From "Crazy in Love" to "Break My Soul," a definitive-ish ranking of Queen Bey's greatest, biggest hits.
Advertisement

Do you feel that? It's the wiggle. And it's about to be released.

Beyoncé's highly anticipated seventh studio album, Renaissance, drops Friday, and we've been promised a dance fantasia, at least from the sound of lead single "Break My Soul." In just a matter of days, the throwback yet futuristic house track became Queen Bey's 20th Billboard top 10 hit as a solo artist.

Beyonce
Beyoncé
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

But of those 20 hits, which are the best? And how would one even determine such a lofty and inevitably problematic ranking? (The Bey Hive is nothing if not very busy making any and all opinions widely known these days.)

Well, first of all, the following list is made up of songs in which Bey is the lead artist. So neither Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage (Remix)" nor Lady Gaga's "Telephone" made the cut — though they definitely deserve it (#JusticeForTelephone).

Second, this isn't a Beyoncé's best songs ever list, just the songs that made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 — which has never been a barometer of quality as much as popularity.

And third, I just don't like "Halo" that much. So…

…Without further ado, here are Beyoncé's 10 best top 10 hits.

10. "Sweet Dreams"

Presaging the '90s-house extravaganza of "Break My Soul," this cut was a thumping reminder that Beyoncé will shut a club down if and when she wants to.

"Sweet Dreams" four-to-the-floored it to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Nov. 7, 2009.

9. "Check on It"

A good old-fashioned bop, "Check on It" didn't change the musical landscape or anything, but it's a party starter and a fan fave, as Bey acknowledged in Homecoming when she told the Coachella audience, before the chorus kicked in, "I wanna see y'all do the dance." And when Beyoncé says she wants to see you dance, she means it — she even added a playful but still totally serious "I'm watching." Let's hope the Hive limbered up before even thinking of stepping a sandaled foot on that hallowed ground.

"Check on It" checked into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on Feb. 4, 2006. 

8. "Irreplaceable"

If I never hear anyone sing-say "to the left, to the left" again, I can die happy. And for that reason, I will die miserable. Released as the third single from the underrated B'Day (which is literally just hits from start to finish, but whatever, America), "Irreplaceable" put Bey back on top for 10 straight weeks, following the lukewarm reactions to "Déjà Vu" and "Ring the Alarm" (again, hits!).

"Irreplaceable" put everything it owned in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on Dec. 16, 2006.  

7. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"

Honestly, "Single Ladies" is a better video than song, but the two have become so intertwined in the public imagination that it's impossible to consider one without the other. And when you take the audio and the visuals together, well, you get one of Queen Bey's crowning achievements — three minutes and 18 seconds of pop-culture perfection. This ring's sheen has been dulled over the years by repeated (and repeated and repeated and repeated) plays at weddings and other social gatherings. But, hey, that's the price of ubiquity.

"Single Ladies" put a ring atop Billboard's Hot 100 on Dec. 13, 2008.

6. "Baby Boy"

A mainstay on Bey's set lists over the years, "Baby Boy" capitalized on the resurgent dancehall craze of the early '00s, giving the songstress mastery over yet another genre to get the people's asses collectively shaking.

"Baby Boy" gyrated to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Oct. 4, 2003. 

5."Naughty Girl"

In the bottomless catalogue of Beyoncé hits, "Naughty Girl" never seems to get enough credit. But what's not to love? We've got a gorgeous interpolation of Donna Summer's immortal 1975 classic "Love to Love You, Baby," which signaled the beginning of Beyoncé's long, synth-filled flirtation with man's greatest contribution to society: disco. Add to that one of her most sultry — and genuinely fun — vocal performances and we've got a winner, baby.

"Naughty Girl" cooed its way to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 5, 2004.

4. "Drunk in Love"

If they were any other couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's PDA would warrant a social media campaign just to break them up. But no other couple makes hits as indelible as "Drunk in Love." Their chemistry on wax is nothing short of explosive, but of all their collaborations, this one feels like their most mature — and not just for the explicit content warning. This, to put it simple, is the sound of a grown-ass couple who f---.

"Drunk in Love" was dranking watermeluh at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Feb. 15, 2014. 

3. "Break My Soul"

Nearly 20 years into her solo career and Beyoncé is still able to perfectly deliver a perfect song. Is third place too high for "Break My Soul"? Just as the world was going up in flames, both figuratively and via the global heat index, Bey dropped a hit for the apocalyptic age. Bridging '90s house (with a sample of the Robin S. masterwork "Show Me Love") and millennial bounce (with a sample of Big Freedia's 2015 "Explode"), the track is a defiant call to the dance floor to release the stresses, angers, and disappointments of the past several years. In that context, and just because it's a f---ing banger, "Break My Soul" is peak Beyoncé.

The song has peaked (so far) at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, once a video drops (hint, hint), Bey might nab herself another No. 1 hit. 

2. "Formation"

"Formation" marked a seismic shift in the culture and for Beyoncé. Unapologetically, audaciously Black in tone, in visual style, and in lyrical content ("Jackson 5 nostrils" and all), the song was basically anointed the new Black national anthem upon its release. To drive that point home, Bey used "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" as the segue into "Formation" during her vaunted Coachella performances. 

"Formation" twirled on them haters to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 14, 2016.

1. "Crazy in Love"

The horns that started it all. Beyoncé's first solo single is still her greatest. With those opening trumpets — sampled from the Chi-Lites' 1970 song "Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)" — heralding the arrival of a new queen, Bey strut her way into the history books. Crazy is the apt word for this track, as it's so bonkers with energy it threatens to go off the rails, but never does. Not with Beyoncé's deft hand firmly at the wheel.

Perhaps the ultimate Song of the Summer™, "Crazy in Love" wuh-uh-oh'd to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 12, 2003.

And what a summer that was. And what a summer we'll have with Renaissance.  Thank you for your continued booty-shaking service, Mrs. Carter. 

Related content:

Beyonce Renaissance album
Renaissance (2022 album)
type
  • Music
genre

Comments