30. The Closer I Get To You (with Luther Vandross) (2003)
As far removed from the Beyoncé or Lemonade album innovations as possible, The Closer I Get to You is an elegant cover of a 1977 Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway duet, with Luther Vandross in the role of Hathaway. It’s lovely: a great song, beautifully sung, with Beyoncé admirably indifferent to the presence of a titan of the soul.
29. If I Were a Child (2008)
As for powerful mainstream R&B ballads driven by acoustic guitar and sung forcefully, If I Were a Boy is an impressively original example of typography. Underneath his heartbroken lyrics about a failed relationship lurking a subtle, sad excoriation of what would now be called male privilege, the lyrics cleverly switch between exploring the subject and suggesting how it might be altered.
28. Don’t get hurt (2016)
Don’t Hurt Yourself co-author Jack White compared Beyoncé’s voice to Betty Davis’s, and there’s a definite hint of Davis’s furious rock / funk hybrid on Lemonade’s more aggressive track. The live version of Homecoming amplifies things even more, mixing Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir into the mix.
27. Dangerously in Love (2003)
On one level, Dangerously in Love, previously recorded by Destiny’s Child, is a decent, standard R&B ballad, nothing quite as distinctive as the best Beyoncé songs. But it is about the vocal performance in his solo version, his changes of intimacy and vulnerability to power at full throttle, always maintaining a touch of rawness.
26. Drunk in love (Jay-Z feat) (2013)
Drunk in Love feels symbolic of a clear relaxation from Beyoncé’s expertly choreographed image. A song about the messy cocktail of alcohol and sex, its lyrics are full of joyous double meanings – “park it on my lot,” “ride it on my surfboard” – while its music is equal parts giddy and euphoric.
25. Deja Vu (feat Jay-Z) (2006)
A Jay-Z guest space, explosive brass, and a distinctive old-school funk feel, but Déjà Vu is more than Crazy in Love 2.0. There’s the argument that, while less hooked, it’s a melodically louder song than its more famous sister, and the intro, where Beyoncé gradually introduces each instrument over an urgent bass line, is spectacularly moving.
24. All Night (2016)
A low-key delight amid Lemonade’s flashy hell-no-no-fury, All Night is, in its own way, as shocking as anything else on the album. A beautifully written song on the rarely explored theme of long-term monogamy, its musical setting points towards the southern soul of the 60s, lent extra power by the emotional commitment in its voice.
23. Diva (2008)
Audibly similar to Lil Wayne’s A Milli, but not worse for it, Diva’s brilliance lies in the way she vigorously claims an insult thrown at women, particularly the successful ones. “A diva,” announces Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé’s drag queen-inspired alter ego, “is a female version of a con artist.”
22. Freakum Dress (2006)
A song that belatedly triggered a TikTok memeWhy Freakum Dress was not released as a B-Day single remains an enduring mystery. It’s electrifying from start to finish: the swinging organ part, the rumbling drums, the explosive choruses, the unexpected melodic rise to the chorus.
21. The Carters – Apeshit (2018)
Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s collaborative album Everything Is Love paled a bit in comparison to their previous solo releases, particularly Lemonade, but it had its moments, not least the trap-infused Apeshit, which proved what Savage later underlined. : that Beyoncé is pretty good at rapping.
20. Freedom (2016)
Interest in Lemonade tended to focus on what it revealed about the state of the Carter-Knowles marriage, but it was as musically adventurous as it was poignant, as evidenced by Freedom, an astonishing explosion of 1960s psychedelic, Alan Lomax field recordings. , punishment blows and the fierce guest appearance of Kendrick Lamar.
19. Me, myself and me (2003)
The negative image of Crazy in Love, Me, Myself and I moves seamlessly from heartbroken to fucking you – “come pick up your clothes” – to empowering sing-with-me-girls about super cool G-funk-ish defeat. And the voice is spectacular: watch the improvisation pan between the left and right speakers in 3min 36sec.
18. I Care (Live) (2019)
The original version of I Care is great, a maelstrom of drums and floating ambient synth on which Beyoncé does her aggrieved woman thing in style, but the live version of Homecoming turns it all – rhythm track, emotional intensity – to the max. , and throws brass band horns for added urgency.
17. Lessons from Dad (2016)
Always smart in her choice of collaborators, Beyoncé’s pairing here with Nashville refuseniks the Chicks is particularly inspired. She adds her country sound to traditional jazz-infused New Orleans R&B, a stunning act of artistic point-bonding and evidence of a genuinely original and eclectic musical mind.
16. The Alarm Sounds (2006)
“You’ve never seen a fire like the one imma caused,” the Ring the Alarm protagonist warns her unfaithful partner. The bursts of distortion in her voice and the powerful accompaniment of aggressive rhythms, morse code-like electronics, and howling sirens amplify the impression that your ex will regret the day he crossed paths with her.
15. Party (with André 3000) (2011)
Sunlit Synths, Powered By 808s, Influenced By 80s R&B, A Sample Of Doug E Fresh And Slick Rick’s Old School Rap Anthem La Di Da Di, A Rare Guest Appearance From André 3000, in super crisp form, discussing everything from sexual prowess to changing generations of hip-hop, and an exuberant, laid-back performance from Beyoncé. The party has it all.
14. Mood 4 Eva (with Oumou Sangaré, Jay-Z and Childish Gambino) (2019)
The most interesting thing about The Lion King: The Gift was that Beyoncé’s role was both a curator and an artist: she regularly gave center stage to lesser-known artists. That said, she was in imperious form here, towering over a supporting cast that included Jay-Z and Oumou Sangaré. “Why would you test me, why would you bother? / I’m Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter ”.
13. XO (2013)
The first single from Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled album was the most obvious hymn on it, a declaration of undying love, vast, resonant, growing, and assisted by a gospel choir that never sounds trivial. Co-writer Ryan Tedder rightly suggested it was “a bigger and better song” than their previous hit along the same lines, Halo.
12. Run the World (Girls) (2011)
One amazing thing about Beyoncé is the ease with which she imposes her own identity on songs, regardless of her choice of collaborators. Run the World is essentially Major Lazer’s Pon De Floor with her voice added, but she, to use the cliché of The X Factor, makes it her own, turning it from a minimalist dance floor hit into a fierce war cry.
11. Wait (2016)
It’s hard to dissociate Hold Up from the accompanying video, with Beyoncé wielding a baseball bat, but even without the funny visuals, Hold Up is a blast, a song where Yeah Yeah Yeahs maps meet Andy Williams samples. and Soulja Boy. plus a voice simmering in anger before bursting into a rap.
10. Irreplaceable (2006)
Unbelievably, the most successful song of 2007 in the US, 10 weeks at No. 1, almost failed to make it to B-Day amid concerns that it didn’t fit in with the album’s club-centric vibe and was too popular. for R&B radio. Beyoncé’s vocal reading of her failed relationship theme ultimately leads to empowerment and understandably quelled those fears.
9. Partition (2013)
A song in two magnificent parts. The first recalls co-producer Timbaland’s visionary work from the golden age: the rhythms created by hitting a cube and decorated with atonal synth spots; the second is electro sensual and minimalist with Beyoncé in an almost Prince-style dirty mind mode: “He Monica Lewinskyed over my gown.”
8. Love at the Top (2011)
Beyoncé at her most pop, Love on Top is a joyous confection of pop-soul from the 80s, with a power and edge that carry it far beyond the tribute or pastiche of her voice, apparently inspired by playing the ” unapologetic, daring and strong “by Etta. James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records.
7. Black Parade (2020)
“I made a picket sign on your picket fence – take it as a warning.” George Floyd’s death and subsequent worldwide protests inspired a number of artists to write songs, but Beyoncé’s might be the most dominant. It is simultaneously a lesson in African history, a hymn to the achievements of blacks, and a just outburst of insurrectionary fury.
6. Give me body (2006)
The best of Beyoncé’s sadly named second album, B-Day. Get Me Bodied has a gritty Swizz Beatz-produced backing composed solely of drums and sung vocals and a matching Beyoncé voice, its rawness sounding more like Tina Turner in primetime than 2000s diva. The extended mix of six minutes is the version chosen.
5. Sorry (2016)
The phrase about Becky with good hair broke the Internet, but Sorry is full of murderous lyrics, an expression of cold rage at the infidelity of a couple. More than a cunning manipulation of a lewd interest in her private life, Sorry is a fantastic song, its sparse electronics ringing as chilly as the singer’s mood.
4. Single Ladies (Put on a Ring) (2008)
The success of Single Ladies was predestined, clearly destined for the soundtrack of bachelorette nights and wedding discos for the rest of the time, but its greatness lies in the fact that it never sounds funky. The hooks are irresistible, the accompaniment (loud drums, rare minor synths) is delightfully out of the loop.
3. *** flawless (feat Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) (2013)
Beyoncé at her most dominant, Flawless delivers the improbable sound of a trap-inspired club banger with a message that goes beyond catchy, lyrical lines: “I woke up like this,” “Bend over you bitches,” and turns it. into something deeper, thanks to the sample. from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful speech, We Should All Be Feminists.
2. Crazy in Love (Jay-Z feat) (2003)
If you are going to embark on a solo career, this is the way to announce it: by releasing one of the most waterproof pop singles of the 21st century, a song in which everything is indisputably great: voice, rap, chi- Lites Sample: what almost immediately it goes beyond the state of success and becomes a reality.
1. Training (2016)
Beyoncé’s catalog of soloists is rich and diverse, and she has kept her bar high. Even without turning to Destiny’s Child’s work, you could easily replace half the tracks on this list with others without affecting the quality of what’s there. It makes choosing number one a thankless task, but Formation does everything you could possibly want a Beyoncé song to do in three and a half minutes. The music is adventurous, but it also works like pop; The lyrics balance the personal and the political, it’s a powerful statement of black resistance and a tribute to Beyoncé’s fabulousness, and her voice is flawless, slipping between joy and determination. A masterpiece.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism