I can teach you somethin’: Best of Beyonce

I quibble with her ubiquity as culture force. Monoliths turn into statues in the park, visited by pigeons. But I can think of no mass audience artist of the last twenty years who can inspire poolside amateur choreography by teenage girls like “Sorry” did in May and red light chanting like “Drunk in Love” did a couple years ago. With a sense for visuals as shrewd as her song curating, she made Lemonade into one of 2016’s best albums and perhaps its most lasting cultural statement (in my experience this has been the Beyonce album whose sales/streams don’t reflect its penetration) Her voice has matured along with her imagination and appetite for good songs; she’s up to Etta James and “When the Levee Breaks.” The last decade has reduced her fun first album to a simulacrum of fun, a parody of excitement; I don’t feel guilty about excluding “Crazy in Love” from the following list.

1. Love On Top
2. Countdown
3. Jealous
4. All Night
5. Suga Mama
6. Naughty Girl
7. Irreplaceable
8. Sorry
9. Ring the Alarm
10. I Miss U
11. Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
12. XO
13. Schoolin’ Life
14. Rocket
15. If I Were a Boy
16. I Care
17. Daddy Lessons
18. Blow
19. Don’t Hurt Yourself
20. Partition
21. Naughty Girl
22. 1 +1
23. Pretty Hurts
24. Halo
25. Best Thing I Never Had

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