15. “Beyoncé Interlude”
B gets all poetic on this spoken-word interlude about harmonies being colors that aren’t beautiful enough to express her love. Deep.
14. “That’s How You Like It”
It was never going to be able to compete with “Crazy in Love,” but this track -- which riffs on the 1982 DeBarge charmer “I Like It” -- shows that everything isn’t always love for a Jayoncé collaboration. Listening to it post Lemonade and 4:44, this feels way too cheesy for the Carters.
13. “Gift from Virgo”
The weaker of the two astrological cuts on the album -- “Signs” is the other -- doesn’t feel so much like a fully realized song but an extended interlude. Still, it’s interesting to hear Beyoncé engage in some Teena Marie-esque starchild-ness on this jazzy reverie.
This Prince-inspired ballad is just one of the Dangerously in Love cuts on which you can hear Beyoncé aiming to prove that she’s a Destiny’s Woman now. But while she reveals a supple sensuality on this slow-grinder, things never really heat up. The wah-wah guitar is a nice touch, though.
There’s a sense of nostalgia now for the times when Beyoncé’s father, Matthew Knowles, was much more involved in her career. And the gospel strains of this album closer help save this ode to Bey Poppa (“I want my unborn son to be like my daddy”) from sentimental saturation.
Playing like a slow-jam sequel to Destiny’s Child’s “No, No, No,” this track is a subtle but firm statement on not being a yes woman. Cooing about the empowerment of saying no for all her ladies to feel her, Beyoncé makes a sly feminist move.
9. “The Closer I Get to You”
Beyoncé got to learn from the late R&B legend Luther Vandross -- one of the all-time great singers -- on their Grammy-winning remake of the Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway classic. The fact that she could hold her own with Luther definitely let you know that she had vocal chops.
You can hear the Aaliyah influence on this track, which features production and vocals by Missy Elliott, one of the late “Try Again” singer’s main collaborators. The sumptuous, retro-’70s soul and astrological lyric make this a ladies update of 1977’s “Float On,” the star-sign-dropping hit by the Floaters.
7. “Be with You”
Beyoncé also throws it back to the ’70s on this, one of her two collaborations with producer-writer Rich Harrison (the other one being “Crazy in Love”). You can feel the love that they have for the Brothers Johnson’s 1977 classic “Strawberry Letter 23” shining through here.
6. “Hip Hop Star”
The same year that Big Boi and Sleepy Brown dropped the dopeness of OutKast’s “The Way You Move,” Beyoncé got them to turn up for her debut solo album. They bring some Dirty South swag to the rock thump of “Hip Hop Star,” which could have easily been a single.
5. “Dangerously in Love 2”
Although this song originally appeared on Destiny’s Child’s 2001 album Survivor, it provides an elegant solo showcase for Beyoncé here. With its sophisticated vocal arrangement, this LP’s title tune is a grown-woman ballad that won Bey a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
4. “Naughty Girl”
Beyoncé is a harem of one on this Arabian Nights sexcapade -- produced by the then-hot Scott Storch -- which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. And let’s face it: Any song that nods to both Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl” and Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” has got to be pretty irresistible.
3. “Me, Myself and I”
Another Beyoncé-Storch collaboration, this empowerment anthem set the midtempo groove and spirit for “Irreplaceable” on 2006’s “B’Day.” “Me, myself and I/That’s all I got in the end…I’ma be my own best friend,” sings B on the album's hit third single. You can just feel independent women all over putting their hands up.
2. “Baby Boy”
Fifteen years later, “Baby Boy” is still one of the best straight-up party jams that Beyoncé has recorded as a solo artist. With Sean Paul bringing the dancehall vibes, Dangerously in Love’s second single -- which followed “Crazy in Love” all the way up to No. 1 on the Hot 100 -- remains a guaranteed booty-dropper.
1. “Crazy in Love”
From “Single Ladies” to “Formation,” Beyoncé has made some of the best singles by any female artist in the last 15 years since she began her solo career. But it’s still hard to beat her very first solo single, the one that fulfilled her destiny in the same way as when Diana Ross broke out from the Supremes. It’s still the crazy-hottest Bey-Jay joint ever too.