Us proud members of the Beyhive are sitting by the clock this week, counting down the days, minutes and seconds until Beyonce releases her new album Renaissance.
It’s been a long time coming for the new material as Beyonce, 40, last dropped an album – Lemonade – in 2016.
So far, we’ve only heard a snippet of Renaissance Act I, with the singer dropping Break My Soul as the lead single.
And my, what a surprise it was with Beyonce jumping head first into the dance genre, suggesting Renaissance will be nothing like we’ve heard from her before.
Beyonce’s catalogue is one of the strongest among modern pop singers and always a pure joy to devour – her collaborative album, Everything In Love, with husband Jay Z and the Lion King: The Gift soundtrack deserve special mention.
While it makes us physically sick to put any Beyonce album ‘last’, here’s our list of her albums ranked from best to sixth best (we don’t do worst here)…
6. B’Day (2006)
Last but by no means least, Beyonce’s second solo album was an all-round fun experience.
It’s mostly an upbeat record featuring absolute bops such as Deja Vu, Get Me Bodied, Upgrade U, Freakum Dress and Irreplaceable, which will never go out of style.
However, our queen had bigger things on the horizon in terms of fleshing out a body of work with variety…
5. Dangerously In Love (2003)
Ah, Beyonce’s baby! Her first album as a solo artist after Destiny’s Child went their separate ways.
The album’s lead single, Crazy In Love, was famously polarising initially but Dangerously In Love won over sceptics who were previously unsure of the direction Bey’s music was headed.
It’s incredible to think that her solo debut, released 18 years ago, holds such notable songs such as Baby Boy, Naughty Girl, Me Myself & I, The Closer I Get To You and Dangerously In Love 2, as they haven’t aged a day.
Also, Speechless – track number nine – gets an honourable mention as an underrated hit because, my god, what a stunning classic.
4. 4 (2011)
Beyonce’s fourth studio album will always be an important part of her career as it was the first album she released without the guidance of her father and longtime manager, Mathew Knowles, after parting ways.
If her previous monster album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, cemented her status as a global pop star outside of Destiny’s Child, then 4 brought her back to her roots.
Party, featuring Andre 3000, was a real treat for 80s and 90s kids with its slow-bounce synthesisers bringing us straight to the cookouts and BBQs, while End Of Time and Run The World (Girls), with their full-throttle live choreography, signalled the beginning of Beyonce embracing African dance and injecting culture into her art.
In short, it was an emancipating album that propelled a blossoming icon.
3. I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008)
Ah, the album with the single that had the ‘greatest music video of all time’ – thanks Kanye.
I Am… Sasha Fierce was the first time Beyonce had begun to play with the boundaries of what an album should look like, with the concept record split into two halves to embrace both sides of her personality.
We were introduced to Sasha Fierce for the first time and proved to be a force to be reckoned with, as Single Ladies, Sweet Dreams and Video Phone, leaving their imprint on Beyonce’s catalogue. However, we also got to meet her vulnerable side on the I Am flip side, which included ballads like If I Were A Boy and Halo, two undeniably strong Beyonce classics.
2. Lemonade (2016)
The surprise release of Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 album set the tone for the rest of her future album drops, as evidenced with Lemonade which arrived with no prolonged promotional campaign.
Lemonade is certainly a close second as Beyonce’s best albums go, with the singer experimenting like never before with a delicious variety of genres.
From the country twangs of Daddy Lessons to the rippling rock of Don’t Hurt Yourself and the sultry R&B of All Night, the album really covers all bases and does it perfectly. Lemonade doesn’t scrimp on the content either as Beyonce shares a rare insight into her marital problems with Jay Z – the line: ‘You better call Becky with the good hair’ on Sorry will forever be iconic – while also owning her Black identity like never before on Formation.
1. Beyonce (2013)
Which brings us to Beyonce’s best body of work of all time (in our opinion, don’t come for us). In the early hours of a frosty December morning almost nine years ago, Beyonce broke the internet, shocked the world and left us shaking in excitement when she quietly dropped her fifth solo studio album.
It came with no announcement, no prior warning turning the music industry on its head at how an artist as major as Beyonce could plan, record and release a whole album without anyone knowing.
Not only was it an album, it was a ‘visual album’ and, dare we say it, the first of its kind with each song carrying an accompanying music video.
Yep, Queen Bey had been a busy bee and we had no idea.
Beyonce, the album, is a stunning body of work with a brilliantly considered tracklist, with each song flowing seamlessly from one to the next.
The sounds were bolder and more powerful than we’d heard from Bey so far, with songs like Drunk In Love, Partition, No Angel and Mine all as haunting, sensual and mysterious as each other.
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