The newest song on the list and the only track I’ve chosen from her self titled ‘surprise’ album Partition is B at her naughtiest. ‘Driver roll up the partition please, I don’t need you seeing Yoncé on her knees’ is such a slick lyric, overtly dirty and yet Beyoncé performs it in a way that makes it sound so typical. Its when that thudding beat kicks in that Partition really takes off, there’s a reason why there are hundreds of choreography videos to this on YouTube already. With a hook that pushes the sex appeal even higher Partition is a modern Yoncé classic.
The quintessential Beyoncé break up anthem, Irreplaceable proved that the first solo album wasn’t a fluke and made it perfectly clear that Bey was perfectly fine topping the charts by herself. Ne-Yo was on top form here, the golden years of hits like Take a Bow, Hate That I Love You and this is the best of the bunch. The kiss off hook of ‘To the left, to the left’ remains a highlight at Beyoncé gigs to this day. Jay-Z probably started taking notes after Irreplaceable.
Much of what makes Beyoncé a such an electric and consistently brilliant performer and artist is that she understands that restraint is just as powerful as being over the top. Listen is like years of restraint building up and being released as one massive belter of a ballad. This song is so ridiculously epic that it’s hard to even compare it to her other hits. It may be a Dreamgirls song, but as one of the new songs written for the film, it’s a Beyoncé song through and through. The parallels between the movie and real world make her performance just that bit more thrilling too.Many have tried to sing Listen, and by many I’m looking mainly to X Factor hopefuls, but no one owns the stage with a single note like Beyoncé does here.
Probably the most unexpected choice in my top 10, Green Light has always one of my favourite Bey tracks. Yet another single taken from B’Day, Green Light is funky and sassy in equal measure. The chants of ‘Go, Go, Go’ make for one hell of a hook, while her band is on top form throughout. Every brassy pop hits at just the right time, making sure there isn’t a note, or a dance move even, out of place. Green Light may not have been a huge hit, but it remains one of my most memorable Beyoncé singles.
There was a time when I wasn’t a fan of Love On Top. When she performed the song after announcing her pregnancy at he VMAs I tweeted out that I was gutted she was doing ‘one of the awful songs from 4’. 3 years on I’ve listened to it 121 times. Things change.
Who run the world? I’m pretty sure Beyoncé does whenever she performs this, her most obvious feminist anthem. This isn’t an inspirational call to action, or some feel good lyrics to proves girls deserve better. Run The World (Girls) is a statement, one delivered over an insanely catchy beat nicked from Major Lazer, but one that holds no prisoners. When Beyoncé asks ‘who run this mutha?’ it’s more of a proclamation than a real question. She knows the answer to that question and she has done for the last decade.
By far Beyoncé’s best ballad, there’s a reason why this epic Ryan Tedder track ends just about every Bey concert you’ll see. Unlike some of her similar epic ballads Halo manages to stay true to the sweet core message of the song without sounding too much like a ‘Diva Ballad’ moment. I never expected Halo to take off like it did, but it grows in scale on every listen. The thudding drums of Halo echo in arenas across the globe, with thousands of fans screaming ‘ I CAN SEE YOUR HALO’ at the top of their lungs. Exactly the way things should be.
If I had to name any song on this list ‘My Tune’, Diva would be it. Producer Bangladesh builds on his work on Lil Wayne’s A Milli for the repeating hook of ‘I’m a a Diva’ and the result never fails to drive me crazy. It’s the fiercest song of her career and probably the most ‘Sasha Fierce’ that Bey has ever been. No guest rapper needed, she spits her way through verse after verse owning every statement like she’s been rapping her whole career. Diva is a unique Beyoncé track for so many reasons and more than deserves a place in my top 3.
2) Sweet Dreams – I Am… Sasha Fierce – 2009
Given that there were 2 Beyoncé tracks featured in my Top 25 Singles list the top 2 songs here were pretty easy to predict. Sweet Dreams is a throbbing electro pop jam that can be reduced to that single shot of Beyoncé walking towards the camera in what is obviously her best video. Much like the number 1 song, Sweet Dreams is a huge song with or without Beyoncé, but it’s her delivery that makes it a classic.
‘You ready?’ (Surely I don’t need to explain why THIS is #1?)
See numbers 20-11 here