: "My album is a good balance of ... ballads and ... mid-tempos with just ridin'-in-your-car feels, to a lot of ... up-tempo club songs, to really sexy songs, to songs that make you feel emotional. It's a nice mixture of different types of tracks." Although the album contains high-energy songs like "Crazy in Love" and "Naughty Girl", the album's focal mode, however, is slow and moody. Beyoncé said that she had written lots of ballads for the album. According to Beyoncé, she wanted to be understood as an artist and showcase her range, and by doing so, she blended various genres and musical influences in the album. The album incorporates R&B, hip hop, soul and reggae influences. The album took hip hop influences from Jay-Z, Outkast, and Lil' Kim; the reggae is from Sean Paul; and courtesy of Storch, the album explores Arabic music. His personal study of that kind of music gave the album a Middle Eastern vibe. Beyoncé and the producers also used a wide array of instrumentations.
When "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" was released as a single in late 2002, critics and the public had speculated that Beyoncé and Jay-Z were having a mutual affair. Despite widespread rumors, they remained silent about their relationship. According to critics, the title itself of the album sounded "more intriguing" with Beyoncé singing personal songs. Though love is the theme Beyoncé had incorporated in the album, "most the material is vague enough to be about any relationship"; however, there are songs that suggested affirmation of their relationship. In the song "Signs", Beyoncé sings about being in love with a Sagittarius, which coincidentally is Jay-Z's zodiac sign. In response to the persistent rumors about them, Beyoncé stated, "People can come to whatever conclusion they like... That's the beauty of music... I'm a singer, I'll talk about writing songs all you want. But when it comes to certain personal things any normal person wouldn't tell people they don't know, I just feel like I don't have to [talk about it]."
Beyoncé said that Dangerously in Love is lyrically similar to Destiny's Child's albums. But because she only had to write for herself, Beyoncé had the chance to compose personally deeper songs than her previous records with the group. With a theme that is based upon different stages of a romantic relationship, Dangerously in Love contains songs that speak of love and honesty. In addition, Beyoncé admitted that there are songs about love-making. The personal content of the album, however, was not generally attributed to Beyoncé's own experiences—although some were based from hers—instead, the theme kept recurring in her mind. Beyoncé later explained: "I wanted to have an album that everyone could relate to and would listen to as long as I'm alive and even after... Love is something that never goes out of style. It's something everybody experiences, and if they are not in love, people usually want to feel that..." While some songs merely focus on the "beauty of love", the album also explores another side of love, with songs that "celebrate breakup" and songs that narrate a woman's desire to have a degree of control in a relationship. The album's hidden track, "Daddy", is a tribute to Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles, who fronted Destiny's Child as their manager. The song is an account of Beyoncé wanting her future husband and child to possess qualities similar to her father's. Originally, Beyoncé did not intend to include the track in the album, having thought its lyrics would make her appear immature. However, considering it one of the songs that reflected her life at that transitional moment, she instead relegated "Daddy" as the closing track.
Beyoncé said that she had trouble convincing executives at Columbia Records to release the album. The singer recounted that it almost was not released: "In 2003, I had my first solo album. But when I played it through for my record label, they told me I didn't have one hit on my album. I guess they were kinda right, I had five. "Dangerously in Love", "Naughty Girl", "Me, Myself and I", "Baby Boy" and "Crazy in Love"." Since "Dilemma" was concurrently charting atop the Billboard Hot 100, Beyoncé's management released, "Work It Out", one of the songs on the soundtrack to Austin Powers in Goldmember, instead of a single from Dangerously in Love to preclude it from possibly competing with the former.
From the original release date of October 2002, the album was pushed to December in the same year, and to May in the following year. Beyoncé recorded a version of "In Da Club", and served its way to mixtapes before its original release date. The single failed to dominate as a "dancefloor favorite"; Mathew Knowles, however, confirmed that it was just a "buzz cut" and was not included in the album. Nonetheless, it earned enough airplay to appear on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. While Beyoncé was wrapping up the album, several of its songs had leaked online. In efforts to prevent more tracks in the album from being spread illegally, as well as being a victim of bootlegging, Columbia Records, with high commercial expectations from the album, pulled the release of Dangerously in Love to June 24, 2003, two weeks ahead of the planned July 8 release.
Buyers who pre-ordered the album online received links where they could download a song titled "I Can't Take No More"; the promo lasted until the album's release. On June 14, 2003, Beyoncé premiered songs from the album during her first solo concert and the pay-per-view television special, Ford Presents Beyoncé, Friends & Family, Live From Ford's 100th Anniversary Celebration in Dearborn, Michigan. By the night of the album's release, Beyoncé's concert was broadcast in over twenty theaters across the United States. Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Tyrese and Beyoncé's younger sister Solange Knowles also performed during the show. Beyoncé also promoted the album by performing on television shows such as Saturday Night Live, Late Show with David Letterman, Today, The Early Show, and The View.
By April 2003, Beyoncé's management was choosing the album's lead single between two songs. Sent to clubs, the song that would receive positive reception would be considered the lead single. Finally, "Crazy in Love" was released as the lead single off the album. With commercial success that included crossover music markets, the single spent eight consecutive weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100. "Baby Boy" followed, and received greater success than "Crazy in Love". With its dominance on radio stations, the single surpassed "Crazy in Love"'s chart performance, remaining on the top spot for nine consecutive weeks. "Me, Myself and I" was released as the third and "Naughty Girl" as the fourth and final single; although the last two releases only reached the top five on the Hot 100, they all attained immediate commercial success and helped the album earn multi-platinum certifications.
Beyoncé further promoted Dangerously in Love with her Dangerously in Love Tour in November 2003, performing in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. Her concert at Wembley Arena in London, England on November 10, 2003 was featured on the DVD included on her live album Live at Wembley, released on April 26, 2004.
"Crazy in Love" was released as the lead single on May 18, 2003. It was lauded by critics who described it as "deliriously catchy". The single topped the US Billboard Hot 100, based on heavy rotation alone. The same week the song reached number one, Dangerously in Love topped the Billboard 200 as well. The substantial airplay and later retail sales of "Crazy in Love" facilitated it to dominate the chart, subsequently spending eight straight weeks atop the Hot 100, making it Beyoncé's first number-one single in her solo career. According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Crazy in Love" was the most downloaded song in the United States for four consecutive weeks in July 2003. It also became a success internationally, reaching the top of the charts in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
"Baby Boy" was released as the second single on August 3, 2003. It was well received by critics, who declared it a "high-profile collaboration" that "bridges the gap between the genres of R&B and dancehall." It ultimately topped the Hot 100. It reached the chart's top spot eight weeks after its debut, and stayed there for nine consecutive weeks. It peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.
"Me, Myself and I" was released as the album's third single on October 19, 2003. It received generally positive response, being considered a typical sounding R&B ballad with a familiar theme, in which Beyoncé sings with passion. It reached the top ten in Canada and the United States.
"Naughty Girl" was released as the fourth single from the album on March 14, 2004. The song was lauded by critics, who cited its sensual vibe and writing: "Beyoncé borrowed a portion of Donna Summer's naughty classic "Love to Love You Baby" to create this celebration of sensual naughtiness." Internationally, it became a top ten hit in the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Dangerously in Love received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 64, based on 16 reviews. Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone viewed that it presents Beyoncé in two styles, one "far more flattering" than the other, and found the ballad-oriented songs on the album least flattering, commenting that Beyoncé has "plenty of time" to develop the style maturely that would "[make] sense for her". Entertainment Weekly's Neil Drumming commented that the album validates Beyoncé's "taste in innovation". He also viewed that Beyoncé's collaboration with various record producers explores new directions in contemporary music, doing more reinventing than revisiting. Like DeCurtis' review, however, Drumming pointed out that "most of the disc's missteps" are in its latter part. Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote that "[Beyoncé] is allowed more room to experiment vocally as a solo artist, exploring softer registers and lathering on the coquettish persona that was only hinted at on Destiny's Child tracks like 'Bootylicious.'". Steve Jones of USA Today stated, "Beyoncé succeeds by showing greater depth as a songwriter and broader range as a singer". Blender's Ben Ratliff complimented Beyoncé's performance and stated, "She's playing the cool-hunter but covering the bases with seraphic arrangements of multiple voices. Her reach is remarkable". Mark Anthony Neal of PopMatters called it an "artistic leap" and wrote that it "finds Ms. B in the midst of a fully flowering womanhood and doing the best singing of her career".
In a mixed review, Vibe magazine's Jason King said that the album occasionally "sounds desperate to reach every demographic". Kelefa Sanneh, writing in The New York Times, felt that it missed the harmonies Beyoncé had in Destiny's Child records and that she is more effective "when she's got a posse behind her". Rob Fitzpatrick of NME called it "a cruel glimpse of a talent that occasionally blazes but is frustratingly inconsistent". Uncut called its ballads "self-pitying/self-mythologising", while Q stated, "She has good songs, but no great songs". Los Angeles Times writer Natalie Nichols expressed that it "demonstrates vocal finesse [...] But, especially on the ballads, [Beyoncé] often drags things out with diva acrobatics". The Guardian's Adam Sweeting wrote that "the desperate urge to cover every musical base from dancefloor to soul-ballad means that there is barely a track here with any distinctive identity or even a tune". In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau cited "Yes" and "Baby Boy" as the album's highlights and quippedly remarked, "Dangerously in Love ... with her daddy, the bonus cut reveals—as if we didn't know." He gave the album a one-star honorable mention, indicating "a worthy effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well like." In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine commented that "the first half is good enough to make Dangerously in Love one of the best mainstream urban R&B records released in 2003, and makes a strong case that Beyoncé might be better off fulfilling this destiny instead of reuniting with Destiny".
Dangerously in Love and its singles earned Beyoncé numerous awards and nominations. Beyoncé was recognized as New Female Artist and New R&B Artist, among the four awards she won during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards. At the November 2003 American Music Awards, the album was nominated in the category for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. It also received a nomination in the category for Best Album at the 2003 MOBO Awards. At the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, Beyoncé won Best Contemporary R&B Album along with four other awards for the album's songs. With that feat, she tied with Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, and Lauryn Hill for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. At the 2004 Brit Awards, the album was nominated in the category for Best International Album but lost to Justin Timberlake's Justified. However, the singer herself won in the category for International Female Solo Artist. Dangerously in Love was also nominated in the category for Best Album at the 2004 MTV Europe Music Awards.
The thousandth issue of Entertainment Weekly, which celebrated "the new classics" in the entertainment industry in the period from 1983 to 2008, ranked Dangerously in Love nineteenth on the list "Top 100 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". The album also ranked at number one-hundred-and-eighty-three on the list "200 Definitive Albums That Shaped Rock and Roll" according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The album was ranked twelfth on The Face's "Recordings of the Year", fifty-eighth on Village Voice's "Pazz + Jop 2003", and ninety-eighth on Vibe's "The 150 Albums That Define the Vibe Era". A public poll by MTV Base in 2009 placed the album at number fifty-eight on the list "Greatest Albums Ever."
Dangerously in Love debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with sales of 317,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. In its second week the album slid to number two with 183,000 sold, behind Ashanti's Chapter II. Although the album's first-week sales failed to match that of Survivor, which sold 663,000 units in its debut in 2001, Beyoncé earned the highest among Destiny's Child members' solo albums by best weeks: Rowland sold 77,000 copies for Simply Deep while Williams earned 17,000 copies for Heart to Yours in its strongest week. The album has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Dangerously in Love remains Beyoncé's best-selling album to date, with cumulative sales of five million copies in the United States as of June 2016.
Internationally, Dangerously in Love had similar commercial reception. On July 12, 2003, Beyoncé became the first female artist (and the fifth artist ever) to top both the singles—with "Crazy in Love"— and albums chart simultaneously in the United States and the United Kingdom, following the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Rod Stewart and Men at Work. As of June 2011, the album had sold over 1,150,000 copies in the United Kingdom, and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has since certified the album quadruple platinum for sales of over 1.2 million units. Dangerously in Love was the fifteenth best-selling album of 2003 in the United Kingdom, and is Beyoncé's second best-selling album in the country. In Australia, it reached number two; the album has been certified triple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 210,000 copies. In 2003, Dangerously in Love was the fifty-first best-selling album in Australia, and the seventy-fourth the following year. As of 2011, the album has sold over eleven million copies worldwide.
With the release of Dangerously in Love and the combined commercial success of its singles, Beyoncé had established herself a viable solo artist. Rebecca Louie of the New York Daily News wrote that the success of Dangerously in Love brought Beyoncé into a "sultry solo star" who "blossomed from a girly group", referring to Destiny's Child. The album has also facilitated her to become one of the marketable artists in the industry. She appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, guested TV for promotions, and has signed lucrative commercial deals. Beyoncé signed to PepsiCo, a conglomerate beverage manufacturer, in 2003, and appeared on several TV commercials for its products.
The creative output of the sessions for Dangerously in Love left several tracks ready for another album pressing. In late 2003, Beyoncé planned to release a follow-up album that would comprise left-over songs from Dangerously in Love. The move was prompted when a P. Diddy-collaboration called "Summertime", a left-over track from the album, was sent to radio stations and had received favorable response.
Meanwhile, the success of the album incited the public to infer that it signals Destiny's Child to finally part ways, as had pop singer Justin Timberlake "could not go back to 'N Sync after tasting solo success". However, Beyoncé said that their side projects were only "a brief diversion in the juggernaut that has become Destiny's Child". As time did not permit, Beyoncé's musical aspirations were put on hiatus for her to concentrate on her Super Bowl performance, wherein she was slated to sing the US national anthem, and the recording of Destiny's Child's fourth album, Destiny Fulfilled; the group finally disbanded in 2006.
After the group's formal disbandment, Beyoncé recorded and released her second album B'Day on her twenty-fifth birthday on September 4, 2006. The album gave Beyoncé her second number one in the United States, and its debut week sales exceeded that of Dangerously in Love, the former having sold 541,000 units. Despite the album's first two singles' average commercial performance—neither of which reached the peak of the Billboard Hot 100—its "handsome debut" was noted by Keith Caulfield of Billboard as having generated "by goodwill earned from the performance of [Beyoncé's] smash first album Dangerously in Love."
|Dangerously in Love – Standard edition|
|1.||"Crazy in Love" (featuring Jay-Z)||
|3.||"Baby Boy" (featuring Sean Paul)||
|4.||"Hip Hop Star" (featuring Big Boi and Sleepy Brown)||
|5.||"Be with You"||
|6.||"Me, Myself and I"||
|8.||"Signs" (featuring Missy Elliott)||4:58|
|10.||"That's How You Like It" (featuring Jay-Z)||
|11.||"The Closer I Get to You" (duet with Luther Vandross)||Nat Adderley Jr.||4:57|
|12.||"Dangerously in Love 2"||
|14.||"Gift from Virgo"||
|Dangerously in Love – European, Latin American and Australian edition|
|15.||"Work It Out"||The Neptunes||4:06|
|16.||"'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé)||West||3:25|
|17.||"Daddy" (hidden track)||
|Dangerously in Love – French and Belgian edition|
|13.||"Gift from Virgo"||
|14.||"Bienvenue" (IAM featuring Beyoncé)||IAM||4:05|
|16.||"Work It Out"||
|17.||"Bonnie & Clyde '03" (Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé)||
|18.||"Daddy" (hidden track)||
|Dangerously in Love – Japanese edition|
|15.||"What's It Gonna Be"||
|16.||"'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé)||
|17.||"Work It Out"||
|18.||"Daddy" (hidden track)||
|Dangerously in Love – Asian special edition|
|15.||"Work It Out"||
|16.||"Bonnie & Clyde '03" (Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé)||
|17.||"Crazy in Love" (featuring Vanness Wu)||
|18.||"Daddy" (hidden track)||
|Australia (ARIA)||3× Platinum||210,000^|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||15,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||280,000*|
|Greece (IFPI Greece)||Gold||10,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||10,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Gold||20,000*|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||40,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||4× Platinum||1,200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||5,000,000|
|Denmark||June 23, 2003||Standard||Sony Music|||
|Argentina||June 24, 2003||Sony Music|||
|Japan||June 25, 2003||
|Australia||June 27, 2003|||
|Taiwan||July 3, 2003||Special|||
|Hong Kong||July 7, 2003|||
After the Storm by Monica
|US Billboard 200 number-one album
July 5, 2003 – July 12, 2003
Chapter II by Ashanti