Track 9: "Countdown"
Sounds Like: A frenetic, all instruments on deck shitstorm. And we mean that in a good way. It's got the rattling percussion of DC's "Lose My Breath," with blaring trumpet, slightly reggae-flavored synths and did we hear a steel drum somewhere in there?
Pros: This chorus of this aggressive track "dedicated to the one [she] loves" operates on an obvious a ten to one countdown, but the titular metaphor is hardly its strongest moment. Beyoncé flexes her vocal chords on the breathy hook ("Oh, killing me softly / And I'm still falling") all while maintaining her B-is-from-Texas swagger throughout. In an album filled with emotional catharsis via huge, sweeping ballads, "Countdown" finds the middle ground between calling upon your female army to eviscerate the male gender entirely, and begging your man to come to bed. It's undoubtedly a love song, but it's a sassy take on treating a man well, undercutting any subservient imagery by the assertion that B—and all of us ladies—come first, and he should be so lucky to have her grind up on him. Go ahead and try not to bounce to "me and my boof and in my boof boof riding." And those steel drums. Always more steel drums, please.
Cons: While we want to argue with B's advice to be up in the kitchen (in heels) "to win his mind" (what, Jay can't fix his own meals?) it's hard to find fault with a track that simultaneously threatens said man with such unabashed confidence: "If you leave me, you're out of your mind."
Lyric as Personal Mantra: "Say it real loud if you're fly / If you leave me, you're out of your mind." It begs repeating, but only because it's so true.