Top 10 Best Beyonce Songs

Beyonce
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01
of 10

"Irreplaceable" (2006)

Beyonce - Irreplaceable
Beyonce - "Irreplaceable". Courtesy Columbia

Ne-Yo began writing "Irreplaceable" thinking of it as a country song. However, when the song was turned over to Beyonce to perform, it became an R&B-laced female empowerment anthem. The Norwegian duo Stargate contributed to the songwriting and production. "Irreplaceable" met with strong critical acclaim and headed straight to #1 on the pop singles chart and stayed for ten weeks. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year while making the line "to the left, to the left" stick in everyone's mind. The Anthony Mandler-directed music video features Beyonce's all-female band Suga Mama. It was nominated for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards. A Spanish language version of "Irreplaceable" broke into the top 10 on the Latin songs chart.

When Stargate initially worked with Ne-Yo on "Irreplaceable," it was sung by a male vocalist, but everyone agreed that a female vocalist would be more suitable. Although she liked the song from the beginning, Beyonce didn't think "Irreplaceable" fit the gritty, club-oriented sound of her album B'Day. However, producer Swizz Beatz convinced her to include it in a more R&B-oriented style.

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02
of 10

"Crazy In Love" featuring Jay-Z (2003)

Beyonce - Crazy In Love featuring Jay-Z
Beyonce - "Crazy In Love" featuring Jay-Z. Courtesy Columbia

Kicked off with a blasting horn figure, rapping by Jay-Z and sung "uh oh uh oh," this song was a triumphant opening salvo for Beyonce as a solo artist. Basking in critical acclaim, "Crazy In Love" went to the top of the pop singles chart for eight weeks. It also topped the R&B and dance charts. "Crazy In Love" was the winner of two Grammy awards, including Best R&B Song, and let everyone know Beyonce was serious about moving beyond her work with Destiny's Child. The French horn hook in "Crazy In Love" samples the 1970 song "Are You Woman (Tell Me So)" byt the Chi-Lites.

Much of Beyonce's debut album Dangerously In Love was complete for a planned release in October 2002. However, the album was delayed to leave room for the success of fellow Destiny Child member Kelly Rowland's duet with Nelly "Dilemma." During the delay period, Beyonce went back to the studio to record more songs. "Crazy In Love" was one of those. It was released in May 2003, and it topped the R&B and dance charts in addition to its pop success.

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03
of 10

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" (2008)

Beyonce - Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)
Beyonce - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)". Courtesy Columbia

The acclaim heaped on the music video accompanying "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," including an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, should not detract from the pleasures of the song itself. It was one of two singles, along with "If I Were a Boy," released to introduce the album I Am...Sasha Fierce. The upbeat, catchy hook is attached to lyrics that empower women in romantic relationships. It has also become a favorite for wedding receptions. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" reached #1 on the pop singles, R&B, and dance charts, and has sold over four million digital copies. It earned three Grammy Awards including Song of the Year. 

Christopher "Tricky" Stewart was inspired to begin work on "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" after Beyonce's secret marriage to rapper Jay-Z in April 2008. He conceived the song as the only public statement she ever made about the marriage. Rolling Stone ranked the recording as the best single of 2008.

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04
of 10

"Drunk In Love" (2013)

Beyonce Drunk In Love
Beyonce - "Drunk In Love". Courtesy Columbia

A decade after her first #1 solo smash "Crazy In Love," Beyonce revisited the relationship with now husband Jay-Z in the intensely erotic "Drunk In Love." The song was included on her surprise released self-titled album and the song climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. A portion of the lyrics generated controversy for seeming to allude to domestic violence. The Hype Williams-directed video was nominated for Video Of the Year at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. "Drunk In Love" won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance. 

"Drunk In Love" began as a beat titled "Drunk" that producer and singer Noel Fisher, aka Detail, presented to Beyonce. She created freestyle lyrics along with Jay-Z on top of the beat. The black-and-white style of the music video is meant to echo the work of legendary fashion photographer Herb Ritts. In addition to its pop success, "Drunk In Love" also topped the R&B chart.

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05
of 10

"Sweet Dreams" (2009)

Beyonce - Sweet Dreams
Beyonce - "Sweet Dreams". Courtesy Columbia

"Sweet Dreams" took Beyonce in a new electro-pop fueled direction. There is an underlying engaging creepiness in her description of a lover who could be, "a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare." When it peaked at #10 on the pop chart, "Sweet Dreams" became the fourth top 10 pop hit from the album I Am...Sasha Fierce. "Sweet Dreams" topped the dance chart and broke into the top 30 at both adult pop and adult contemporary radio. In the accompanying music video directed by Adria Petty, Beyonce wears a gold robot suit designed by Thierry Mugler.

Initially titled "Beautiful Nightmare," "Sweet Dreams" was one of the first songs recorded for the album I Am...Sasha Fierce. Despite not planning to do any recording at the time, when Beyonce heard producer Rico Love's demo of the song, she decided to record it immediately. Under the title "Beautiful Nightmare" as a work in progress, the song was leaked eight months before the release of the album and even made a brief appearance on the dance chart and radio airplay chart.

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06
of 10

"Naughty Girl" (2004)

Beyonce - Naughty Girl
Beyonce - "Naughty Girl". Courtesy Columbia

"Naughty Girl" kicks off with lines from Donna Summer's disco classic "Love to Love You Baby." It then uses Arabian-influenced sounds to stir up a stew of sexual innuendo. There is an engaging musical tension between the "naughty" elements of the song and Beyonce's image not quite fitting that of the "bad girl." "Naughty Girl" was a #3 pop hit and the fourth consecutive top 5 hit from the album Dangerously In Love. It also topped the dance chart and reached the top 10 on the R&B singles chart. Scott Storch co-wrote and co-produced "Naughty Girl." The accompanying music video directed by Jake Nava is inspired by Fred Astaire dancing with Cyd Charisse in the 1953 movie The Band Wagon. Beyonce dances with Usher in the "Naughty Girl" video. It earned four MTV Video Music Awards nominations and took home Best Female Video. 

 

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07
of 10

"Halo" (2009)

Beyonce - Halo
Beyonce - "Halo". Courtesy Columbia

"Halo" gained a certain amount of notoriety for controversy surrounding its similarity to Kelly Clarkson's hit "Already Gone." However, it is a very strong romantic song all on its own. Songwriter Evan Bogart has said the song was influenced by Ray LaMontagne's "Shelter." "Halo" peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year while winning Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "Halo" also topped the dance chart and broke into the adult contemporary top 30. An accompanying music video was directed by Philip Andelman and features actor Michael Ealy as Beyonce's love interest. Beyonce performed "Halo" live in tribute to the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. 

In addition to the controversy over similarities between "Halo" and Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone," Simon Cowell claimed that the song was initially offered to Leona Lewis to record as a single. However, songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder says it was written for Beyonce from the beginning. He says it took so long for Beyonce to record it that he let Leona Lewis' crew listen to the song and consider it in case Beyonce shelved it permanently.

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08
of 10

"Run the World (Girls)" (2011)

Beyonce Run the World Girls
Beyonce - "Run the World (Girls)". Courtesy Columbia

This song is the lead single from Beyonce's fourth studio album 4. It speaks directly about the power of women over a marching band beat. The recording samples Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor." Fans were divided in their opinions of such an overtly feminist anthem. It only reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it topped the dance chart and received an MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography. The dancing in the music video received strong critical acclaim. 

Beyonce told Billboard that releasing "Run the World (Girls)" as a single was a risky move. She said, "I just heard the track and loved that it was so different: it felt a bit African, a bit electronic and futuristic. It reminded me of what I love, which is mixing different cultures and eras — things that typically don't go together — to create a new sound. I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain."

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09
of 10

"Check On It" featuring Slim Thug (2005)

Beyonce - Check On It featuring Slim Thug
Beyonce - "Check On It" featuring Slim Thug. Courtesy Columbia

"Check On It" was intended as a song for the soundtrack to the film The Pink Panther which starred Beyonce. However, it was left off the soundtrack and included on the Destiny's Child compilation #1's. Lyrically, the song encourages men in a club to check out Beyonce's body. Rapper Slim Thug contributes verses to the song. It was his second top 40 pop hit after appearing as featured rapper on Gwen Stefani's "Luxurious." "Check On It" went to #1 on the pop singles chart and stayed there for five weeks. It also topped the dance chart and reached #3 on the R&B singles chart. The accompanying music video won Best R&B Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. 

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10
of 10

"Formation" (2016)

Beyonce Formation
Beyonce - "Formation". Courtesy Columbia

Beyonce's "Formation" was released as the first single from her sixth studio album Lemonade. She performed it at the Super Bowl during the halftime show headlined by Coldplay a day after its release. Some criticized the song and the Super Bowl performance as being anti-police but the praise for its powerful depiction of black pride outweighed the criticism. "Formation" reached the top 10 on the US pop music chart. The accompanying music video earned six nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards including for Video of the Year. "Formation" was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards. It on the Best Music Video honor. Multiple publications named "Formation" the #1 song of the year in 2016.

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