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Beyonce’s Albums, Ranked
To label Beyonce as a musical artist would be a disservice to her widespread influence and reputation. From making movies to spearheading clothing lines, the billionaire’s global reach makes her one of the most influential humans on the planet, period. She got her start as a member of Destiny’s Child, an R&B group that would take over the charts during the late 90s.
However, the group act wouldn’t last for much longer. With Beyonce (along with other group members) looking to pursue their respective solo careers, the group was no longer together by the early 2000s. She would release her debut record, ‘Dangerously In Love,’ in 2003. The first of (so far) seven studio albums, she spent no time growing into her role as a solo act. Her solo career began with the iconic “Crazy In Love,” featuring her future husband Jay-Z.
In particular, Beyonce has been as a contemporary or jumping out for fellow Black American creatives. By centering her creative pursuits into the within the context of HBCU culture, she’s delivered tectonic performances in a variety of creative lanes. Now 41 years old, some wondered if she would ever release solo music again. She puts those doubts to rest in 2022, releasing Grammy’s Dance Album of the Year, ‘Renaissance.’ We have a feeling we’ll have to re-update this list in the near future, as she’s hinted at ‘Renaissance’ being the outset of a trilogy.
Today, we’re ranking Beyonce’s seven solo studio albums from worst to best. Let us know where you agree or disagree down below!
8. Dangerously In Love
Beyonce spent no time attempting to cocoon herself from her superstardom on her debut studio album, ‘Dangerously In Love.’ Releasing in 2003, the once-broke Houston-er had officially arrived. Introducing us with open horns on “Crazy In Love,” it would end up being her most straightforward R&B album. Still trying to find her distinctive sound, it’s one of her weaker full-length efforts/
Beyonce is unapologetically self-loving and self-indulgent throughout the record. Smartly throwing her best tracks at the outset of ‘Dangerously In Love,’ intoxicating sounds blend with hypnotic guitar riffs. Jay-Z’s fingerprints are all over this record, having two features and five writing credits. However, the record is undeniably top-heavy. We’re treated to numerous bland, mid-tempo R&B cuts where her voice struggles to carry the length of the song. In addition, her commentary reads as relatively surface-level in comparison to future projects.
7. I AM… Sasha Fierce
One of Beyonce’s most commercially successful records, ‘I AM… Sasha Fierce’ is a pop-star record through and through. Lost in the world of flashing lights and plastic smiles, the 2-disk record is a collection of tracks looking to be hits. The results are a mixed bag, as tracks often read as ingenuine impersonations of prevailing trends rather than originally thought-out pieces of work.
With iconic pop anthems such as “Halo” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” the album raveled in it’s 5 Grammys at the 52nd anniversary of the rewards. ‘I AM… Sasha Fierce’ balances two different personalities. The first half embodies her humble tendencies, as reflected by the easy-going nature of many of the tracks. The second half, her “Sasha Fierce” phase, replaces emotive ballads for powerful and assertive pop anthems. Describing the alter-ego in an interview, she stated “Usually, when I hear the crowd, when I hear the chords, Sasha Fierce appears in my posture and the way I speak – everything is different.”
The contrasting personalities make sense. For being known as one of the greatest on-stage performers of all-time, she dually known for her soft personality when the limelight isn’t on her. While there’s certainly some filler here, the record reads as an entertaining listen that gives the audience a further peak into her emotional state.
On Beyonce’s sophomore studio album, she discards the leisured soul facade of ‘Dangerously In Love’ in favor of a sound that is far more in her wheelhouse. Ditching Amy Winehouse impersonations for funky Neptunes-style drum patterns, upbeat disco inflections and carnal guitar riffs fill ‘B’Day.’ Steadfastly outperforming her debut, the record cemented her as a talented solo-artist, one that remains one of her best projects to this day.
Similar to ‘Dangerously In Love,’ Jay-Z’s influence is all over the record. From writing to feature credits, the two’s sonic chemistry had taken a noticeable leap from 2003 to 2006. Running at a tight-knit 11 tracks, the overarching experience is packaged in a far more consumable manner in contrast to her labored debut. Beyonce sounds more reliable as a vocalist, such as on the thrillingly sharp “Ring the Alarm.”
In addition, Beyonce has taken a mature leap as a songwriter. More comedic and self-determining, the only criticism that can be levied against ‘B’Day’ is its lack of pop hits that usually populate her albums. ‘B’Day’ sounds like an album of third or fourth singles, as she partially ditches her classic pop persona. The efforts would pay dividends for her down the road, but yield occasional mixed results in her sophomore effort.
5. Beyonce (Self-Titled)
Beyonce’s fifth studio album, the surprise Christmas-time release would pan out to be her most sonically experimental project to date. Released in 2014, she explores unembellished stylistic tropes in an album that re-invigorates her image as a hard-hitting Houston-er. Continuing her string of records aided with visual counterparts, there’s certainly a cinematic feel to the chaotic song structures and slapdash interludes on ‘Beyonce.’
Featuring a crew of 44 writers and producers, Beyonce uses her influence to skew towards niche soundscapes. Taking notes from Solange (her sister), dark and lush instrumentals run through tracks such as “Flawless” and “Partition.” Getting rid of the restraints on her vocal range, her elastic vocals sound as if they should be performed at a late-night karaoke bar. Additionally, the self-titled project isn’t short of chart-topping hits. “Drunk In Love” sees her dart between different vocal cadences, while “Partition” features menacing synths and afrobeat drums.
Beyonce defines her personal sense of womanhood and sexuality on the record. Infatuating with herself, ‘Beyonce’ is an expression complex self-love. Amidst a culture that romanticizes “hook-up culture” or exclusive monogamy, she opts to romanticize her marriage. From Pharell Williams to Frank Ocean, she recruits numerous heavy hitters to curate what was her best project to date.
Similar to ‘Lemonade, ‘4’ is a relationship-oriented album. The record deals with the realities of committing to a marriage. However, she isn’t viewing that commitment in a dogmatic, negative light. Beyonce is accepting of the calamitous nature of marriage, stating “Still love the way he walks / Still love the way he rock them black diamonds in that chain.” Full of warm synths and pristine vocals, her drawn-out falsettos contain hints of Prince or Mary J Blige. However, something about the depth of Beyonce’s voice keeps it uniquely her.
Featuring production chops from some of household creatives in the industry, Beyonce isn’t remised to skip out on creating trademark hits. Take the Kanye West-assisted “Party,” which combines a perfect feature from elusive MC Andre 3000. “Love on Top” laces together crisp drums and a sunny chorus, blending the styles of Stevie Wonder or Whitney Houston. “Rather Die Young” is a stark interruption on the soul feel of ‘4,’ opting for a cinematic Broadway feel. With Empire of the Sun leader Luke Steele working on the track, this record certainly isn’t short of star names in the background.
While ‘4’ misses out on the cohesiveness of a select few of future projects, it’s unparalleled ambition and high-reaching vocal performance makes it an essential project in Beyonce’s discography.
Beyonce seventh full-length album, ‘Renaissance’ is an hour-long celebration of 80s to 90s era dance music. In the past, the Houston-born artist had been known for walking a tightrope between dance and pop styles. Her most recent release sees her fully dive into the former, releasing one of her most cohesive records to date.
Catching on to what music fans were missing most post-pandemic, Beyonce takes her audience back onto a 1am dancefloor. From “Break My Soul” to “Cuff It,” there’s numerous generation-defining hits on the album. However, it’s not a straight-forward dance album with surface-level lyricism. She dives into the many nuances of club culture, ranging from insecurity to perfection. There’s an overarching message to “be yourself” and “enjoy the moment” on ‘Renaissance,’ which is ultimately intended to be a feel-good record.
Running laps around many of her contemporaries, Beyonce took the dance trend and revitalized it into her own form of self-expression. An ode to LGBTQ dance culture, ‘Renaissance’ forgoes to usual interludes or despondent ballads from her past records. Instead, she just wants her audience to dance.
2. Homecoming: The Live Album
Beyonce’s ‘Homecoming’ is a stunning live experience that snapshots her at her creative summit. Shining a light on African-American artistic experience, her sixth solo album released three years after her career-defining ‘Lemonade.’ Considering ‘Homecoming’s is a live album with audio stripped directly from her Coachella performance, it’s lack of messiness or randomness is astounding. Incorporating crowd interactions and impromptu rants, it’s yet another cinematic addition to her catalogue.
Beyonce’s Coachella performance re-defined the accepted belief of what a live performance could. Featuring two-hundred performers, the stage moved in unison amidst orchestral song structures. A divine expression of choreographed black expression, the experience further cemented Beyonce’s reputation as a top tier performing artist.
The career-spanning performance contains track which ranged from ‘Lemonade’ all the way back to Destiny’s Child. She even performs some deep-cuts, such as “I Been On,” which was solely released on Soundcloud. It’s not a feature-heavy project, as the focus solely spans to Beyonce. Grunting and shrieking on ambient horn-filled tracks, ‘Homecoming’ manages to revive her catalogue in a unique manner.
Yet another cinematic experience, ‘Lemonade’ is her best record to date. While Beyonce performs with her heart on her sleeve and giving every ounce of her energy to the act, her private life had meticulously been a grey area for her worldwide audience. Her sixth studio album shatters just about any and all theories about what that life may look like, as she’s more vulnerable than ever about her day-to-day shortcomings.
While ‘Lemonade’ eventually morphs into a happy ending, the journey to that mental space is a volatile one. From referencing “smelling another woman’s scent” on Jay-Z to her “workaholic to fill a void” mentality, it’s her most honest record to date. In fact, there’s a point where the listener is almost positive that she’s announcing her divorce from Jay-Z, as she claims that he’s not able to handle her personality.
Employing the likes of Jack White and James Blake, ‘Lemonade’ was her most meticulously produced record to date. Her crisp vocals cut through the ethereal production on “Love Drought,” while the Diplo-produced “Sorry” features an earworm hook and wonky synth patterns. In addition, she explores her musical capabilities more than ever on ‘Lemonade.’ Darting from EDM undertones to an emotive piano ballad, the songs do the exact opposite of blending in with each other. Instead, each track symbolizes an uncharted chapter in Beyonce’s story.
Top 6 Mario’s Albums, Ranked
Mario is a highly valued R&B artist with not only great quality vocals but a fantastic catalog of albums that fans just need to get to know. To celebrate the legacy in R&B history, we’ve put together a top 6 Mario album ranked list. Ever since his debut album, “Mario” his fame and progression as a modern artist has seen no limits. The album named after his own title reached number 9 on the Billboard 200, while Just a Friend scored number 5. With music ever-expanding, streaming, and evolving, here are a few albums that we appreciate by Mario and why they stand out to us. Along with the reasons we love to listen, we’ve included some stats as well, such as when they were released and the immediate response to the drop.
1 – Mario
This breakout album with the artist as the same name is a debut released in 2002. Producers fro the album are Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Scott Storch, and Tim & Bob. The album features multiple upbeat tracks that keep the tempo high. The individual song, Just a Friend, hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, solidifying this album’s place in the hearts of many.
2 – Turning Point
Turning Point truly was a turning point in Mario’s career as an artist. As an album, Turning Point brought new points to light about Mario’s capabilities, including his thematic change from generic to more personal themes in R&B. The album’s lead song, “Let Me Love You” grew into massive popularity upon release, setting Mario up to be one of the most promising rising stars at the time. The song ended up reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100, nominating him for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. What makes Turning Point so great is that it explores Mario’s impressive range. It also takes what everyone loved about the first album and improved upon it in the second, pleasing both old and brand-new fans at the time.
3 – Go
As the third studio album in Mario’s history, Go had a lot to work up to. Not only had the previous two albums been stellar hits, but they featured a lot of producer and artist talent along the way. The album Go was released in 2007, being produced by a handful of people. These included Stargate, Timbaland, and Polow da Don.
One of the standout features of Go is the improved versatility that Mario displays throughout the album. For example, Cryin Out for Me is a mid-tempo song. It features not only a good hook but a versatile expression of Mario’s great vocal range. The song hit the crowds successfully, scoring number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also reached the top 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
4 – D.N.A.
DNA is the fourth album Mario released into the world in 2009. It takes a shift away from the work that Mario chronologically had accomplished so far, taking a more somber turn into the introspective. This was both in lyric and theme. The producers varied this time too, including names like Jim Jonsin, Bangladesh, and Rico Love.
The production skills of Jim Jonsin proved to be helpful during the creation of the album since Mario’s smooth vocals could only translate through a well-written song. The rockstar track of the album was undoubtedly Break Up, which featured Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane.
5 – Dancing Shadows
Dancing Shadows is an album that took everybody by surprise. After a little while of absence, the album Dancing Shadows represents Mario’s return to the stage and fans with a fresh take and hot new songs. By the time Mario had returned from almost ten years away, he had to come back with something that fit the current climate of R&B times. And clear that climate he did, with progression into more modern conventions, such as a moody sound and aggressive effects on vocals. The aspects of what made Mario great didn’t stop though. All 11 tracks in the album showcase his ability as not only a singer, but as a songwriter. The album also features collaborations with producers like Jake Gosling, Prince Charlez, and Pham, who help to bring a modern edge to the classic R&B sound.
6 – Never 2 Late
“Never 2 Late” is the fifth studio album by American R&B singer, Mario Barrett, released in 2014. The album features collaborations with a variety of producers and songwriters, including Polow da Don, Rico Love, and Troy Taylor.The album showcases Mario’s vocal prowess and maturity as an artist, and it features a mix of classic R&B sounds and modern production techniques.
The album’s standout tracks include “Fireball,” a catchy and upbeat song that features a driving beat and infectious hook, as well as “Fatal Distraction,” a slower ballad that showcases Mario’s emotional depth and vulnerability.Another standout track is “Somebody Else,” which features a guest appearance by Nicki Minaj and explores the theme of heartbreak and moving on from a relationship. The song’s soaring chorus and Minaj’s fiery verse combine to create a powerful and memorable track.
Overall, what makes “Never 2 Late” great is the way that it showcases Mario’s continued growth and evolution as an artist. The album finds him exploring new sounds and themes, while still staying true to the classic R&B sound that made him a fan favorite. Mario’s vocals are as strong as ever, and he brings a sense of honesty and sincerity to each track that makes the album feel personal and relatable.
Mario EP 2019
“Mario” is a self-titled EP released by American R&B singer Mario Barrett in 2019. The EP is a short, six-track project that showcases Mario’s soulful vocals and songwriting abilities.
The EP opens with the upbeat and catchy track “Drowning.” The track features a bouncy rhythm and a catchy chorus that showcases Mario’s signature falsetto. The song was released as the lead single from the EP and was well-received by fans and critics alike.
Another standout track on the EP is “Gold Plates.” It features a more stripped-down sound and highlights Mario’s smooth and emotive vocals. The song explores themes of self-love and self-acceptance, and its raw and honest lyrics add to its emotional impact.
One of the unique aspects of the EP is its mix of genres and influences. For example, the track “Goes Like That” features a Latin-inspired rhythm and showcases Mario’s ability to sing in Spanish, while “Closer” has a more electronic sound and features distorted vocals and glitchy beats.
The self-titled debut album “Mario” released in 2002 was a major label release on J Records, whereas the 2019 self-titled EP “Mario” was an independent release. Apart from the difference in their release strategies, the two albums also differ in several other aspects.
What’s the difference between Mario 2002 and Mario 2021?
In terms of their musical styles, the two albums are quite different. The 2002 album “Mario” is a more traditional R&B album with a mix of ballads and uptempo tracks that feature a lot of live instrumentation. The album was produced by a variety of well-known producers, including Scott Storch, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Tim & Bob, and featured collaborations with artists such as Jadakiss and Ginuwine.
In contrast, the 2019 EP “Mario” is a more modern and eclectic R&B project. It incorporates elements of electronic music and hip-hop. The EP was produced by a mix of established and up-and-coming producers. These include Jack Knight and Jake Gosling, and it features a more stripped-down sound that emphasizes Mario’s vocals and songwriting.
Another difference between the two albums is their length. The 2002 album “Mario” is a full-length album that features 13 tracks. The 2019 EP “Mario” is a shorter project with only six tracks.