Watford-born producer Naughty Boy has worked with some formidable singers – he produced around half of Emeli Sandé’s blockbuster debut album ‘Our Version Of Events’, and his Sam Smith collaboration ‘La La La’ was a massive Number One hit – but this is a whole ‘nother type of coup. In recent years Beyoncé has dropped to featured artist status for only a handful of fellow musos: her husband Jay-Z, her former bandmate Michelle Williams, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, people like that. Yet here she is belting out a topline for the man Zayn Malik recently branded – rather cruelly, it has to be said – “a fat joke”.
She sounds tremendous on ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All)’, delivering some reasonably rousing lyrics about romantic reconciliation (“memories turn to dust, please don’t bury us“), but the track itself is pleasant rather than transcendent. ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All)’ begins as a minimal piano ballad before Naughty Boy introduces some clattering UK garage beats and it becomes, well, not a banger exactly, but definitely something you could tap your foot to under your desk. Towards the end, Bey shares vocals with soulful newcomer Arrow Benjamin, who does himself proud by holding his own alongside one of the most recognisable voices on the planet.
It’s not really good enough to explain how the hell Naughty Boy got Beyoncé on his track, but the feat alone should stop anyone from calling him a “fat joke” again any time soon.