Not only has Beyoncé been leading music trends since the early 2000s—even the late 90s, if you’re a Destiny’s Child fan—but she did it with ferocity and innovation.
Her 2003 album Dangerously in Love announced her debut as a solo artist, and she and future husband Jay-Z showed how they were “madly in love.”
While Beyoncé remained loyal to Destiny Child for several years, her apparent star power and immediate personal success combined into one icon.
Fans were stunned on Wednesday when Beyoncé’s seventh studio album “Renaissance” leaked two days early — her first new music album since 2016’s acclaimed concept LP “Lemonade” . She has already teased fans with her mirror-ball-like first single, “Break My Soul,” and says the rest of the album will follow a similar sound path and summon listeners to the dance floor.
On Friday, Beyoncé released her seventh studio album, “Renaissance,” her first new music album since 2016’s acclaimed concept record “Lemonade.” She has already teased fans with her mirror-ball-like first single, “Break My Soul,” and says the rest of the album will follow a similar sound path and summon listeners to the dance floor.
In honor of the singer/actress/philanthropist/entrepreneur who set the record for the most Grammys awarded to a female singer (28) and continues to influence everything from fashion to dance moves, here is her ranking 15 of the best songs.
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15. Halo (2009)
Based on co-writer Ryan Tedder’s signature pop hit, the fourth single from “I Am…Sasha Fierce” repeats with its rhythm, but Beyoncé’s pure sound glides gracefully.
14. “Black March” (2020)
Musically, the song was released in a surprise Juneteenth, subtly combining trap and hip-hop with electronic underpinnings. Lyrically, Beyoncé orchestrates a celebration of black culture (“Motherland drips on me…I can’t forget that my history is her story”), activism (“Raise your fist and show black love” ”) and black pride (“We have a rhythm/We have pride/We gave birth to a king/We gave birth to a tribe”).
13. “Break My Soul” (2022)
Those wondering which direction Beyoncé will turn on her new album received an answer to this dizzying single, Robin S.’s 1993 club smash “Show Me Love,” Big Freedia’s Explode” and Beyoncé’s own unrestrained vocals. When not asking for reinvention (“I just quit / I’m going to find new motivation”) Beyonce’s half-rap attitude: “Queen in front and doms in back / Ain’t takin’ no flick, but the whole group crumbles already.”
12. “Forming” (2016)
What the song lacks in melody or hook, it makes up for in racial and political deficiencies with Beyoncé’s poignant lyrics. “My dad Alabama, my mom Louisiana,” she sings in a husky voice, the synthesizer bouncing like a rubber band at her words. The song — and the searing video from “Lemonade” remains one of her most important musical creations, and it also brings us the lyrics “Hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
11. “Listen” (2006)
Beyoncé’s gorgeous ballad on “Dreamgirls” (playing her character, Deena Jones) is one of four new songs written for the film version of the musical. Beyoncé-as-Deena soars in the form of a cinematic drama, singing with a belief in fulfilling dreams and finding your way, pulling vocal fireworks as the song reaches its peak.
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10. “Déjà Vu” (2006)
“Let’s go get ’em,” Beyoncé told Jay-Z, with a clear smile, and the two nodded cheerfully through funky R&B, seething with their sexual tension. “B-Day”‘s lead single further cemented Beyoncé’s status as an emerging icon with soulful horns and brisk hi-hats.
9. “The Best Thing I’ve Never Had” (2011)
Despite the beautiful piano bed and breezy ballad decor, there’s nothing weak about the way Beyonce tells “Thank god you screwed up/Thank god I dodged the bullet.” If you’re looking for a kiss that opens your heels and sashay-off, this is a good place to start.
8. “Running the World (Girls)” (2011)
One of Beyoncé’s greatest contributions is her continued support of women through chants of empowerment, which are never—and should not—be implicit. With stammering backing vocals and aggressive snare power, this dancehall-influenced thump is loaded with attitude as it celebrates female power.
7. “Sweet Dreams” (2009)
Originally titled “Beautiful Nightmare”, the electro-pop stunner from “I Am…Sasha Fierce” represents Beyoncé’s musical transformation. The humming guitar and synth-pop beats blended with slow bass lines have led many to compare it to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” This is not a bad thing.
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6. “Ring the Alarm” (2006)
The siren at the beginning of the song indicates that a more aggressive Bey is on the horizon, so cover is recommended. After filming the adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” Beyoncé said she was overwhelmed with pent-up emotions and thoughts, and immediately made this rough retort to her cheating lover.
5. “Irreplaceable” (2006)
“Left, left” became an unlikely mantra as Beyoncé instructed her ex to pack up and get out of her life. “I could have another you in a minute,” she sings on the hit, without a hint of malice, but with confidence.
4. “If I Were a Boy” (2008)
While technically a cover song (co-writer BC Jean released it), Beyoncé is completely immersed in the ballad’s soft introspection. Her voice is in predominantly smoky mode, contrasting acceptable perceptions of male or female behavior, while also gently guiding emotional understanding.
3. “Crazy in Love” (2003)
In her solo debut, Beyoncé mixed pop, funk, soul and hip-hop (courtesy of the suitor at the time, Jay-Z), dug up The Chi-Lites’ 1970 song “Are You My Woman” (Tell Me) “Sample So)” and announce to the world that she’s ready to have some fun with the hook’s whip.
2. “Love Above” (2011)
As well as boasting all sorts of brilliant key changes, the song showcases Beyonce’s underrated vocal range as her escalating vocals climb mountains worthy of Diana Ross. With its ’80s vibe, the hits from her album “4” retain that old-school shimmer and sweet, sunny bounce.
1. “Single Ladies (In The Ring)” (2008)
When your globally successful video is as ingrained in pop culture as the song itself, it’s definitely time to take a bow. With its shrugged proclamation (“If you liked it, then you should put a ring on it”) and relentless beat, the song won three Grammys at the 2010 awards show, as both a female endowment Kwon song, but also a punch to men who are afraid of commitment. At the same time, the video spawned a flood of fans imitating Beyoncé’s dance moves ahead of TikTok and sparked a brilliant “Saturday Night Live” spoof.
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