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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


‘Partition’ (2013)

Inspired by this song’s tugging bass line and spare, finger-snap beat, Beyoncé got on the mic and came up with the gloriously steamy “Partition” — depicting what is easily the greatest limo ride in pop-music history. With its Monica Lewinsky reference, a French sample that appeared to be a quote from Julianne Moore’s character in The Big Lebowski, and a fever-dream electro-thump track, “Partition” was hardly your everyday sex jam. It was the sound of desire unlocking musical freedom, even if Bey later said the song’s specifically suggestive content meant she could probably never play it for her mom. “I was so embarrassed after I recorded the song, ’cause I’m just talkin’ shit.” —J.D.  


‘Me, Myself and I’ (2003)

The opening of “Me, Myself, and I” — “All the ladies if you feel me, help me sing it out” — could be mistaken for Destiny’s Child singing in perfect unison, but Beyoncé is harmonizing with herself, asserting her independence in more ways than one. The track, released as the third single from her solo debut, Dangerously in Love, shows her discovering new maturity in her sound and lyrical content, all while giving fans a self-empowered anthem and encouraging them to find strength in themselves. —J.L.


‘Love on Top’ (2011)

On this loping, joyous Eighties-R&B throwback, Beyoncé manages to channel both Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, sometimes simultaneously. A daunting series of ever-ascending key changes, meanwhile, helps turn the song into one of her most jaw-dropping vocal showcases, pushing to the top of her range and beyond. When The-Dream wrote the song with Shea Taylor, it originally had only a single half-step key change at the end — Beyoncé spontaneously added all the others herself while recording vocals with engineer Jordan “DJ Swivel” Young. —B.H.


‘Sorry’ (Homecoming Live) (2019)

More than 200 artists, including musicians, dancers, and technical staff, elevated this Lemonade single from a buzzy and revealing pop song to a full-on cultural production. Sure, the brassy arrangement of not only “Sorry,” but also an interlude of “Me, Myself, and I” was huge, daring, and gorgeous. As important, though, this live recording from her knockout Coachella sets in 2018 includes a girl-powered reimagining of Black collegiate tradition, complete with intricate stepping and a homage to Greek life. With “Beychella,” as it’s known, the Queen made a giant leap in her artistry, not only as a performer, but also as a creative director, with another world-stopping, purposeful, pristine feat of secrecy and surprise. —M.C.


‘Crazy in Love’ (2003)

The first time Beyoncé heard the funky horn fanfare that announced “Crazy in Love” as her solo breakthrough, she didn’t know what to make of it. “It has this go-go feel to it, this old-school feel,” she said in 2004. “I wasn’t sure if people were going to get it.” But she figured she’d give it a chance and challenged producer Rich Harrison to make the Chi-Lites sample work. Harrison got the idea for the “looking so crazy right now” chorus after Beyoncé told him she felt she looked disheveled that day. “That’s the hook,” he told her, before writing verses about her obsession with her then-boyfriend, Jay-Z, who recorded his verse in about 10 minutes. The track skyrocketed to Number One, and years later, Beyoncé gave her obsession new life when she recut “Crazy” as a slower, sultrier remix for the 2015 soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey. —K.G.


‘Formation’ (2016)

“Formation” was a rallying cry for Beyoncé’s most ambitious artistic era, and a call to arms that deepened the political edge that’s always existed in her music. In 2016, when Bey surprise-released this single ahead of her iconic Super Bowl performance, she shocked the world, and looked like she effortlessly knew exactly what she was doing. What ensued was a glorious display of femininity and Blackness that echoed globally. The biting lyrics on “Formation” align with the self-expression and self-exploration that were pivotal components of her 2016 masterpiece, Lemonade. Beyoncé leaned aggressively into her Southern roots, proudly claiming, “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana/You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama.” And producer Mike WiLL Made-It injected harsh 808s into a swaying, swaggering track, adding extra bite into one of the 21st century’s most thrilling and bracing pop music statements. —R.M.


‘Deja Vu,’ feat. Jay-Z (2006)

If “Crazy in Love” made Beyoncé a star, then the first single from her sophomore album, B’Day, introduced her as a fully-formed artist. Coming off the backs of her solo debut and her final album with Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé partnered with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Makeba, Keli Nicole Price, and Delisha Thomas to create a sonically challenging jam that served as a foremother to every Bey era that followed. From the song’s iconic BET Awards performance (an early glimpse of her alter ego Sasha Fierce) to its masterful perfection of her chemistry with Jay-Z to the way the funky track forecasts 4, and its Southern Gothic homage to her creole roots predicts Lemonade, “Deja Vu” isn’t just the best song in her discography — it defines it. —K.T.