Beyoncé has had a career like no other. Her 23-year career has resulted in 24 Grammy Awards spread across seven musical ventures. Indeed, Beyoncè has produced hit after hit and has cemented her place in the annals of pop culture history.
With the release of her latest visual album, Black is King, there is no better time than now to take a look back at Beyoncé’s stellar career. This is why we’ve put together a list of our picks for her five best albums. Read on if you want to know more about these albums and what makes them so great.
Dangerously In Love (2003)
This might be a little surprising considering this is Beyoncé’s debut as a solo artist but 2003’s Dangerously In Love is full of tracks that would eventually be considered as modern classics. The album’s opening track “Crazy In Love” serves as an introduction for Queen B, fanfare and all, as she bursts onto the scene after her stint with Destiny’s Child. There’s no questioning that this album holds a special place in the hearts of many her fans and had a hand in shaping what pop music was like back in the early 2000s.
Lemonade is often lauded for its exceptional visuals. And while it is in itself a stellar cinematic experience, the music and overall production value is rather underrated. The production quality isn’t really a surprise given how meticulous the recording process was. Beyoncé recorded the tracks using a Shure SM58 mic that’s known for its exceptional clarity, making it the optimal microphone for a wide range of vocal performances. Couple this with the use of an ASC AttackWall for the acoustics to help improve Beyoncé already impeccable vocals and it would be impossible not to make a great track. The production value of the album was most evident in the song “Hold Up” as it puts Beyoncé’s vocals on the forefront with minimal instrumentation involved.
I Am…Sasha Fierce (2008)
This is probably the closest thing that Beyoncé has to a concept album. This album comes with two discs the I Am Side and the Sasha Fierce Side. I Am contains iconic ballads such as “If I Were a Boy” and “Halo”. And while the tracks on the I Am Side are all pretty decent, Sasha Fierce is where things get interesting. Unlike the I Am Side, the tracks on Sasha Fierce are more up-tempo in nature. The overall tone of the tracks is also vastly different, with the Sasha Fierce Side. This side contained tracks such as “Single Ladies” and “Diva” both of which are more aggressive than any of the songs on the I Am Side. This album showed of Beyoncé range and flexibility, traits that are still present in her music to this day.
Black is King (2020)
Beyoncé second visual album parallels the story of The Lion King and is set to the soundtrack that Beyoncé produced for the live-action remake that was released last year. And while Black is King is great from both a visual and musical standpoint, it belongs on this list for furthering the discussion of Black culture on the global stage and features the work of African artists such as Tiwas Savage and Burna Boy. And while it isn’t at all the nuanced discussion on Blackness, it still succeeds in being a symbol of Black pride and unity.
Lastly, this list wouldn’t be right if we didn’t include Beyoncé’s self-titled album from 2013. BEYONCÉ dropped seemingly out of nowhere, as the album marks a new era of surprise album drops. The album is best known for tracks such as the incredibly risque “Drunk In Love”, which shows a raw side of Beyoncé that harkens back to the early 2003’s “Naughty Girl”. However, the edginess isn’t what got this album on this list. The album is on this list because we consider it as Beyoncé’s most personal album to date. It gives fans a peek into the psyche of a pop star through tracks such as “Heaven” and “Blue”. The former being a song about her miscarriage, and the latter being a song about the birth of her daughter Ivy Blue.
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Exclusively written for ubetoo.com by Gigi Mason