Beyoncé's 10 Best (and 5 Slightly Less Than Amazing) Music Videos
Published Apr 22, 2016Beyoncé has managed to keep the art of music video making alive and thriving, despite the fact that traditional viewing platforms have ditched the clips in favour of shitty reality TV shows in recent years. And although MTV recently revealed plans for a more musically minded rebrand, Queen Bey doesn't need to make a comeback — she never abandoned the art form to begin with.
In 2013, Beyoncé dropped her surprise self-titled album and with it came an accompanying video for every single track on the record. Now, following the unexpected arrival of "Formation," Destiny's Child herself (sorry Kelly and Michelle and all the others that came before) has hinted at a new project titled Lemonade. What exactly it is hasn't been fully revealed, but it will premiere on HBO this Saturday (April 23) at 9 p.m. and the video teaser seems to imply that we'll be getting another heap of quality visual productions from Bey.
Though she's graced us with plenty of memorable clips, we've narrowed down a list of her 10 finest in anticipation of this weekend's new material. That said, even Queen Bey has made some missteps on screen — be it a result of mama Tina Knowles' questionable fashion advice or toeing the line between appreciation and plagiarism a little too closely — and we've picked out five of those too.
Without further ado, here is Exclaim!'s list of Beyoncé's best and worst music videos.
Beyoncé's 10 Best Music Videos:
10. Nicki Minaj "Feeling Myself" (2015)
Never has eating fast-food hamburgers in a bouncy castle looked so good. The Tidal exclusive clip for the collaborative track from Nicki Minaj's album The Pinkprint finds the gal pals hanging out together at Coachella, grinding up against luxury cars, lounging on inflatable pool toys and basically proving that they're capable of having more fun than you and your friends ever will.
9. "Blow" (2013)
Roller skates, daisy dukes and Bey's impossibly perfect lip gloss get their turn in the spotlight — well, the blacklight to be more accurate — in this Hype Williams-directed Beyoncé-era video. The disco years come raging back thanks to sparkly reflective lights and an abundance of bright and shiny leotards, and it features fun cameos from the singer's sister Solange, her all-female backing band and her frequent choreography collaborators Les Twins.
8. Destiny's Child "Bootylicious" (2001)
This throwback cut from Destiny's Child's Survivor is a perfect testament to the group's influences from another era. Not only does the track sample Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen," but the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman makes a cameo at the beginning of the video. From there, things only get more fun with choreography that pays homage to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" — but with costumes that nobody else would dare even attempt to pull off. Fifteen years on, and we're still barely ready for this jelly.
7. "Naughty Girl" (2003)
"Naughty Girl" is another single that showcases Bey's love for disco, drawing heavy inspiration from Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby." The sultry, breathy song got an equally sensual video that cemented Beyoncé's status as a soulful, solo artist and sex symbol. Scandalous silhouette poses are spliced together with footage of Bey and her girls in a racy dance-off against — yes, that's him — Usher and his boys. And then, just because, she writhes around in a gigantic glass of bubbly. It's a night out on the town that mere mortals can only hope to one day achieve.
6. "7/11" (2014)
Because the full album's worth of videos that arrived with the self-titled album weren't enough for hungry members of the Beyhive, Yoncé delivered a bonus cut titled "7/11" along with a home video-style clip. In addition to giving kale some free publicity on her sweatshirt, Bey proves that no one is more fun to hang out with in a fancy hotel room.
5. Lady Gaga "Telephone" (2010)
It might not even be her own song, but Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video wouldn't be half as great without the addition of Beyoncé. The two divas also star in the kind-of counterpart "Video Phone" together, but the bad-ass, pop art-inspired take on Kill Bill in "Telephone" wins out.
4. "Partition" (2013)
Beyoncé lets everyone knows who's boss in this clip, flaunting her power over the hired help at the breakfast table before seducing an off-camera lover in an impressive array of barely-there (but still somehow bedazzled with more diamonds than any normal human will ever lay eyes on) outfits.
3. "Crazy in Love" (ft. Jay Z) (2003)
"Crazy in Love" was the video that started it all for Beyoncé as a one-name, one-woman show. Whether she's stomping down an empty street in her white tank, jean shorts and red stilettos, brightening up a dark alley with her colourful costumes and dance moves, or blowing the top off a fire hydrant and making it rain, she undoubtedly steals the spotlight away from Jay Z and his opinions on the finest animal furs.
2. "Formation" (2016)
An instant classic, "Formation" took the world by storm just before Beyoncé stole Coldplay's thunder at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. Beyoncé declared what it meant to her to be a proud, powerful black woman in 2016 — and everyone shut the fuck up and listened.
1. "Single Ladies" (2008)
Her most iconic video to date, the video for I Am… Sasha Fierce cut "Single Ladies" proved to be a global phenomenon — inspiring countless parodies and providing a visual anthem for non-committed women everywhere. The black leotard uniforms paired with endlessly entertaining choreography may seem like a simple combination, but it's still resonating nearly a decade later. Sorry, Taylor Swift, I'ma let you finish — but Kanye kind of had a point.
Beyoncé's 5 Worst Videos:
5. "Countdown" (2011)
This video was a funky, feel-good accompaniment to one of Bey's greatest songs off 4 — until it came under fire for allegedly plagiarizing choreography.
4. "I Was Here" (2012)
There's no denying that Beyoncé can walk out on any stage and own it with her vocal performance. But the clip for "I Was Here" is just too much. The video captures a live rendition of the inspirational ballad for United Nations World Humanitarian Day, but the backdrop featuring projections of global tragedy and hardship interspersed with incredibly cheesy graphics of earth from outer space is cringe-worthy.
3. Destiny's Child "Soldier" (ft. T.I. and Lil Wayne) (2004)
The joint track showed off a tougher side to the usually radio-friendly, pop-washed R&B trio, but there's something uncomfortable and unfair about Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle falling into the roles of hip-hop video girls and getting ogled by a giant posse of dudes.
2. Coldplay "Hymn for the Weekend" (ft. Beyoncé) (2016)
No Beyoncé, not even you can get away with cultural appropriation. Especially not if Coldplay's involved.
1. "Check on It" (2006)
Okay, so it turns out that studded pink pleather jackets don't age particularly well. And while we're at it, neither do pleated pink pleather mini-skirts. Or baby pink satin pantsuits. Bey learned that the hard way with the video for B'Day jam "Check on It," but thankfully the clip will exist on the Internet for all eternity so that none of us ever have to make the same mistake.