All 8 of Beyoncé's solo albums, ranked by critics

beyonce cowboy carter press photo
Beyoncé recently released her eighth album "Cowboy Carter."Blair Caldwell/Parkwood
  • Beyoncé has released eight solo studio albums, starting with "Dangerously In Love" in 2003.

  • According to aggregated reviews on Metacritic, "I Am...Sasha Fierce" is Beyoncé's worst album.

  • "Cowboy Carter" recently surpassed "Lemonade" as her highest-rated album on the platform.

Beyoncé's newest album "Cowboy Carter" has been met with near-unanimous praise from critics. But how do the reviews compare to the rest of her catalog?

All eight of Beyoncé's solo studio albums are ranked below, according to aggregate scores from Metacritic.

8. "I Am...Sasha Fierce"

beyonce i am sasha fierce album cover
"I Am...Sasha Fierce" was released in 2008.Columbia Records

Metacritic score: 62/100

What critics said: "The album's songs are divided into two parts, ballads of a purported personal nature on the first disc and more aggressive club tracks attributed to the singer's newly christened doppelganger on the second.

"It's a momentum-murdering formula that makes for not only a disjointed listening experience but, with the slow songs presented first, an incoherent narrative. This problem would be negligible, particularly in the age of iTunes, if it weren't clear that Beyoncé intended to make an Album and wants it to be consumed as such." — Sal Cinquemani, Slant Magazine

7. "Dangerously In Love"

beyonce dangerously in love album cover
"Dangerously In Love" was released in 2003.Columbia Records

Metacritic score: 63/100

What critics said: "Whether or not she got the credit, the slick-tongue style she perfected on 'Say My Name' was a mini-revolution in R&B. And 'Dangerously in Love,' her solo debut, confirms her taste for innovation. 'Dangerously,' which the singer coproduced and almost entirely cowrote, is more about moving on from Destiny's Child's frothy aesthetic than competing with the current crop of singing sensations." — Neil Drumming, Entertainment Weekly

6. "B'Day"

beyonce b'day album cover
"B'Day" was released in 2006.Columbia Records

Metacritic score: 70/100

What critics said: "Beyoncé sounds more relaxed as a singer, expanding on the Tina Turner resemblances she's been toying with recently, her performances growing ever-more instinctive and unpredictable in their appropriations of soul hollering." — Tim Finney, Pitchfork

5. "4"

beyonce 4 album cover
"4" was released in 2011.Columbia Records

Metacritic score: 73/100

What critics said: "As modern as Beyoncé has allowed herself to be over the years, from tech-savvy club R&B with Destiny's Child to the insistent pancultural stomp of 'Run the World (Girls),' on this new album, she has always been a torch singer in waiting, anticipating the day when she could just get down to business." — Jon Caramanica, The New York Times

4. "Beyoncé"

beyonce album cover
"Beyoncé" was released in 2013.Columbia

Metacritic score: 85/100

What critics said: "'Beyoncé,' her fifth solo album, repositions the singer as the Houston-bred Yoncé, a woman lustier and surlier than B, more playful than Bey, fiercer than Sasha but softer and more natural than the lot. The album is brassy but elegant, its post-coital breath smelling faintly of cheap liquor sipped from a crystal flute. It finds Beyoncé shifting gears to pull off her most explicit and sonically experimental music to date, exploring sounds and ideas at the grittier margins of popular music." — Carrie Battan, Pitchfork

3. "Renaissance"

beyonce renaissance album cover
"Renaissance" was released in 2022.Carlijn Jacobs/Parkwood

Metacritic score: 91/100

What critics said: "What a good time this thing is. All 16 songs hail from someplace with a dance floor — night clubs, strip clubs, ballrooms, basements, Tatooine. Most of them are steeped in or conducted entirely with Black queer bravado. And on nearly every one, Beyoncé sounds like she's experiencing something personally new and privately glorious: unmitigated ecstasy. It takes different forms: bliss, obviously; but a sexy sternness, too. The exercise of control is as entertaining on this album as the exorcism of stress." — Wesley Morris, The New York Times

2. "Lemonade"

beyonce lemonade
"Lemonade" was released in 2016.Parkwood Entertainment

Metacritic score: 92/100

What critics said: "It is the perfect combination of the sharp songwriting of '4' with the visual storytelling acumen of her self-titled record. Here, we see Beyoncé fully coming into her own: wise, accomplished, and in defense of herself. Many artists struggle with finding the right balance, but then Beyoncé is not like many artists. Rather than mold to the conformity of contemporary music, she leans firmly into her own instincts and vision." — Britt Julious, Consequence

1. "Cowboy Carter"

beyonce cowboy carter album cover
"Cowboy Carter" was released in 2024.Parkwood

Metacritic score: 93/100

What critics said: "Like everything Beyoncé has done, specifically in the last decade of her career, 'Cowboy Carter' is a college dissertation of an album: richly researched and meticulously constructed. And while she has something to prove to a whole musical community, it's more of a love letter to her Southern roots than strictly a honky-tonkin' romp." — Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone

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