"1 + 1" (CD Single)

Music review by
Stephanie Bruzzese, Common Sense Media
"1 + 1" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Love song uses violent metaphors to describe feelings.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Mostly a message about loving someone a lot, mixed in with somewhat disjointed metaphors about fighting and dying: "And I don't know when I'm gonna die, but I hope that I'm gonna die by you / And I don't know much about fighting, but I know I will fight for you / Just when I ball up my fist I realize that I'm laying right next to you."

Positive Role Models & Representations

No role model behavior one way or another, just a description of being in love.


A gun metaphor used to describe falling in love: "I don't know much about guns, but I've been shot by you." Strong metaphors about shooting, fighting, and violence.


Several lines about "making love."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the single "1 + 1" doesn't include profanity or overtly adult content, but it does contain some strong metaphors about shooting, fighting, and violence (in relation to being in love), and it repeats the line "make love to me" several times throughout the song. Overall, these traits make the tune too mature for younger ears.

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What's the story?

Beyonce's power-ballad "1 + 1" debuted on the finale of the 2011 season of American Idol and is featured on her full-length record, 4. The song is squarely about love, only with an unusual twist: It employs aggressive metaphors about shooting, fighting, and death to get its points across. Though there's no profanity or extremely graphic descriptions, the violent overtone and repeated references to "making love" are things that parents will want to consider before allowing younger kids to listen to the song.

Is it any good?

As usual, Beyonce's incredible pipes make this track a cut above the rest. While the standard piano-based slow-song arrangement is nothing extraordinary, it's still a pretty tune that will strike at the hearts of all those who are suckers for a good love song.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Beyonce uses violent examples to describe her feelings for the person she loves. Does feeling like you've "been shot" by someone you love seem like a healthy way to feel?

  • Why do you think so many songs compare love to violence? What's the connection?

Music details

  • Artist: Beyonce Knowles
  • Release date: May 25, 2011
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Columbia
  • Genre: R&B
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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