Queen is one of the most dynamic acts in music history. From anthemic stadium rockers to emotive ballads, their songs have demonstrated how versatile this act was. From Freddie Mercury’s signature voice to their distinctive costumes – here are 10 of their finest tracks.
This song brings soulful vocals and passionate rage together to emphasize the emotional obstacles women must jump through for love. Additionally, this R&B tune boasts an important political message.
1. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a pianist, singer-songwriter, and record producer who rose to prominence during the early 2000s due to her signature blend of R&B music. Alicia’s love of music began at an early age: playing piano at four was her introduction; by twelve she had composed her own songs! With such incredible musical talent already apparent at an early age it was clear she would become one of the most revered artists within the music industry.
After graduating high school, Alicia decided to devote herself fully to her musical career and devote herself to it full-time. After quickly garnering record company interest and an intense bidding war for her services, Arista Records finally won. Since releasing Songs in a Minor in 2001 and winning five Grammy awards since then – as well as appearing on Rolling Stones cover and topping Billboard Hot 100 chart with song Fallin’.
In 2003, Alicia Keys released her second album entitled, The Diary of Alicia Keys; then six years later released Unplugged album which earned two Grammy awards as both albums became hits with listeners and featured her single with Usher called My Boo which reached number one on Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks – two Grammy awards were presented for them both as well.
Alicia has long been an icon to many and she has been instrumental in fighting HIV/AIDS. She has helped fund programs across India and Africa to educate people about this deadly virus, support families with children living with it, as well as ensure proper treatments are given for these causes. We see her as a true queen for her devotion to her music and causes.
Beyonce Knowles-Carter has become one of the world’s most revered musicians, winning multiple Grammys and charting on Billboard Hot 100 for four different decades. Additionally, she is an actress, entrepreneur, mother and fashion designer; Ivy Park and House of Dereon being her fashion lines; while recently appearing as Simba in live action remake of The Lion King are just among her accomplishments.
Beyonce first came into her own musically as part of the R&B band Girl’s Tyme, where their debut single, “Crazy in Love,” became an instantaneous hit during their early 2000s run. Later, after Girl’s Tyme split up and Beyonce went solo writing her own hits as well as co-writing songs with other artists (such as MC Hammer for his dance track “Bootylicious”) she has written many dance tracks including one named after herself by Beyonce herself!
Although many of Beyonce’s songs center around romance, her catalog contains something for everyone. Beyonce is an expert of pop and funk genres and her songs have taken on many influences over time.
Beyonce’s latest album, Formation, showcases her mastery of different musical genres and her cultural icon status through political activism and charitable works.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is an English singer-songwriter who rose to prominence during the early 21st century. With her emotive vocals and classically composed songs, she quickly established herself as one of the most beloved performers of her era.
Adele first released Hometown Glory at 16 as an ode to Tottenham in south London; it quickly became a hit both locally and online, becoming popular on radio stations and MySpace. Adele then recorded and released her debut album 19 in 2008 with two popular lead singles Hometown Glory and Chasing Pavements that propelled her worldwide popularity.
Adele quickly achieved commercial and critical success with her album. Critics lauded its critical reception as well as Adele’s live performances, which earned praise for being intimate and profound. Adele was often compared to Amy Winehouse – another British singer influenced by soul music.
Adele’s second album, 21, was an unqualified success and propelled her into stardom in America. Her appearance on Saturday Night Live introduced her to American audiences; then Grammy Award nominations cemented Adele as an R&B queen.
Adele’s critically acclaimed third album, 25 was an overwhelming commercial success in both the United States and Canada, dominating charts across both territories. Its lead single, Missunderstood, was an international smash; spending six weeks at number one of Billboard Hot 100 early 2018. Her powerful vocals and emotive lyrics show no sign of diminishing. Adele is currently working on her fifth studio album due to be released sometime between 2020-2022.
4. Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae was pioneering R&B long before Frank Ocean, Solange, or Beyonce brought arty R&B into mainstream awareness. Her music boasts elements from rock to funk to hip-hop (especially when she feels it; as on Django Jane), electronica, campy drama-kid theatricality and campy campfire songs – as well as daring political statements on social justice or race relations. She remains unafraid to push musical boundaries despite any restrictions placed upon her by industry leaders such as Frank Ocean or Solange; among many other artists before paving her own musical way in arty R&B mainstream popularity was Janelle Monae pioneer. She remains unafraid to innovate as much as she dares to break out her own territory by pushing boundaries while remaining daringly political on these matters as she can dodging these same ones when needed.
Monae has used her platform to advocate for various communities such as LGBT people, untouchables (those living in poverty), and black people from various origins. She has collaborated with notable figures like Nile Rodgers, Grimes and Julia Michaels. Most recently in 2018, Monae released her third album Dirty Computer with which she defiantly challenged societal norms and challenges them through song.
One of her signature tracks on this record, Q.U.E.E.N, showcases Monae’s talents as both singer and songwriter. Boasting an upbeat bass driven track and featuring Erykah Badu as backing vocalist, Monae boldly expresses her opinions regarding both personal beliefs as well as society’s treatment of those different from herself.
Monae’s song serves as an anthem for anyone who has experienced bullying or discrimination based on their sexuality, skin color, religion or other personal attributes. Her experience as a black woman and the difficulties she’s endured come through loud and clear in this piece. Prior to recently she never publicly identified as pansexual; instead her music hinted at this orientation. Since being open about it through music advocacy.
5. Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae pioneered arty R&B long before Frank Ocean, Solange Knowles and SZA brought it mainstream. Born in Kansas City and singing church choir and school musicals as a child. Monae’s breakthrough performance came at an open mic night where she sang Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, to Big Boi from OutKast who was present and was so impressed that he invited her to collaborate on two tracks from their 2006 album Purple Ribbon All-Stars.
Monae’s debut and The ArchAndroid albums kept her at the top of charts throughout her ten-year career, earning her frequent musical guest spots on Saturday Night Live, performing at Harvard College Black Men’s Forum’s Women of the Year Gala in Washington DC in 2014 and being named 2015 Woman of the Year by Harvard College Black Men’s Forum. That year also marked Monae’s label Wondaland Arts Society signing a partnership deal with L.A. Reid’s Epic Records to promote its artists; that year saw Jidenna joining Roman, St Beauty Deep Cotton, Deep Cotton herself all amongst them on her Wondaland Presents: The Eephus EP featuring Jidenna Roman St Beauty Deep Cotton herself plus monae herself.
After contributing her talents to both Moonlight and Hidden Figures soundtracks, Monae released her third studio album Dirty Computer in 2018. While not continuing the Metropolis storyline, this pop-centric set featured elements of rock, funk, R&B, rap and space rock.
Monae’s vocals remain an impressive highlight on Django Jane; her silky vocals meld seamlessly with her powerful rapping, creating a highly pleasing result. Erykah Badu provides fantastic backup vocals while adding subtle sexual overtones that further enrich this album.