Over the course of her impressive career, Beyoncé has become known for giving us booty shaking bops and fierce, iconic choreography.
But it seems like Queen Bey’s ballads are often slept on. When you sit down with one of Beyoncé’s slower tempo tracks, you get the deep vulnerability, sadness, emotional longing, grit, power, and range not necessary for her dance tracks—or the recent rap songs found on The Carters.
Whether she’s dangerously in love or mourning the death of a loved one, Beyoncé never fails to convey real pain and heartbreak us mere mortals struggle to express. Here are 10 times when she does it best.
“Dangerously In Love” (2003)
The title track to her debut solo album, and rework of the version she recorded with Destiny’s Child, is a lush ballad with B doing what she does best—wailing about being obsessed and crazy in love. While the song sounds a bit dated now, it’s quintessential Beyoncé.
On this track, B sings about a lover she’s taken for granted who’s slowly drifting away now. The beautiful, delicate harmonies drive home the vulnerability. But there’s a part in the bridge (2:53 mark) where Beyoncé purposefully twists a note until it sounds flat that sounds like a flaw demonstrating her brilliance here.
Also from the Sasha Fierce album, “Halo” is that stadium, power ballad with its wide-open melodies. It’s a glorious ballad composed by hitmaker Ryan Tedder.
“I Care” (2011)
On this R&B power ballad from 4, Beyoncé fiercely confesses her vulnerability to her indifferent lover. The shining moment comes when B vocals over the guitar solo like she’s auditioning to join Journey. It’s a savage mix of sadness and dissatisfaction.
A tribute to D’Angelo’s “(Untitled) How Does It Feel,” “Rocket” is a sexy slow jam romp with one of the best opening lines probably ever recorded in the history of music.
On this B’day track, the fierce, independent Queen has the difficult task of conveying deep vulnerability after discovering her significant other has been unfaithful and she’s torn about whether or not to forgive him (life really imitated art here). The song takes you back to the passionate ways female groups in the Motown-era used to deliver such a ballad. You can probably thank co-composer Curtis Mayfield for that.
“I Was Here” (2011)
Are you even a diva if you haven’t belted out a Diane Warren power ballad? In this inspiring performance, B sings with such conviction as she contemplates leaving a legacy.
Bey’s vocal performance here is so gripping and startlingly raw, you almost feel like you’re invading her privacy as she bares her pain.
“All Night” (2016)
While Beyoncé is rightfully pissed off throughout the majority of the martial meltdown Lemonade, she’s relaxed on the slow-jam “All Night,” a warm, tender lullaby-like cut about forgiveness and rebuilding trust after infidelity.
“Heaven” is a mournful, slow-tempo ballad with a hymn-like simple piano that plays with your heart strings for nearly 3 minutes until the tears just start pouring out of your eyes. The raw, uninhibited pain Beyoncé conveys here is one of the best moments in her career.