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Beyonce’s Best Songs: Ranking 10-1

In case you missed the news this week, Beyonce will be performing during the coveted Super Bowl halftime show. Beyonce is one of my favorite performers. I have no doubt that she will put on a great show and entertain the almost 100 million viewers that will be watching. Last year Madonna gave a mediocre performance so it won’t be hard to top that one either. In celebration of that news, I’m going to use this weekend’s list to countdown my 20 favorite Beyonce songs. Check back through the blog to find the previous ten songs. Also, I tried to find a pic of Beyonce from the 2010 Grammys when she won 6 awards that night (Adele tied her this year for most awards won in one year by a female artist) but there isn’t one from the press room. The only ones I could find where some professional shoot where they are handing her the awards but she isn’t able to hold all of them.

10. “Irreplaceable” – B’Day
“To the left, to the left”. It’s going to go down as one of Beyonce’s most iconic songs because of that opening. It’s a catchy hook and it made it a huge hit on the radio. She’s leaving her man behind and she’s telling him that “the truth of the matter is/replacing you is so easy”. And Beyonce makes us easily believe that. The sound is also a little bit different from what she usually does. The guitar throughout the song makes it stand out from others in her catalog and maybe that’s what made it more unique for listeners too.

9. “Love on Top” – 4
This song is probably most infamous because of her VMA performance. She performed it at the 2011 ceremony and at the end of the song she unbuttoned her lady blazer and revealed her baby bump. But the song itself is fantastic and deserves to be recognized as an achievement in songwriting and production and not just the memorable VMA performance. One of the things that makes this so unique is the vocal range that Beyonce demonstrates in the final choruses. She goes through the song and does the chorus four times in a row at the end. Each time she goes up one key. It’s phenomenal what she’s able to do and pulls it off perfectly.

8. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” – I Am…Sasha Fierce
As I mentioned in the last song, this song probably isn’t as recognized as the iconic music video. She won Video of the Year for it (but lost Female Video and caused the Taylor Swift/Kanye West incident). And the music video is spectacular and will be one of the things she’s most remembered for. The song itself is amazing too. It’s incredibly catchy and I think everybody had it on repeat when it first came out in October 2008. One of the things about the songs that always gets me is the final chorus. It’s done slightly faster than the other choruses in the song and it ends the song on a perfect note. Just giving you another reason to hit the repeat button on your iPod.

7. “Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix)” – B’Day
It’s impossible not to dance to this song, especially in the Extended Mix when Beyonce goes through the dance floor repertoire (“Do the scissor leg/Touch your heel/Touch your toe” and “Do the Naomi Campbell walk/Naomi Campbell walk/Walk across the room like Naomi Campbell”). It’s incredibly catchy and the beat/melody is unforgettable. It could’ve been easily for the vocals to get lost and the production do all the work, but Beyonce doesn’t let that happen. Her vocals are as strong as ever and takes the song to another level. I also love the music video too. She has her former Destiny’s Child ladies Kelly & Michelle and her sister Solange help her with her dance moves. Beyonce also did an updated version of the song in 2011 for Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity campaign. It was made more kid-friendly and titled “Move Your Body”. It’s not as powerful as the original but it’s still catchy as hell.

6. “Run the World (Girls)” – 4
I’ve stated with some previous songs that I’m surprised that weren’t released as singles or surprised they didn’t do as well. It’s the opposite with this one. I’m surprised that she released this as a single and that it was the lead-off for her new album. It’s almost too obscure and weird for the mass audience to get. But that being said, it’s one of my favorite songs and I appreciate that she tried to do something different by releasing it as the lead-off. It samples the popular dance song “Pon de Floor” and it makes it even more powerful. It’s an aggressive track and Beyonce brings her most intense vocals to it. I just love the structure of the song and the beat/melody. It took a few listens, but once you stop expecting another “pop song” and accept it for a hip-hop dance beat, it’s a phenomenal experience. The music video is also incredible too. Probably my favorite video of hers.

5. “Crazy in Love” (featuring Jay-Z) – Dangerously in Love
This song put Beyonce on the map as solo artist and changed her career forever. The song is incredibly catchy. And usually rap verses inserted into pop songs annoy me and don’t work, Jay-Z adds another layer to the song and brings to another level. The verse after Jay-Z’s rap is one of Beyonce’s best and it shows off her vocal prowess that would become her signature in the music industry. It was another one of those songs that you had on repeat immediately when it came out and it took a few months before you got tired of it. The song itself was also highly regarded and appeared on a-lot of year-end lists and best of the decade lists. VH1 names it the #1 greatest song of the 2000s.

4. “Scared of Lonely” – I Am…Sasha Fierce
Not many people know about this song and it’s a shame. While Beyonce is known for her intensity and take-no-prisoners attitude, this song shows a more vulnerable side and digs deep into an emotional territory she’s not usually known for. And I think that’s why this song stands out so much for me. I love her “Hey!”‘s during the bridge of the song towards the end. She shows off some of her strongest vocals ever. And the production of the song should be noted too. It has a really interesting sound with guitars and effects peppering the music. I wish she would have at least made a promotional music video for it. They could’ve done something really interesting and powerful to make the song more commercial. Her live performance is pretty strong though. That’s where this pic comes from.

3. “Listen” – Dreamgirls
Beyonce should’ve been an Oscar winner for this song or at least a nominee (They introduced a stupid rule that year that would only allow a maximum of 3 songwriters to be nominated. Beyonce was left off in favor of the other 3 writers). It’s an original song that she co-wrote for Dreamgirls, which she starred in as Deena Jones. Usually original songs in established musicals are ham-fisted and are only done to seem new and original for the movie. But the song actually really added to the character of Deena in the movie and elevated the character beyond what she was given in the stage version. In the updated stage version that’s been touring around the country (starring American Idol alumnus Syesha) added the song to the production. I love the building emotion in the song. In the beginning she’s very soft but each verse builds and builds until all of her emotion comes out in the final chorus. It’s a perfect song for a musical and one of Beyonce’s strongest songs to date. It’s one of my dreams to do a musical starring Beyonce. She would just wear a bunch of pretty outfits and sing whatever she wants to. Let’s make it happen Hollywood! I’ll write it.

2. “Dance for You” – 4
This song really surprised me. Along with “Schoolin’ Life”, it’s a bonus track off of 4 that should’ve been a single. According to some reviews I read, it’s considered a “slow jam”. Which I’m not sure what that means, but if it means that it’s a fucking awesome song then they are completely right. While I’ve noted the production bringing some of her songs to life, the stripped down production of this makes Beyonce’s vocals shine bright. This is probably my favorite vocal of hers to date. She’s powerful but completely sincere and loving towards the subject of the song. It’s a great contrast. The music video is a little cheesy, but I think they got desperate for ideas because they filmed all of the 4 music videos at the same time before she looked too pregnant. I’ll give her a break.

1. “Countdown” – 4
My top 2 choices both come from her 4 album. It’s probably considered her least successful album commercial, but professionally I thought it was her strongest. She could’ve easily done another pop album and recruited all of the usual suspects to have a lot of hits. But she went a different route and created some really interesting music. “Countdown” being the most interesting. It’s actually the 3rd most-listened to song on my iPod and I can proudly say that I know all of the lyrics and can successfully sing/rap them (thank you Voice & Diction class). She has a strong, fierce, intense attitude again but it’s used in a more positive way to say how much she’s in love with her man. I love her rap verses and the use of the Boyz II Men sample in the chorus is brilliant. When the album first came out I completely gravitated towards this song and put it on repeat multiple times. It’s an intense ride from start to finish. And you can’t help but love Beyonce even more because of it. It’s also very appropriate to end this countdown with “Countdown”.

HONORABLE MENTION: (21-30, Unranked)
“At Last” – Cadillac Records
“Ave Maria” – I Am…Sasha Fierce
“Dreamgirls” – Dreamgirls
“End of Time” – 4
“I Was Here” – 4
“Lift Off” (Jay-Z & Kanye West featuring Beyonce) – Watch the Throne
“Radio” – I Am…Sasha Fierce
“Telephone” (Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce) – The Fame Monster
“Why Don’t You Love Me” – I Am…Sasha Fierce
“Work It Out” – Austin Powers in Goldmember