What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Critics, fans split on Beyoncé's greatest work

Posted May 4

When life gave Beyoncé heartbreak, she made Lemonade.

Her sixth studio album was released during the premiere of her HBO special of the same name — a visual narrative through the singer’s struggle with her husband’s infidelity. From angry trap and gritty rock tracks of pucker-inducing anger, to softer moments of quiet sadness and redemption, Lemonade packs enough zest to stay on the internet’s top-of-mind more than a week after its release.

Critics and audiences alike have come together to praise Beyoncé’s new work. While fans of the singer, aptly named “The Beyhive,” have taken to social media to express their reverence for Beyoncé and her uncanny ability to constantly outdo herself, music critics and scholars have similarly praised the album’s artistic mercuriality as well as its important messages of social justice.

But this kind of consensus hasn’t always occurred throughout the musician’s career. The critics’ and the public’s most highly-regarded Beyoncé albums tend to differ in order, and only recently have the music experts caught up to the same hype that has been filling stadiums of Single Ladies for years. Using data from Metacritic, PrettyFamous, an entertainment data site, visualized the discrepancies between critic scores (out of 100) and user scores (out of 10) for each of Beyoncé’s albums. Metacritic calculates an average critic score based on the reviews of many notable music reviewers: namely, Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Los Angeles Times and Pitchfork. The user score is an average based on the ratings of Metacritic users.

Overall, users have favored Beyoncé’s older records, while critics have shown greater appreciation for her newer music. Metacritic users gave her third album, I Am...Sasha Fierce, a 7.8 out of 10, while a group of 24 critics gave a collective score of 62 out of 100. This made for a 16-point discrepancy between the two factions.</p>

Even Lemonade, the album currently causing a frenzy in the Beyhive, exceeded most critics’ expectations (94) more than that of users (8.7), with a seven-point discrepancy.

The experts and the fans also disagree when it comes to ranking Beyoncé’s discography. Everyone agrees that the singer’s most recent two albums, Lemonade and Beyoncé, deserve the highest accolades, but opinions start to deviate from there.

Users felt that I Am...Sasha Fierce and Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé’s debut solo album were among the singer’s best work, while critics ranked them at the bottom of the heap.


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