By now you’re either on your way to buy Beyoncé’s 4 (on public transportation, we hope–neither B nor Popdust is worth computing while driving), very familiar with 4 already thanks to leaks and pirates, or quite confused about your reading material.
We’d give you the rundown on 4, but we already did that. We’d try to defuse all those pesky flop rumors, but we did that too. What’s left to do, then, but put 4 in its proper context with an exhaustive assessment of Beyoncé’s exhaustive career, from Destiny’s Child to solo stardom?
Ground rules: Singles only, no album tracks. Featured credits don’t count, which rules out “Telephone” and “’03 Bonnie and Clyde” but keeps us from having to listen to Lil O (Houston, Texas, baby! Just not high-profile elsewhere.) Soundtrack appearances and promo singles do count, if only because “Why Don’t You Love Me” and “Listen” deserve spots. And for the top ten, we’ll tell you why each song is so great. Hopefully you’ll agree, or at least have your own rankings or creative insults for us in the comments!
Not why Beyoncé dropped Mathew Knowles as her manager, but could’ve been.
56. CATER 2 U
55. NASTY GIRL
As fun as your mother calling you a slut!
54. STAND UP FOR LOVE
A pseudo-charity single off a greatest hits album. Enough said.
53. BIG MOMMA’S THEME FT. DA BRAT
52. ONE NIGHT ONLY
The point of “One Night Only” in Dreamgirls is that Beyoncé/Deena’s version is the terrible disco ripoff of Effie’s song. Naturally, Beyoncé got the single.
51. VIDEO PHONE
“Telephone” was better.
50. WHAT’S IT GONNA BE
48. BROKEN-HEARTED GIRL
43. CHECK ON IT
42. ME, MYSELF AND I
Peggy Lee after four aspirins.
40. WORK IT OUT
39. GREEN LIGHT
Start writing those angry comments! But really: now that Survivor, LaTavia, LeToya and Farrah have mostly left us, what’s left?
Cadillac Records: surprisingly good! Beyoncé ‘s version: also surprisingly good! Etta James: Etta.
A “Diva” is the belated version of “A Milli“.
34. I KNOW
Not quite on par with Jennifer Holliday/Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You,” but close.
31. WITH ME
30. IF I WERE A BOY
29. GET ON THE BUS FT. TIMBALAND
Are you “Are You That Somebody”?
28. GET ME BODIED
Sporting the Michelle Obama stamp of approval.
To hear songs that go from pretty good to great, with only one that’s been featured on a movie soundtrack, click NEXT.