When Beyoncé announced “new music” from her former girl group Destiny’s Child, at first it seemed like this meant a new album. It does not. It means a new song.
Otherwise, “Love Songs” is just that, a compendium of ballads concerning romance by the hitmaking late ’90s-early ’00s soul pop group fronted by Beyoncé and featuring Kelly Rowland — who also has a solo song included — and later Michelle Williams (and, at various times, LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Roberson, and Farrah Franklin).
This type of compilation can be done right — see: Madonna, “Something to Remember” — but in a digital world of playlist-making it’s unnecessary when, as in this case, 13 of the 14 tracks are already available.
Also, listening to the placid “Love Songs” you realize why Destiny’s Child released so few ballads and made their bones with more uptempo numbers like “Survivor” and “Bootylicious.” With the exception of the Bee Gees-penned “Emotion,” many of these songs are short on melody and rhythmically sluggish.
Destiny’s Child completists need only download the new track, “Nuclear,” a modestly appealing trifle that features quasi-scientific nonsense about “when two become one on a quantum level” and benefits from all the slow jam somnambulance preceding it by being slightly more alert.
Casual fans are better off getting the hits compilation “#1’s.” It’s a great dance-workout disc and clearer indicator of what these children were truly destined to do. (Out now) - SARAH RODMAN