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The 70 Greatest Beyoncé Songs

From hits that owned the radio to empowerment anthems that stopped the world, and much more

Photo illustration by Tracy Allison for Rolling Stone; Images used in illustration by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage; Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIDAL; Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Sunyixun/Getty Images

For at least the past decade, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter has been the world’s greatest living entertainer. Who else can annihilate complex dance routines and maintain pristinely powerhouse vocals for packed stadiums the way she does? Who else can so thoroughly dominate news cycles with impeccable and innovative surprise albums? Who else has produced music films and video anthologies as compelling and imaginative? Her combination of showmanship, skill, creative vision, and influence is unmatched by her contemporary peers. 

And, of course, the foundation of Beyoncé’s incredible oeuvre is the music, and her uncanny ability to write, produce, curate, and perform it. Her songs are pop masterpieces, gorgeous and diverse, with several becoming cultural touchstones, from the unmistakable shimmy of “Crazy in Love” to the wiggling hand of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” In honor of the impending arrival of her seventh studio album (out this Friday), we’ve compiled and ranked 70 of Beyoncé’s greatest tracks as a solo artist – including a few prominent features. Bow down. 

From Rolling Stone US


‘Mood 4 Eva’ feat. Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré, and Jay-Z (2019)

With the help of Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, and Oumou Sangaré, Bey made “Mood 4 Eva” the standout of Black Is King. Despite the smooth tempo, the track is effortlessly powerful. Every line — including Bey just stating her legal name “I am Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter” — demands your attention. This is Queen Bey celebrating Black joy and rapping why that’s her designated nickname. She’s “so unbothered” and fully embracing her hip-hop royalty status; “Mood 4 Eva” makes it clear that’s not up for debate. —I.K.


‘Mi Gente,’ J Balvin and Willy William feat. Beyoncé (2018 Coachella/2019 Netflix and album)

Is there anything Beyoncé can’t do? On the remix of J Balvin and Willy William’s reggaeton anthem “Mi Gente,” she sings and raps in English and Spanish (with a splash of French tossed in, merci). And then, in case there were any doubters, she brought Balvin out onstage during 2018’s Beychella and sang the song live while dancing to the accompaniment of an incredible HBCU band. Just try to stand still while listening to this one. —L.T. 


‘Lovehappy,’ the Carters (2018)

“This beach ain’t always been no paradise/But nightmares only last one night,” Bey belts on the soulful rap track. Co-produced by Andrew Sitek and Nova Wav, the song is lighter fare than other tracks about the emotional highs and lows of the Carters’ marriage, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. In fact, its breezy production speaks to how far the couple has come by the time Jay-Z and Bey released the final project in their conceptual album trilogy about the beauty, pain, and power of marriage. —I.K.


‘Blue’ (2013)

Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled LP is a bold exploration of feminism and sexuality featuring heavyweight guests like Drake and Frank Ocean, but it wraps up with the achingly tender “Blue,” a tribute to her then-almost-two-year-old daughter Blue Ivy. “Each day I feel so blessed to be looking at you,” she sings directly to Blue. “‘Cause when you open your eyes I feel alive.” It concludes with the adorable little voice of Blue herself. This is a song better suited for a nursery than a stadium, and she’s never even attempted to play it live besides a brief snippet at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, but it’s one of the most personal songs in her catalog, and surely one that mother and daughter will cherish for decades to come. —A.G.


‘Rather Die Young’ (2011)

Beyoncé was three years into her marriage to Jay-Z when she recorded “I’d Rather Die Young” for her 2011 LP, 4, and the rough “Becky with the good hair” days were off in the distant future. This was the honeymoon phase, as evidenced by the lyrics to this soaring ballad, a fusion of Seventies soul and Nineties soul, that crackles with romance and undying love. “You’re my James Dean,” she coos. “You make me feel like I’m 17/You drive too fast /You smoke too much/But that don’t mean a thing ’cause I’m addicted to the rush.” The song never made its way into the set of a tour, but she did play it all four nights of her 2011 Roseland Ballroom residency in New York, where it was a regular highlight.  —A.G.


‘‘03 Bonnie & Clyde,’ Jay-Z feat. Beyoncé (2002)

Beyoncé curates the details of her life that become public knowledge, and her fans got their first taste of this during the beginning of her relationship with her now-husband, Jay-Z. “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” marked the pair’s first-ever collaboration. The two exchange vows of loyalty over the gentle pick of a Spanish guitar mixed with thumping bass and a steady hi-hat. The song, which Kanye West produced, sparked romance rumors that were never officially confirmed until their secret wedding in 2008. —M.M.


‘Feeling Myself,’ Nicki Minaj feat. Beyoncé (2015)

A year after her self-titled surprise, Beyoncé floated back into view for this most excellent victory lap on Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint (co-written by a pre-CTRL SZA). All she sings is the chorus and a couple of bridges, but there’s enough uncheckable cool brimming out of each bar to elevate the entire track. Bragging about her superior approach to digital marketing over Hit-Boy’s statuesque thump, she sounds as cocky as she ever would — and who could deny her? —S.V.L.


‘Brown Skin Girl,’ Beyoncé, SAINt JHN, and Wizkid feat. Blue Ivy Carter (2019)

Beyoncé enlisted some of the most talented musicians in various genres to create the accompanying album for Disney’s live-action version of The Lion King, and one of those musicians was her daughter Blue Ivy. In a world where Black people — especially women — are conditioned to dislike their skin color, Beyoncé created a lush anthem that celebrated all the beauty of melanin. The song helped Blue Ivy become the second-youngest Grammy award winner at nine. —M.M.


‘Smash Into You’ (2008)

Like much of I Am … Sasha Fierce, “Smash Into You” revealed a gentle and vulnerable side of Beyoncé. Tricky Stewart and The-Dream originally wrote this gently lifting ballad for singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin, who recorded it as “Smack Into You” but never released it. The co-writers passed it on to Beyonce, who made her own. What lurks underneath the surface of this moving deep cut is a feeling of tenderness and intimacy, as she enunciates each word of the chorus with emotional purpose. —R.M.


‘Flaws and All’ (2007)

While Bey’s vocals are inarguably showstopping on this track from the deluxe edition of her second studio album, B’Day, over a backdrop of Nineties alt-rock percussion, Bey taps into the relatability element of being the everyday woman on “Flaws and All” — she’s “a train wreck in the morning” and “a bitch in the afternoon.” That vulnerability is what really stands out years later on this track, even if the R&B ballad isn’t one of her most dynamic tracks. —I.K.


‘End of Time’ (2012)

According to Beyoncé’s longtime collaborator The-Dream, she had recorded an entire Fela Kuti-inspired album after spending time with the band from the Broadway musical Fela!, which her husband, Jay-Z, co-produced. The project was never released, but listeners can hear wisps of the sonic direction she was experimenting with on “End of Time,” a showstopper of a song built on triumphant, syncopating percussion and blaring horns that blur Afrobeat and modern pop together. Beyoncé’s voice sprawls over the music, making for one of her most ecstatic tracks ever. —J.L.


‘Haunted’ (2015)

The beauty of “Haunted” lies in the genius partnership between producer-songwriter Boots and Beyoncé. A marriage of trip-hop, house, and R&B, the song chronicles her frustrations and disillusionment with the music industry. Featuring a stream-of-consciousness rap, minimalist yet experimental production, and a video that is a spawn of Madonna’s “Justify My Love,” the sleek gloominess of the track proves how multifaceted her discography can be. —K.T.


‘Telephone,’ Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé (2010)

In 2009, Lady Gaga was well on her way to pop-culture icon-hood, and her collaboration with Beyoncé on “Telephone” that year was like a cherry on top of her new success. Gaga carries the first half of the song, but there is a tonal shift when Beyoncé bursts in, telling her man to fuck off, backed by a stampede of whirring synths and a heavy bass. The music video was campy perfection, and both of these women’s avid followers are still waiting for the teased part two. —M.M.


‘Break My Soul’ (2022)

Megastars must tread carefully when they try out sounds outside the usual megastar safety zone. But Beyoncé’s foray into house music was characteristically effortless. Sampling New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia and Robin S.’s early-Nineties house classic “Show Me Love,” the first single from a new Bey album in six years once again demonstrated her remarkable ability to read the moment, leveraging dance music’s legacy as a space for Black and queer resistance to create an anthem of unbreakble defiance for a stressed-out world. Whether you were pissed off by systemic oppression, inflation, or the eternally bludgeoning news cycle, here was a dance-floor banger to lift you up. —J.D.


‘Apeshit’ the Carters (2018)

Boss behavior has been the Bey and Jay brand since the start. But the power couple has never been so mighty as they are on “Apeshit” — the lead single of their one-and-only album performing as the Carters. Beyoncé and her S.O. toggle between bars about boardroom bully ball and mosh-pit dominance. Somehow, the demands to “pay me in equity” and watch Bey “jumpin’ off the stage, hoe” feel part of the same engraved platinum whole. Even when the ad-libs teeter on the edge of silly — little roars on the chorus, the high-pitched “scoot, scoot, scoot” after the lyric about the Lambo — they somehow cement the track instead of throwing it off. Power couples balance each other out like that. —N.S.


‘Yoncé’ (2013)

On her self-titled 2013 album, Beyoncé worked in the excellent ‘Yoncé” as a hidden track before “Partition.” It’s a sumptuous anthem about a woman whose sex appeal turns heads whether in the club or on Instagram. “Yoncé” opens up with an interpolation of a call and response from the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, and quickly turns to Beyoncé rapping over a syncopated thump, as she warns, “Every girl in here gotta look me up and down.” In the visual album, the song gets its own clip, in which Beyoncé appears alongside three Victoria’s Secret models. —D.V. 


‘Freakum Dress’ (2006)

Though similar to songs like “Say My Name,” “Bills, Bills, Bills,” and several other songs Beyoncé released with Destiny’s Child about a trifling partner, “Freakum Dress” takes the theme even further with a funkier and more assertive feel. Beyoncé addresses an almost universally shared experience: that one outfit that has you looking and feeling dangerously sexy — just as much as the song itself does. Among Beyoncé’s many girls-night-out anthems and confidence-inspiring songs, “Freakum Dress” stands out as one of the best. —D.V.


‘Already,’ feat. Shatta Wale and Major Lazer (2019)

As found on The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, “Already” doesn’t even feature that much Bey. Instead, she lets dancehall king Shatta Wale and EDM trio Major Lazer take center stage. The track definitely hinges on some of the plot points of The Lion King, but like all of Bey’s music around this release, it speaks to the idea of creating a new — and better — type of world. And it’s the music video, which features tributes to different cultures in Africa, that really brings the song to life. —I.K.


‘Savage (Remix),’ Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé (2020)

Torch-passing moments in pop rarely feel this impactful, but when Beyoncé teamed up with fellow Houston native Megan Thee Stallion on this classy, bougie, ratchet remix of Megan’s “Savage,” it was a hot girl summit for the ages. Megan was already establishing herself as an A-list microphone melter, but when Beyoncé swooped in to elegantly kick liquid wordplay like “Hips tick-tock when I dance/On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans/Big B and that B stands for bands,” she took the track to a whole different level, reminding us that “world-class rapper” was also one of the many tools in her enormous kit. —J.D.


‘Grown Woman’ (2013)

“Grown Woman” is Beyoncé’s best one-off, relegated to the background of the self-titled era, first as the soundtrack to her buzzy Pepsi commercial, months before Beyoncé dropped, then tacked to the visual album as a bonus video. In fact, plain audio of “Grown Woman” isn’t even available on streaming, though its striking and retrospective music video remains on Bey’s official YouTube channel and on TIDAL. The Timbaland-produced track is hype and percussive, one of her first forays into Afropop, with vocals from Guinean musician and dancer Ismael Kouyate setting off its vibrant polyrhythms. —M.C. 


‘Sweet Dreams’ (2008)

The first glimpse the public had of Beyoncé’s masterpiece I Am … Sasha Fierce took place in March 2008, eight months before the album landed, when an early version of “Sweet Dreams” somehow leaked just a day after she laid down her vocal. It turned out to be a very unexpected blessing, since the reaction to the synthesizer-heavy electro-pop song was extremely positive, building up huge anticipation for the unveiling of Ms. Fierce later that year. The song is about a man so perfect that you cannot tell whether he’s even real. The surreal video, directed by Tom Petty’s daughter Adria Petty, shows Beyoncé levitating above her bed and descending into a dream world where she dances in a golden robot suit. It’s Beyoncé at her most awesomely bizarre.  —A.G.


‘Superpower,’ feat. Frank Ocean (2013)

Without a doubt, Bey teaming up with Frank Ocean is what dreams are made of. But it’s the context of the doo-wop-tinged “Superpower” that made it so powerful, despite it being a bit understated. The track, from Bey’s self-titled fifth studio album, holds a double meaning as both an ode to Bey’s pride as a Black woman and the strength of her bond with her husband. ”And just like you, I can’t be scared/And just like you, I hope I’m spared/But it’s tough love,” Bey sings candidly. Paired with her smoldering vocals, she conveys her message well. —I.K.


‘Bigger’ (2019)

From the 2019 soundtrack The Lion King: The Gift, which Bey produced and curated, “Bigger” is a restrained but sweeping statement of empowerment — both a tribute to her children and a more existential piece of her catalog. “Bigger, you’re part of something way bigger/Bigger than you, bigger than we/Bigger than the picture they framed us to see,” she sings with wonder. While it wasn’t exactly a radio hit, it is irrefutably affecting and has the perfect cinematic spark for the breathtaking film Black Is King. —I.K.


‘Pray You Catch Me’ (2016)

The only way to begin an album about the collapse of a holy union is with your own death. There are very few opening tracks that so clearly evoke the paranoia, loss, and loneliness of knowing you are living in a lie than the first song on Lemonade. Written by Beyoncé, James Blake, and Kevin Garrett, the haunting downtempo track sets the tone for what would be one of Beyoncé’’s sharpest albums lyrically, as she walks us through the valley of her undoing. The production also showcases how insidious the rupture of trust can feel with its disquieting bass and reverberating vocals. —C.B.


‘Ego,’ (remix) feat. Kanye West (2009)

“Ego” already had the playful confidence that has made Beyoncé so alluring. “It’s too big (big)/It’s too wide (wide)/It’s too strong (strong)/It won’t fit (fit),” she teases on the sensual I Am … Sasha Fierce track. With the remix, she enlisted someone who truly encompassed the ethos of the song: Kanye West. And you couldn’t debate the fact that the rapper delivered some clever verses: “Now I’m standing next to Jay, who’s standing next to B/Could have been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with me/That’s good for my ego … my ego is my imaginary friend.” —i.K.


‘Green Light’ (2007)

“Green Light” and its accompanying music video give an early peek into Beyoncé’s interest in Seventies- and Eighties-inspired funk. The song was produced by the Neptunes and Beyoncé for B-Day; in it, the then-25-year-old’s swanky lyrics encourage a lost love, who no longer meets her standards, to leave. During the bridge she admits how hard it is “facing the end” of her relationship, but she must move on and ahead, as she always does. —D.J. 


‘Freedom,’ feat. Kendrick Lamar (2016)

With its gospel choir, rousing organ, and steady drumbeat march, “Freedom” is a 21st-century hymn, a prayer for strength, and a powerful call for revolution, both in the world and within yourself. “I break chains all by myself/Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/Hey! I’ma keep running/’Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” Amen. —L.T.


‘Resentment’ (2006)

“Resentment” was originally penned for former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and set to be included on her 2004 LP, Come Together (Beckham’s version is floating around the internet, although it was never officially released except on a documentary DVD about the Beckhams). That album ended up shelved, and the song found its way to Jazmine Sullivan, who recorded a version for an album that also got shelved. In 2006, Beyoncé recorded her own version and included it on her second album, B’Day, injecting all of the raw emotions needed to convey the heartfelt message behind the song. —M.M.


‘Schoolin’ Life’ (2011)

Even though this track is sometimes overlooked in the discussion of Beyoncé’s best dance records, it remains one of the clearest points of contact to her longtime love of disco. Mixed by DJ Swivel — who has declared it one of the favorites of his career — the song combines punctuating horn blasts, full-bodied guitars, and Bey’s dynamic belting for a powerful anthem of self-discovery. Beyoncé’s performance of “Schoolin’ Life” during her residency at Revel: Atlantic City also marked a critical point in her work as a live creative director. —C.B.


‘If I Were a Boy,’ (Maurice Joshua Mojo UK Remix – Main) (2009)

Originally featured as a ballad on 2008’s I Am … Sacha Fierce, “If I Were a Boy,” is one of the rare songs in Bey’s catalog without a writing credit by Queen Bey herself. She makes the song all her own with her raw and expansive vocals. Seven months after Sasha Fierce’s release, Beyoncé released a special album of videos and remixes, Above and Beyonce Dance Mixes, that included a version of the song that also came with an instantly recognizable black-and-white video where Beyonce cosplays as a member of the NYPD and a new remix. With the help of producer Maurice Joshua, Beyoncé reimagines this song again, changing it from a sad ballad to a dance anthem. —A.W.


‘Best Thing I Never Had’ (2011)

Five years after “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé twisted the knife into an unworthy ex even harder with “Best Thing I Never Had,” a single and standout track from 4. “When I think that there was a time that I almost loved you,” she sings, “You showed your ass, and baby, yes, I saw the real you.” The list of songwriters behind the brash R&B ballad is long, but it includes Beyoncé, Patrick “J. Que” Smith, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and Shea Taylor. “Best Thing I Never Had” eaked at Number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Diane Martel-directed video shows Beyoncé prepping for her wedding and looking back at an unhappy prom night with her ex. “I never went to my prom,” she said, “so now I get to have a prom, but my prom sucks.” —A.G.


‘Baby Boy’ feat. Sean Paul (2003)

For the follow-up to her breakthrough “Crazy in Love,” Beyoncé enlisted the hitmaker Sean Paul, who flew to Miami to record his vocals after Beyoncé sent him a demo track of the song’s reggae-raga rhythm. Knowles, Jay-Z, and Paul all received writing credits on the song, which interpolated “Here Comes the Hot Stepper,” by Jamaican reggae singer Ini Kamoze, and became Beyoncé’s second Number One. “It was a great experience to meet her, but I was very surprised she picked me,” Paul said later that year. “It shows dancehall music’s getting bigger.” —J.B.


‘Mine’ (2013)

On her alt-R&B track “Mine,” Beyoncé casts doubt over her marriage and explores her painful journey to motherhood. The lyrical honesty here is rare for a pre-Lemonade Bey song, foreshadowing the confessional ballads to come three years later. A meeting of two of the biggest Black artists of the time, “Mine” featured Drake, and brought in production heavy-hitters Noah “40” Shebib and Majid Jordan to push the boundaries of R&B. —E.E.


‘I Care (Homecoming Live)’ (2019)

The rendition of “I Care” performed during 2018’s “Beychella” shows the Queen at her most stripped-down — and arguably her best. Reminiscent of her 2015 Grammy tribute to Stevie Wonder with Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, and Gary Clark Jr., this live performance showcases vocal runs only she could pull off while working harmoniously with other musicians to make onstage magic. Just as important as her vocals is the track’s placement in the set, after the Lemonade track “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” Introduced with a string quartet and a transitional monologue from Malcolm X, Bey flawlessly blends the angst of that Jack White collab into the emotional depth of her fan-favorite power ballad. In tandem, the two-track run signals that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. —E.E. 


‘Upgrade U’ (2006)

Here, Beyoncé and Jay-Z explore the idea of a power couple as they trade rhymes about a life of luxury and the perks of being with each other. They name-drop Cartier and Jacob the Jeweler over a Swizz Beatz-produced track that samples a 1969 song by soul singer Betty Wright. “I see your hustle with my hustle, I can keep you,” Bey offers. What shines brightest is their hard-hitting chemistry, with the duo offering a palpable sense of how they complement one another in real life. —R.M.


‘Hold Up’ (2016)

Only Bey could sample Andy Williams and interpolate Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Soulja Boy in a single song about jealousy and infidelity, while asking Father John Misty — who recently wrote an entire album about a happy marriage — to lend a hand with lyrics. (Misty would later recall his shock over his contribution making the cut: “I went crazy.”) “Hold Up” is just the second track off Lemonade, so Bey is only getting started on her rage. In the video, she takes a bat and smashes windows and fire hydrants in a stunning mustard-colored gown — savage and graceful all at once. —A.M.


‘Halo’ (2009)

Today, Beyoncé’s status as one of the world’s best balladeers is unquestionable, and this is in part thanks to “Halo.” The ballad, co-written by Ryan Tedder, sees Beyoncé exploring an almost wistful type of fondness she has for her lover while showing off significant vocal power — and, just as important, vocal restraint with melismatic runs that bring to mind Whitney Houston. All of these come together with the song’s icy synth and cascading piano notes to create one of the more intense and timeless power ballads of the 2000s and further establish Beyoncé’s position as a vocal powerhouse. —D.V.


‘Kitty Kat’ (2006)

“Kitty Kat” is more than a flirtatious warning to a lover, it’s also a preamble to versions of Beyoncé that reveal themselves over her next several albums. Bey’s hyper-feminine alter ego is situated in the music video directed by Melina Matsoukas, and within lyrics where she alludes to her “sweet little nookie,” a side of the singer exposed on her self-titled project, and that iconic bridge signaled the official start of her rap-singing résumé. The Neptunes-produced track sets itself in the early 2000s with the duos’ signature four-count start, and it, like that four-count, has come to transcend time. —E.E.


‘Run the World (Girls)’ (2011)

With a military drumbeat, “Run the World (Girls)” is a little bit punk — driven by its intensity and jagged structure. At its center is a rallying cry for female empowerment, but the song really showcases the breadth of Bey’s talent. Plus, it’s brimming with delicious hooks that make the song a dance-floor banger. While the messaging might not have been too deep ​​(“Girls!/We run this mutha/Girls!/Who run the world”), it’s impossible to deny how Bey’s boundary-pushing sonic exploration on this song has carried influence in her work over the years. —I.K.


‘XO’ (2013)

Sonically, “XO” is one of Beyoncé’s most gorgeous songs, all lush longing and stadium-size romance. But there’s more than meets the ear at first: The lyrics keep referencing an always-encroaching darkness, and “XO” kicks off by sampling a radio transmission from the 1986 Challenger space-shuttle disaster. That latter move, presumably meant to underscore the theme of love that can vanish at any moment, led to protests and charges of insensitivity from the widow of a Challenger astronaut and others. Beyoncé — no stranger to space imagery, as one writer pointed out — explained in a statement: “The song ‘XO’ was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you.” —C.H.


‘No Angel’ (2013)

“No Angel” is simple and sexy easy-listening from Beyoncé, which feels rare and special from a powerhouse vocalist like her. She quickly shows off that skill with some impressive ad-libs as the song winds down, but “No Angel” is composed of mostly calm and breathy singing about two lovers embracing their humanity. Caroline Polachek, who wrote the song’s original treatment, likened Bey’s approach to painting. “It sounds like the whole song melts,” said the singer-songwriter. “It’s amazing.” —M.C.


‘Flawless’ (2013)

“Flawless” began as a loosie SoundCloud track that drew inspiration from fellow Houston native DJ Screw’s eponymous production style, and turned into a masterpiece of confidence and dominance. Featuring a series of samples from “We Should All Be Feminists,” a speech delivered by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TEDxEuston event, as well as the Star Search episode in which Bey’s then-girl group Girl’s Tyme appeared and lost, the song uses her life experiences as a message: “The reality is, sometimes you lose. And you’re never too good to lose, you’re never too big to lose … and you have to embrace those things.” In this case, her loss even included an infamous fight between her husband and sister that Nicki Minaj referenced on this song’s remix. Beyoncé’s performance exceeds expectations. More than being “flawless,” it’s fearless. —K.T.


‘Party,’ feat. J. Cole and André 3000 (2011)

Beyoncé’s 4 is a testament to her attention to detail. “Party,” which she helped produce with Kanye West, showcases her ability to combine every part of what makes her music unique. The opening synth chords are unforgettable earworms. Beyoncé stacked her signature harmonies, and André 3000 was tapped to deliver a delightful verse full of double-entendres. J. Cole also phoned in a feature for a remix, but André’s performance is significantly better because of the dexterity in his rhymes, thus culminating in a luxurious ode to a good time. —M.M.


‘Dance for You’ (2011)

Turning church organs into a tool for carnal worship, “Dance for You” is one of Bey’s most successful musical marriages of sensuality and love. With more than six minutes of searing guitar, buzzy synths, and unmitigated adulation, Beyoncé spreads the gospel of her desire to her lover alone, but the spirit of her confidence and passion could empower anyone to give the object of their affection a show. This is one of the best songs in Beyoncé’s discography to mimic her sexiest moves to. —M.C.


‘Daddy Lessons,’ feat. the Chicks (2016)

When Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, native of Texas, released her swaggering tribute to country music on Lemonade, some critics slammed her effort as not being “country enough.” The Chicks, quite familiar with unhinged criticism from the country-music establishment — they were banned from the radio because of their criticism of then-President George W. Bush — quickly voiced their support for the superstar’s song, literally, by covering it during their comeback tour. But while the artists’ individual versions of “Daddy Lessons” are great, this collaboration at the Country Music Awards is absolutely scorching and joyfully defiant. —L.T.