The lyrics make sweeping statements about the power of her relationship. "1+1" was generally well received by music critics who noted its resemblance to Knowles' 2009 single, "Halo". The song was also complimented for its low-key instrumentation, which provides emphasis on Knowles' vocals. Despite it being a promotional single, "1+1" peaked at number 82 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and at number 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, among others. The accompanying music video for "1+1" was directed by Knowles herself alongside Lauren Briet and Ed Burke, and it premiered on August 26, 2011. The video was a different direction for Knowles who is normally known for her heavy dance routines in her clips. The video for "1+1" experiments with psychedelic visual effects and innovative lighting, which altogether give it a cinematic feel. The video generally met with positive reception from music critics, who described it "sells sex as art" and that it will be remembered as one of Knowles' most iconic visual work. Soon after Knowles' performance on American Idol, a video surfaced online and received considerable coverage from different media.
Beyonce "1+1" Song
It was filmed by Jay-Z with a camera phone and it shows Knowles rehearsing "1+1" backstage at American Idol. The ballad was included on Knowles' set list for a free concert as part of Good Morning America's Summer Concert Series and on her revue, 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé, held at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Knowles' live performances of "1+1" have received acclaim; a writer of The Huffington Post described her live performance at the American Idol as "an epic, emotionally-charged [one]." American singers Dondria and Tiffany Evans have covered the ballad with some lyrical modifications. "1+1" was written and produced by Knowles, Terius "The-Dream" Nash and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart. The song was partly recorded at the The Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada) and partly at the Triangle Sound Studio in Atlanta, Georgia. The-Dream originally titled it "Nothing But Love" and intended to include it on his second studio album, Love vs. Money (2009). In the United States, "1+1" was released on May 25, 2011, through iTunes Store as a promotional single from 4, following the release of the lead single "Run the World (Girls)" in April 2011. People who pre-ordered 4 at the iTunes Store received a free download of "1+1" on May 25. "1+1" was not sent for airplay, with "Best Thing I Never Had" favored as the second single from 4, following "Run the World (Girls)". The cover art of "1+1" was photographed by American artist Anthony Duran.
"1+1" is a downtempo power ballad derived from the genres of R&B and soul music. The song features "a soft, almost non-existent" backing beat, and makes use of guitar and piano as its foundation, while wind chimes and funk-influenced bass instrumentation is also present. According to the sheet music published by EMI Music Publishing, "1+1" is set in 12/8 time with a slow tempo of fifty beats per minute. It is written in the key of G♭ major, and Knowles' voice spans from G♭2 to C♭6. "1+1" generally demonstrates the raw vocals of Knowles, presenting a side of her voice she told Billboard magazine she wanted to use more of on her then forthcoming album, 4: "I used a lot of the brassiness and grittiness in my voice that people hear in my live performances, but not necessarily on my records." The low-key instrumentation allows Knowles' voice to display all the emotional points, in a way similar to that of Whitney Houston as stated by Amos Barshad of New York magazine. According to a journalist from The Huffington Post, "1+1" contrasts with "Run the World (Girls)", in which Knowles "replac[es] the defiance [of the latter] with devotion". Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone felt that "1+1" calls back to both Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" (1960) and Prince's "Purple Rain" (1984). Erika Brooks Adickman of Idolator noted that the song bears similarities to Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" (2004) as well as Schoolhouse Rock!'s "Three Is a Magic Number" (1996), and compared Knowles' vocals on "1+1" to Knowles' own ones on "Halo" (2009). On the other hand, Gabi Gregg from MTV TJ said the ballad is "reminiscent" of Knowles' Dangerously in Love era.
It was reported in early August 2011 that Knowles was recording new music videos for several songs from 4, including "1+1" which had already been shot as of August 3, 2011. The video premiered on August 26, 2011 on E! News at 7:00 pm EST/PST and it was posted on Knowles' official website one hour later. It was directed by Knowles herself alongside Lauren Briet and Ed Burke.The song's video features several close-up shots of Knowles, and incorporates psychedelic light effects and symmetrical filming photography. As the acoustic guitar begins playing, Knowles' face comes into view. She stands with blond hair draped just below her exposed shoulders. As she intently stares into the camera, her skin glistens as though having been coated with a honey-like and glittery substance. Turning her head from right to left, with her eyes fixed off-camera, Knowles starts belting out the first verse. As the chorus is reached, scenes of Knowles in a darkened room are shown. Additionally, she places her face delicately against dripping water, gently brushing it with her lips and palms. The scenery changes, and finds Knowles back in the darkened chamber, where she removes her dress.
A quick peek at the "IV" tattoo inked on Knowles' left ring finger is shown (a reference to her album's title, 4), before she bathes in a tub of flowers as well as berries and blows billows of smoke. As she continues to caress her upper-body, an array of light imagery is projected behind her, serving as a backdrop. During the second verse, the video introduces usage of symmetrical visual arts. Knowles appears standing in front of a purple background, draped by large and billowing garments. As the song progresses, her emotions are heightened; zoomed shots of tears trickling down her cheeks are shown. A man appears behind Knowles, and begins closely embracing her in endearment. The man is nondescript, and while his muscular arms grip Knowles body before taking her through a series of dips and bends, he remains mostly in the background. Still having tears rolling down her cheeks, Knowles chants to her love interest to make love to her on the song's vocal finale. As the guitar melodies close the song, several scenes of Knowles are shown, as she is engulfed by the colorful light and special effects. The video ends with the camera returning to a glistening Knowles with blackened scenery. The-Dream's demo of "1+1", originally titled as "Nothing But Love", leaked onto the internet in late May 2011. In late June 2011, American recording artist Dondria posted a video of herself singing "1+1" while seated at her computer. On July 12, 2011, Rap-Up reported that the American singer and occasional actress, Tiffany Evans, who previously covered the song "Speechless" from Knowles' own first studio album, Dangerously in Love (2003), had also covered the ballad with some lyrics modifications. Knowles appeared on Entertainment Tonight on June 16, 2011 to promote the exclusive-to-Target deluxe edition of 4, and gave fans a sneak preview of its television commercial. The 30-second commercial, which features "1+1" and "Countdown" playing in the background, began airing in the United States on June 24, 2011.