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A Ranking Of Beyonce's 'I Am...Sasha Fierce' Deluxe Tracklist

The now-iconic LP spawned a whopping nine singles, but which track speaks the loudest 10 years later?

With two wildly successful solo albums and 10 Grammy wins already behind her, Beyoncé’s desire to grow as an artist led her to experiment with new concepts and genres on 2008’s I Am… Sasha Fierce, including folk (“If I Were a Boy”), alternative rock (“Smash Into You”) and electropop (“Sweet Dreams”).

Beyoncé, a true renaissance woman, is notoriously private in interviews, leaving the Beyhive to wonder what the superstar is like off stage. Luckily for us, the hardest-working woman in show business made a conscious effort to give fans a glimpse into her world on her third studio LP, I Am… Sasha Fierce– a double-disc album intended to show off the two facets of Beyoncé’s personality. The I Am… disc consists of all stripped-down ballads, whilst the edgy material on Sasha Fierce boasts Bey’s sexy alter ego and reinforces female empowerment.

“I know that people see celebrities, and they seem like they’re so perfect—they seem like their life is so great, and they have money and fame,” Beyoncé told MTV News at the time of the album’s release. “But I’m a human being. I cry. I’m very passionate and sensitive. My feelings get hurt. I get scared and nervous like everyone else. And I wanted to show that about myself.”

The entertainer’s transparency was rewarded in the coming weeks, months and years. Debuting atop the Billboard 200, I Am… Sasha Fierce sold 482,000 units in its first week and went on to sell over eight million copies worldwide. In addition, the album was certified double platinum by the RIAA and racked up a record-breaking six Grammy awards in one night, including Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).”

To celebrate I Am… Sasha Fierce’s 10th anniversary, VIBE ranked every song on the album’s deluxe edition.

Check it out below.

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18. “Poison”

Most people steer clear of poison, but what’s a woman to do when that special someone is the affliction and the remedy? “I don’t see how something good could come from loving you/ The death of me must be your mission,” Beyoncé sings on the set’s closing number, before finally accepting the inevitable.

17. “Disappear”

There’s nothing worse than realizing you neglected your partner once it’s too late. That’s the deal on “Disappear,” in which Bey retraces her steps, fully acknowledging the role she played in a failed relationship, e.g., “When I think about it/ I know that I was never there or even cared.”

The mezzo-soprano singer’s lower register takes center stage as she fights for another chance to make it right.

16. “Scared of Lonely”

Even the confident, booty-shaking Sasha Fierce gets scared of lonely -- a stark contrast to the album’s more aggressive cuts (e.g. “Video Phone” and “Diva”). On “Scared of Lonely,” Bey’s fearless alter ego bares her soul in a riveting vocal performance that deserves a standing ovation.

15. “Broken-Hearted Girl”

Bey’s no broken-hearted girl, but she learns that love and heartache aren’t always mutually exclusive, hence the opening lyrics, “You’re everything I thought you never were/ And nothing like I thought you could’ve been.” Co-written by Babyface, Norwegian production duo Stargate and Mrs. Carter herself, the pop-heavy “Broken-Hearted Girl” reveals the fiercely private superstar’s vulnerable side -- the main ingredient on the I Am… disc.

14. “Ave Maria”

This gem has been noted by Beyoncé as the “most personal” song off I Am… Sasha Fierce -- which is likely due to the fact that she and hubby JAY-Z walked down the aisle to Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” inspiring the then-newlywed to record her own version of the classic. Lyrics, such as “I’ve been alone when I’m surrounded by friends/ How could the silence be so loud?” will give you all the feels.

13. “Satellites”

Ahead of Beyoncé’s iconic 2009 performance at the Wynn Las Vegas, she stated: “People don’t know that these songs meant more than just the chorus that’s catchy, they don’t know that it meant way more than the video. People don’t know that it’s my life.” That’s evident in “Satellites” –which hints at the difficulties of making a relationship last when you’re in the public eye, e.g., “We’re always on display/Let’s run and hide.”

12. “Radio”

“Radio” isn’t your typical love song, making it a standout track on the Sasha Fierce disc. Beyoncé trades in her R&B roots for electropop, techno, house and synthesizers, which translates into a futuristic-yet-timeless sound that gets stuck in your head for days.

The song’s inspiration stems from Bey’s younger days. “In my household, I didn’t go to all of the parties, and I didn’t do all the things that a lot of the other teenage girls did because I was so in love with my radio and my music,” she explained. “I was so in love with this radio, and my parents were happy that I was into something positive.”

11. “Hello”

Borrowing Jerry Maguire’s famous “You had me at hello” line for the song’s hook, Beyoncé’s “Hello” is about, as she puts it, “meeting the man of your dreams for the first time.” Since 2003’s Dangerously In Love, the Queen has laid down countless tracks (“1+1”) that give us a glimpse into her and Jay’s coupledom, but “Hello” ranks among her best love songs.

10. “That’s Why You’re Beautiful”

Bey’s raw, sublime vocals on the grunge-tinged “That’s Why You’re Beautiful” will make you wonder why it didn’t make the final cut. More importantly, the electrifying ballad sounds like a precursor to “Rather Die Young,” “Start Over” and a handful of other 4-era tracks.

9. “Smash Into You”

Here, Bey sings about surrendering herself to the unknown at the start of a new relationship. “Smash Into You” gradually builds up in intensity, but is gentle at its core and guaranteed to give you goosebumps after every listen.

8. “Video Phone”

Beyoncé takes flirting to the next level on “Video Phone.” In between sly moans and groans, the Houston native spits some of her naughtiest lyrics: “What, you want me naked?/ If you likin’ this position you can tape it.”

The remixed version featuring Lady Gaga was a moderate success, reaching No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100.

7. “Diva”

Braggadocious Beyoncé is the best Beyoncé. “Fifty million ‘round the world and they say that I couldn’t get it/ I done got so sick and filthy with Benjis, I can’t spend it,” she raps over a stuttering beat, with production notes from Bangladesh, Sean Garrett and Queen Bey herself. The answer to Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli,” “Diva” is notable because Bey’s rapper persona on “***Flawless” (remix) and “Top Off” can be traced all the way back to the Sasha Fierce disc. Oh, and in case you forgot: A diva is a female version of a hustla.

6. “Ego”

“It’s too big/ It’s too wide/ It’s too strong/ It won’t fit/ It’s too much/ It’s too tough” -- what’s Beyoncé singing about? On this brassy R&B/jazz hybrid, Mrs. Carter sings about being attracted to her man’s huge ego, but he’s not the only one who’s got over-the-top swagger. During the song’s memorable piano breakdown, Bey unleashes her vocal prowess (skip to 2:52), proving that she really is the baddest woman in the game.

5. “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

Co-penned by Solange, the retro-style bonus track, “Why Don’t You Love Me?” features a fed up Beyoncé attempting to knock some sense back into an undeserving lover, whose failure to recognize all her wonderful attributes is truly despicable, to say the least.

In the end, with just seconds remaining, Bey ponders, “Maybe you’re just not the one/ Or maybe you’re just plain dumb.” We’re convinced that this guy is just plain dumb. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a 1950s-inspired music video, in which “BB Homemaker” washes dishes, scrubs floors, bakes heart-shaped cookies and dusts off her 16 Grammys (at the time).

4. “Sweet Dreams”

Never confused with Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” Beyoncé struggles to differentiate whether Prince Charming is a “sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare.”

The eerily fantastic dance track received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the song’s “keyboard-propelled” arrangement, which only broadened the singer’s fan base. “Sweet Dreams” reached No. 1 in New Zealand and managed to crack the Top Five in Australia, Ireland and the UK, further solidifying the entertainer’s international appeal.

3. “Halo”

Co-written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, “Halo,” which took home a Grammy award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2010, features Beyoncé very much in her prime. Flexing those heavenly pipes, ‘Yonce finds relief in knowing she’s found her perfect match.

Prior to its release, the former Destiny’s Child frontwoman was no stranger to performing ballads (“Listen”), but the genius of “Halo” is that even the most casual Beyoncé fans can appreciate it and sing along to the timeless tune. Up until 2018’s On the Run II tour, the downtempo hit remained a staple during the megastar’s concert setlists.

2. “If I Were a Boy”

In 2018, the thought-provoking, gender-swapping “If I Were a Boy” holds its relevance now more than ever. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear the tables turn on I Am… Sasha Fierce’s lead single, in which a sick-and-tired Beyoncé calls out all the hurtful things some men do while they’re in committed relationships.

“I’d put myself first/ And make the rules as I go/ ‘Cause I’d know that she’d be faithful/ Waitin’ for me to come home,” she broods in the second verse, before delivering one of the most heartfelt vocal performances throughout her illustrious career.

Even country music legend Reba McEntire covered “If I Were a Boy” for her 26th studio album, All the Women I Am.

1. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” is a ferocious, game-changing number that speaks for itself, but we’ll do our best to articulate the magic of this masterpiece, which started a cultural phenomenon and one of the biggest dance crazes of the 21st century.

This dancefloor classic instantly went on to become Beyoncé’s fifth chart-topper, but the lyrics serve as a clear warning to all the no-good men out there, who refuse to commit in relationships. “Don’t treat me to the things of the world/ I’m not that kind of girl/ Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve,” she commands on the bridge.

“I’ve always tried to pick songs and singles that were a part of pop culture, a part of things that people are passionate about and want to talk about and debate. ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)’ is an uptempo song that’s fun,” she explained to Billboard. “But it’s also something women go through every day.”

Beyoncé has lots of fierce girl power anthems (“Freakum Dress” and “Run the World (Girls)”) in her arsenal, but “Single Ladies” is the most iconic.

At times, 2009’s seventh best-selling digital single feels like a fun gathering amongst close girlfriends, who are simply telling it like it is, which is probably why we’re still gushing over it a full decade later. When “Single Ladies” arrived 10 years ago on this day, the unstoppable Tricky Stewart/The-Dream production would go on to transcend all genres, solidifying Bey’s status as one of the great performers of our generation.

Stream the album in its entirety below.

Princess Gabbara is a multimedia journalist and storyteller. She’s a former reporter for the Lansing State Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, who has written for outlets such as Billboard, Shondaland, Bitch Media, Bustle, The Boombox, The Grio, Ebony magazine, Essence, and Sesi. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @PrincessGabbara.

READ MORE: A Ranking Of Beyoncé’s ‘Dangerously In Love’ Tracklist

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.

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8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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