What I love about the chorus to B's current smash single, "Single Ladies" ("If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it"), are its blurry pronouns — quick, what does "it" refer to? First one could be the same "it" as in her older smash "Check on It"; the second might be her ring finger. The ambiguity sums up her divided musical persona far more effectively than the two-disc split-personality gimmick here (Anne Murray-esque balladry on the first, electro-slut club bangers on the second).
My advice is to skip directly to disc two, though I'm happy to report that the typically melismatic Mrs. Jigga shows a shocking degree of vocal restraint on the ballads. Perhaps she senses that radio listeners respond much better to Rihanna-esque hooks than Xtina-esque octave runs nowadays.
The mantra of "Diva" ("A diva's just a female version of a hustler") is particularly intriguing, since the song progresses through hard-knockish robbery scenarios that seem at odds with B's squeaky-clean public persona. The same can be said of the smutty (for her) "Video Phone," with its "You want me naked? If you like this position you can tape it" — yikes! The most believable song, amid bland testaments to love's timeless endurance and the smut and thuggin' of the "Sasha Fierce" persona, is one with sensual overtones sung to an electronic device that, unlike men, "never lets me down" — it's called "Radio." What did you think it was about?