Many people believe Beyoncé Knowles-Carter to be THE powerhouse singer of our time. Many of her fans live for the moments when she vocally shows out with her dynamic runs and growling notes. While her solo catalog has its high points, the moments that she shines best are not when she’s singing alone, but when she shares billing with another singer. When she sings with other artists, she takes on a bit of a “less is more” approach. She doesn’t insultingly undersing, but instead gives the kind of performance that she is singing to you more than at you.
With that in mind, we at Kel & Mel Reviews have compiled a list of some of the best songs that Beyoncé has ever featured on. Ranging from all over her 16 year career, you can hear her voice change and grow. Be warned though, there are no Jay Z tracks here.
1. Until The End Of Time (Remix) – I was actually surprised that I like the remix of this track. The original was one of the best tracks on Futuresex/Lovesounds and I was worried that Beyoncé would do too much vocally and kill the vibe that the song has. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and the song takes on an entirely different dynamic when performed as a duet. What was originally a song about someone professing their undying love becomes something akin to marriage vows being spoken at the altar.
2. Crazy Feelings – This little known track from the end of Missy Elliott’s sophomore album, Da Real World, has both Beyoncé and Missy showcasing some lowkey vocals with appropriately placed harmonies. The repetitive production doesn’t get a chance to bore you because the ladies ride it expertly, switching between rising above it and blending with it.
3. Love A Woman – This has to be my second favorite Beyoncé vocal performance (just after Me, Myself & I). She and Mary J. Blige school these men about what it means to truly love someone. The fact that both of these singers have voices that are a little rough around the edges but in different ways makes this a strong duet. They are both able to give those hard-singing performances without outdoing one another, giving as good as they get. Their delivery is raw and true, with emotion surging throughout. A truly underrated track by both singers.
4. The Closer I Get To You – This track was surprise to many because Beyoncé had just released her first solo album the same year. There were many that thought her working with a veteran at the level of Luther Vandross so soon might have stymied her career if she seemed lost on the track. Instead, what listeners got was a beautifully dynamic performance from both singers. Beyoncé gives a rare glimpse of her vocal talent here; not giving her usually sensual, sassy, or heartbroken performance but one in which love exudes from her tones. She doesn’t sound bored; she is fully engaged in the song and it is wonderful.
5. Telephone – Two of the hottest singers at the time one track?! Who wouldn’t be down for that?! While the video for this was bit of a letdown, the song itself still stands up as a dance track. The perfect “fuck you” track for a night out with the girls, bump this in the car on the way to the club to get yourself in a mood to party without your man.
6. Turnt – Before there was Partition, there was this track that appeared on The-Dream’s 2013 album. Besides the bass making you want to get to the floor and grind, this also happens to feature one the best 2 Chainz verses that most people have ever heard.
7. Love In This Club, Pt. 2 – Besides this being an actual remix–with new words, melody, and everything–this track gave us the Usher/Beyoncé duet most people had been waiting for since he appeared in her Naughty Boy video. The flow is somewhat ruined by Lollipop-era Lil Wayne working the autotune, but even that isn’t enough to dispel the heat that the two singers generate. The two of them bounce back and forth between vocals seamlessly and you will wonder why this version wasn’t the main one.
8. So Amazing – This is a track from a tribute album that was made after the death of the great Luther Vandross. It makes sense that Beyoncé would be a part of this given that she worked with the singer on one of his last albums. Both she and Stevie Wonder put just enough of themselves into the song to make it more than a run-of-the-mill cover, but not so much that the song is not recognizable as a tribute to the original singer.
9. Everything I Do – If you are unfamiliar with soul singer Bilal, get to know him through this track. From The Fighting Temptations soundtrack, the jazz-styled production is a beautiful match for both Bilal and Beyoncé. The harmonies are so strong and the vocal switching so playful it takes what is already a mood enhancer and turns it into the kind of classy babymaker that can be hard to come by in the modern radio era.
10. You Changed – This track from Kelly Rowland’s Talk A Good Game offered the Destiny’s Child reunion that many had been waiting for since the release of the lackluster Nuclear. While the order of the singers was rearranged in comparison to other DC songs (traditionally it was Beyoncé first, then Kelly, then Michelle), it doesn’t change the fact that the ladies still have a great working dynamic. While Beyoncé gets close to her solo show outs, she never reaches the point where she overtakes Kelly. Cooperation at it’s best; a song about standing strong after a bad relationship becomes almost like a song about sisterhood with these three ladies on the track.