Beyoncé has delighted fans with the release of her new album Renaissance which is already being called one of the "best albums of the year".
This is the first studio album the pop star has released since the critically claimed Lemonade, six years ago in 2016 - and the Beyhive is loving the new music as Renaissance having seen it already soar to #1 spot on US iTunes.
Days before its release on July 29, the album was leaked after copies were mistakenly offered for sale at some European stores.
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In a letter to her fans, Beyoncé thanked those for waiting until the official drop to listen as she wrote: "So, the album leaked, and you all actually waited until the proper release time so you can all enjoy it together,
Fans outraged at 'leak' of new Beyonce album
Devotees urge each other not to listen to any audio recordings before the official release date on July 29But audio files circulated online reportedly allowed some listeners early access to the songs. It prompted angry responses from the superstar's fans – known colloquially as The Beyhive – who urged people not to share links and listen to it before its official release. Following the announcement of the album, her first full-length recording since Lemonade in 2016, she shared a striking piece of artwork showing her astride a luminescent horse, wearing only silver jewellery wrapped around her.
"I appreciate you for calling out anyone who was trying to sneak into the club early."
Renaissance is Beyoncé's seventh studio album and sits within an illustrious catalogue of projects from the music legend - so where exactly does it rank? Just for clarity's sake all of these albums are classics but a ranking is a ranking so here goes.
7 - Dangerously In Love (2003)
Beyoncé - Crazy In Love ft. JAY Z www.youtube.com
After a successful career in the girl group Destiny's Child, Beyoncé struck out on her own with her first solo album Dangerously In Love.
This album of course includes 'Crazy in Love' featuring her then-boyfriend-now-husband rapper Jay Z, which despite receiving mixed reviews went on to become a pop classic.
Other highlights include 'Baby Boy', 'Naughty Girl', and 'Me, Myself & I', and in true noughties fashion, there is also a Missy Elliot collab too, making the album the perfect throwback listen.
The album of Beyoncé Leak, two days before its release
While these days it feels like a nostalgic project, the record catapulted Beyoncé to even bigger heights as her career has gone intergalactic ever since.
6 - B'Day (2006)
Beyoncé - Irreplaceable www.youtube.com
The title B’Day is genius for a start and while some artists fall victim to the second album curse that certainly was not the case for Beyoncé.
A club in 2022 could easily play the 2006 tracks such as 'Déjà vu', 'Irreplaceable', 'Get Me Bodied' and superstar collab with Shakira on 'Beautiful Liar' as they remain to be timeless tunes.
Believe us; if she did not have so many strong projects, this would be higher on our list.
5 - I Am Sasha Fierce (2009)
Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (Video Version) www.youtube.com
Beyoncé’s third studio album I am Sasha Fierce is a cultural milestone of the late noughties.
Named after her stage alter-ego, fans got the chance to experience different sides to Queen B – the radiant confidence in power anthem 'Single Ladies', 'Diva', and 'Sweet Dreams' balanced with the emotional tracks that get you right in the feels with wedding favourite Halo, break up ballad 'If I Were A Boy' and touching vocals on 'Broken-Hearted Girl'.
Kelis claims song sample by Beyonce on Renaissance was 'theft' and takes aim at Pharrell
She said her 'mind is blown' at the 'level of disrespect.'Beyoncé’s newest studio album, Renaissance, was released on Friday, to fans’ absolute delight – but there’s already some controversy.
(How can we forget the moment Kanye West described the video for 'Single Ladies' as the “greatest music video of all time,” after he interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMA’s. The interruption of Taylor aside, for once Kanye was right).
I am Sasha Fierce was a commercial success, with a number of bops alongside a sprinkling of pop culture drama but amazingly it's still only placed at number five on our list.
4 - Renaissance (2022)
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After two years of miserable lockdowns, Beyoncé had her finger on the pulse in regards to people’s appetite for post-pandemic partying with a genre pivot to create the ultimate dance album – just in time for hot girl summer.
And oh boy did she deliver some disco dancefloor bangers, with lead single Break My Soul’s bouncy house beat with themes of liberation as the singer urges people to quit their jobs.
Stand-outs also include the unapologetic bravado in 'I’m that Girl' and 'Alien Superstar' to the energetic 'Summer Renaissance', as well as paying tribute to the Black queer ballroom culture of the 80s and 90s.
The Daily Lowdown: Beyonce breaks silence to thanks fans for being patient after album leak
HELLO!'s Daily Lowdown is bringing you the best celebrity news. Beyonce has thanked her fans for 'being patient' for the official release after Renaissance was leaked two days earlyMORE: The Daily Lowdown: Beyonce's album leaks two days before release
Given the album’s impeccable read on societal mood, and Beyoncé's ability to switch up genres (and of course the club anthems), it is number four on our list (though it will probably rank higher with time as we see its long-term legacy).
3 - 4 (2011)
Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls) (Official Video) www.youtube.com
While in terms of symmetry, 4 being third on our list is not aesthetically pleasing, the 2011 album is deserving of a top three spot.
Although it did not quite have the same commercial success as I am Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé supplied us with some absolute classics.
From the bold R&B vocals of 'Love on Top' to the motivating tracks of 'Run the World (Girls)' and 'End of Time', along with the happy heartbreak of 'Best Thing I Never Had' – let’s not forget the signature riffs in 'Countdown' either.
Although the project wasn’t as cohesive – with so many sing-along tracks to belt out, it doesn’t really matter.
2 - Lemonade (2016)
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Adele said it best when she described Beyoncé’s Lemonade album as “monumental," at the 59th Grammy Awards.
In her 2016 album, fans saw a more vulnerable and intimate side to Beyoncé as she navigated infidelity as well as her identity as a Black woman and the historical impact slavery has had on generations of Black people.
The biggest moments include the truthful reggae hit 'Hold Up', the trap sound and social commentary on race in 'Formation', and her powerful collaboration with rapper Kendrick Lamar on the gospel-influenced track 'Freedom'.
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Creatively, it's some of Beyoncé's best work and the cohesive narrative along with important societal reflections puts Lemonade in second place.
1 - Beyoncé (2013)
Beyoncé - Drunk in Love (Explicit) ft. JAY Z www.youtube.com
Where were you when Beyoncé randomly dropped an entire album? That's the real question.
The Queen of Pop shocked us all when at midnight on December 13 she released her self-titled visual album and with no promotion in the run-up, it threw out the rule book when it came to how artists market their music.
On top of that, she gifted us with a seamless flow of non-skips songs where she sounds her most confident and sensual - with 'Drunk in Love' ft. Jay Z, '711', 'XO,' 'Partition' and 'Flawless', while there were also reflective moments in 'Pretty Hurts' and 'Blue', a sweet dedication to her daughter Blue Ivy.
Both its surprising release along with a strong collection of tunes puts this album on the top spot.
With Renaissance being the first part of her planned trilogy, we can expect this list to be updated sometime in the future...
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