Deep Album Cuts Vol. 57: Beyonce

It's been 18 years since "No, No, No," 16 years since her first masterpiece, "Bills, Bills, Bills," and 13 years since her solo debut. So it's pretty amazing that Beyonce is arguably at her artistic pinnacle right now, coming off of probably the best album of her career (it's tied with B'Day for me personally), and able to command the world's attention with a song and video like "Formation." It's exciting to think about what she could do next, and how many musicians can you say that about that you've been listening to since the '90s?

I've long hesitated to do a Beyonce deep cuts playlist, for logistical reasons. Do I combine her discography with Destiny's Child just to cram in my favorite The Writing's On The Wall tracks? So many of her songs got airplay without being singles, were released as singles outside the U.S., or had videos (including every song on B'Day and Beyonce) that it can be hard to even say what the deep cuts are. After the release of Beyonce, it was clear she had enough songs to fill out a great playlist, but I wanted to wait until its long singles campaign played out to see what deep cuts were left. I was incensed that "Rocket" was never released as a single, but the upside is that at least I can include it now.

Beyonce Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. Freakum Dress
2. Schoolin' Life
3. Rocket
4. Scared Of Lonely
5. I Care
6. Blue featuring Blue Ivy
7. Signs featuring Missy Elliott
8. Kitty Kat
9. Disappear
10. Jealous
11. End Of Time
12. Suga Mama
13. Yes
14. Haunted
15. Flaws And All
16. Resentment
17. No Angel
18. 1 + 1

Tracks 7 and 13 from Dangerously In Love (2003)
Tracks 1, 8, 13 and 16 from B'Day (2006)
Track 15 from B'Day deluxe edition (2007)
Track 9 from I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008)
Track 4 from I Am... Sasha Fierce deluxe edition (2008)
Tracks 5, 11 and 18 from 4 (2011)
Track 2 from 4 deluxe edition (2011)
Tracks 3, 6, 10, 14 and 17 from Beyonce (2013)

Looking back on her catalog, I'm impressed that almost every album (except probably I Am... Sasha Fierce) represents a noticeable step forward in Beyonce's creative process, how she wrote and who she wrote with, the aesthetic she pursued, how much she was willing to defy radio trends. Critical narratives might say that those kinds of growth spurts only happened on the last two albums, but I think there was an especially big one on B'Day.

One of the things that I think sets Beyonce apart in history is that big voiced R&B stars often score a lot of hits with ballads and slow jams, but most of her biggest moments have been danceable. I think there's a lot of reasons for this, but it also leaves a lot of slower or more introspective material to mine on the deep cuts, and I love songs like "Blue" and "1 + 1." But there's still a lot of bangers, you can practically play all of B'Day in the club, and songs like "Freakum Dress" got a fair amount of spins without a single release.

Most of these albums reportedly had dozens of songs recorded for them and most of them went unreleased, but it was interesting to hear what got relegated to bonus tracks. "Schoolin' Life" is one of her clear greatest songs and in some ways it's the most insightful thing she's ever sung about herself, but it didn't make the main tracklist of 4 for some reason. I never liked 4 as much as some people because I thought there were a few too many duds and a terrible running order, so I actually prefer the 2013 re-release that reshuffles the order and adds "Schoolin' Life" and "Dance For You" (I don't recommend the reshuffled 2007 version of B'Day, though, it totally ruins it).

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
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