Sony Urban Music/Columbia
ow is it, then, that an album by a group who are truly international superstars, released by a multinational corporation, comes out with a grammatical error in its title? #1’s means belonging to #1, people. I mean, come on—just because Mariah Carey made the same mistake seven years ago doesn’t mean you have to as well, DC. (On the same label, too, come to think of it…)
Another mistake: this album isn’t close to a collection of actual #1 singles, no matter which chart you’re using; I believe three or four of the singles collected here (“Independent Women Part I,” “Survivor,” “Bills, Bills, Bills,” and maybe “Say My Name”), topped Billboard’s Hot 100. That isn’t to say, however, that #1’s isn’t packed with classics, because it damned good and well is.
Let’s get the obligatory even-though-they’re-not-hits (at-least-not-yet) we’re-gonna-tack-these-songs-on-our-hits-album songs out of the way first. Opener “Stand Up For Love” is listed as the “2005 World Children’s Day Anthem.” As far as I can tell, “World Children’s Day” was invented by McDonald’s to raise funds for their Ronald McDonald House charities. Destiny’s Child, of course, has a contract with McD’s. Ergo, this overproduced, schlocky ballad is co-written by David Foster. It’s an awful choice to open this record. “Check On It” is credited to Beyoncé featuring Slim Thug—it’s not even a DC song! Allegedly from the forthcoming Pink Panther soundtrack (a film in which, whaddaya know, B co-stars), it’s a weak-ass Swizz Beats beat (I honestly didn’t even know he was still in the game) topped with some Beyoncé b.s. and a Slim Thug verse that sounds like it should’ve been left on the studio floor (“Keep my hands in my pants / I need to glue ‘em with glue”—as opposed to gluing them with what, exactly?). Fortunately, the album-closing “Feel the Same Way I Do” almost makes up for the wackness inherent in its fellow newbies; it’s a Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins slow-grinder with some “Sukiyaki” strings and Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle cooing up a storm.
“Jumpin’ Jumpin” and “Independent Women” have never really done it for me, so save for B’s catty-not-catty-isms on “Survivor” and the dirty south ho-down of “Soldier,” #1s really takes of for me with track seven. That’s “Lose My Breath,” one of the aforementioned Mr. Jerkins’ greatest singles ever, and one of DC’s as well. If you skip the flaccid cover of Samantha Sang’s “Emotion” (it’s “pretty,” and I kinda mean that as an insult), from “Lose” on, this album barely lets up in quality. “Say My Name” (another one of Jerkins’ best)! The Stevie Nicks love-in “Bootylicious”! Wyclef’s fine work on “No, No, No Part 2”! Even the lovely “Girl” (bettered by its Sex and the City homage of a video) and the sexy “Cater 2 U” (both from their last studio album, Destiny Fulfilled)! This is an instance in which all these hits crammed up against one another, back-to-back, actually improve each other by virtue of their big shininess, their fabulosity, their atti-ma-tude.
Hearing this nonstop string of smashes reminds the listener that for an all-too-brief shining moment, it was Destiny’s Child’s world, and we were just living in it. Beyoncé’s off to conquer whatever parts of the globe she yet hasn’t, now (I just hope she takes Dreamgirls as the lesson it is), Michelle to more gospel albums and perhaps more Broadway work, and Kelly to, well, I’m sure she could find a nice NBA star to marry, and there’s always a need for women who can sing the hooks on rap records (oh, and Europe liked her solo album well enough). They’ll never, separately, reach the peaks they did as the Charlie’s angels of the pop/R&B; world, though, not even B. We’re still not ready for their jelly, but at least they left us the last will and testament of #1s.