Vitamin String Quartet

The String Quartet Tribute to Beyonce

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Vitamin's String Quartet Tribute series often tackles artists whose music seems relatively well-suited to being reimagined by a string quartet. The music of Beyoncé, more specifically songs from her debut solo disc, Dangerously in Love, doesn't fall into that category, but the record actually works on some level. Hearing strings sawing away at the naggingly catchy melody of "Crazy in Love" is fun and weird. The violin does a decent job playing the vocal line, even sounding soulful at times. The rest of the record stays pretty true to the original sound of Beyoncé's record but can't help but sound wacky. Take the martial beats on "Work It Out." (Which has way more than four instruments on it as do most of the tracks, making it more of a symphonic tribute to Beyoncé. Besides, if you read the credits, only one violin player is credited and it makes mention that the album's producer makes use of sample libraries. So it isn't even a quartet but rather one violinist and a guy working a computer.) And take the vaguely Arabic strings on "Naughty Girl" and also the cello thumping out dancehall beats on "Baby Boy." These are not the usual things that a string quartet does. The ballads are pretty straightforward and pretty, "Speechless" being especially nice. The last song on the record is an original composition that has nothing whatsoever to do with Beyoncé or her music and that seems to exist just to give the album's creator, Todd Mark Rubenstein, some extra royalties. That is, if anyone buys the record. It might appeal to Beyoncé fans looking to inject a little class into their next dinner party, but that seems like a remote possibility. A better guess might be nobody. The mass indifference is mostly justified.

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