By Chuck Arnold Monica Rizzo Ivory Jeff Clinton Courtney Rubin
December 01, 2008 12:00 PM

I Am … Sasha Fierce

CRITIC’S CHOICE

R&B-POP

“Been the No. 1 diva in this game for a minute,” boasts Beyoncé, making like Lil Wayne on the “A Milli”-esque “Diva.” It certainly takes a real diva to release a double disc with one CD as Beyoncé and the second as her alter ego Sasha Fierce. (And she offers both an 11-track standard version and a 16-track deluxe one.) Disc 1, for the popheads, delivers ballad after ballad, and there are some lush beauties. Most stunning is “If I Were a Boy,” one of the tenderest things she’s ever done, while the classically tinged “Ave Maria,” which riffs on the revered piece, shows even more range. Disc 2, designed to move the R&B-dance crowd, unleashes Sasha on “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” a killer club banger and a cheeky nod to the new bling on Beyoncé’s finger. Notoriously tight-lipped about her relationship, she opens up on songs like the deluxe-only “Hello,” sharing just how fierce it is to be Mrs. Jay-Z.

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