Music News

Billboard’s Greatest Pop Stars of 2022: No. 4 — Beyoncé

todayDecember 15, 2022 6

share close

For this year’s update of our ongoing Greatest Pop Star by Year project, Billboard is counting down our staff picks for the top 10 pop stars of 2022 all this week. At No. 4, we remember the year in Beyoncé — a pop icon who revels in teasing the world until she’s ready to once again make industry history.



After Beyoncé held fans over during the pandemic with 2020’s Black Is King, the visual album based on her The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, and one-off singles “Black Parade” and “Be Alive” (the latter for the soundtrack to 2021 biographical drama King Richard), there were questions of what musical direction the artist would take come 2022. She had turned 40 years old the prior September, after all, and a new decade often sparks a reinvention of sound.

“It’s hard going against the grain, but being a small part of some of the overdue shifts happening in the world feels very rewarding,” Beyoncé told Harper’s Bazaar last August about her rule-breaking wishes for age 40. “I want to continue to work to dismantle systemic imbalances. I want to continue to turn these industries upside down.”

Billboard’s Greatest Pop Stars of 2022:
Introduction & Honorable Mentions | Rookie of the Year: Steve Lacy | Comeback of the Year: Sam Smith | No. 10: Nicki Minaj | No. 9: Future | No. 8: Jack Harlow | No. 7: Doja Cat | No. 6: Lizzo | No. 5: Drake

Being the notorious tease she is, Beyoncé opted to start the year with an Oscar campaign. After receiving ​​her first Academy Award nomination for best original song for “Be Alive”, she performed at the ceremony in March. Although it was pre-filmed, the performance was a powerful visual display as Beyoncé, her dancers and her daughter Blue Ivy honored Serena Williams through dynamic choreography and tennis ball-hued Ivy Park gear. Unfortunately, the performance was overshadowed by The Slap and the ensuing fiasco between Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Nevertheless, the yearning for a new solo Beyoncé album still lingered, despite the singer keeping quiet save for a one-off Instagram outfit post here and there. The whispers of an imminent arrival grew louder once the Beyhive noticed the erasure of all her social media profile photos in early June. Then on June 15, the speculation immediately turned into a “She’s coming!” frenzy once Beyoncé re-emerged on Instagram with a Studio 54/club kid-themed British Vogue cover, and the official announcement of her incoming Renaissance. (Crafty fans soon realized the oh-so-slick Beyoncé actually teased the album’s title in the aforementioned Harper’s Bazaar cover feature: “I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible,” she said at the time.)

On June 20, she unleashed lead single “Break My Soul” on the world. A vibrant house anthem, “Soul” ​​referenced the hook to Robin S.’ ‘90s smash “Show Me Love” and reunited her with “Formation” collaborator Big Freedia via a sample of 2014’s bounce single “Explode” (“Release ya wiggle!”). “Break My Soul” received love from fans and critics alike, and enjoyed solid if not overwhelming initial commercial success, debuting at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its incomplete first week of release. 

Once Renaissance dropped on July 29, it was met with an immediate and unanimous rush of admiration, with reviews praising Beyoncé for unleashing joy through dance after a trying two years of the pandemic. On Renaissance, Queen Bey transformed into House Mutha Bey, as she honored Black queer icons and her late uncle Johnny, who introduced her to the world of ballroom culture. From the heavenly “Alien Superstar” to the sultry, Donna Summer-channeling “Summer Renaissance,” the album serves up equality on the dancefloor. As she muses on “Pure/Honey”, “You can be both, meet in the middle, dance all night.”

Following the dazzling reception, it came as no surprise the singer’s seventh solo studio album enjoyed big first-week numbers. Renaissance debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, making it the first album released by a woman this year to top the chart. In turn, “Break My Soul” simultaneously shot to No. 1 on the Hot 100 – marking her first solo No. 1 on the chart in 14 years, since 2008’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” ruled for four weeks. On Aug. 5, Beyoncé invoked Madonna (the “Vogue” queen herself) for the Queens Remix of “Break My Soul”, which helped the single remain at No. 1 for a second week.

A week later, the singer dropped a teaser video for Renaissance opener “I’m That Girl”. It featured a multitude of fashionable looks, which had many thinking a visual album was soon on its way. But a tease was all it was, and as of mid-December, the visuals have yet to come. Promotion for the album quieted, until “Cuff It” took over TikTok with an all-ages dance challenge. The app’s influence soon reached radio, making “Cuff It” the second major hit from the album, as it topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart this month.

As we enter 2023, Beyoncé is already in the process of scoring another historical feat: Renaissance and its singles received nine Grammy nods (including Album of the Year) for the 65th annual Grammy Awards, making her the top-nominated artist. (The feat also ties her with husband Jay-Z for the most career nominations at the awards, with 88.) And on Grammy night, she’ll once again go head-to-head with Adele’s 30 for album of the year. The two titans previously faced off at the 2017 ceremonies, when Adele’s 25 took home the top prize, beating out Beyoncé’s Lemonade. It’s a category she controversially has yet to win, and fans will be holding their breath in February to see the outcome.

But the biggest question left for the artist is “What’s next?” Nearly five months following Renaissance’s release, fans are still craving official videos. And in a note to fans on her official website, Beyoncé shared that Renaissance is part of a “three-act project”. So what will Act II and III give us? Will the disco party continue until the wee hours of the morning? Or will there be a more contemporary R&B comedown? Will one of the projects actually be another visual album?

Whatever may come next year, it’s clear that Beyoncé’s trajectory will continue to push her to all-time legend status. “It’s just that I’m that girl”, she boasts on Renaissance’s opening track. As if she ever needed to remind us.

Written by: admin

Rate it

Previous post

the-weeknd-receives-2022-allan-slaight-humanitarian-award-for-social activism

Music News

The Weeknd Receives 2022 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award For Social Activism

The Weeknd was named the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award this week in honor of the singer’s longstanding commitment to charitable causes. “That this is a Canadian award sits deep with me. Allan and The Slaight Family Foundation are known across the country for their generous philanthropy, and it means a lot to be acknowledged, and is an honor to be recognized along with the […]

todayDecember 15, 2022 4

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *