The Definitive Ranking Of Destiny's Child Singles

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DESTINYS CHILD 2000
Destiny's Child accepts the Artist of the Year award at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect) | Frank Micelotta via Getty Images

Fifteen years ago, Destiny's Child cemented their place among pop's greatest ensembles with the debut of the group's sophomore album, "The Writing's on the Wall." Released July 27, 1999, "Writing's" spent the rest of that year floating around the Billboard chart's top 40 rankings. By January 2000, amid the popularity of the defining single "Say My Name," it was certified platinum twice over.

Rolling Stone panned the album as a "case of the blahs," but Entertainment Weekly said it solidified the group as "more capable of confident, inventive R&B than many of their contemporaries." Indeed, Destiny's Child managed to rise above the stable of R&B girl groups that hit the airwaves in the late '90s. The ladies released 14 singles before disbanding in 2006, and along the way the group was the center of much controversy over its ever-shifting lineup and iffy songwriting credits. No matter, though: America adored -- and still adores -- them. I'll even make the claim that the Beyonce of Destiny's Child might be the best Beyonce. Whatever position you take on the matter, the D.C. oeuvre contains some of pop and hip-hop's brightest moments of the 1990s and 2000s. Let's rank their U.S. singles.

  • 14
    "Stand Up For Love" (2005)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: Didn't chart
    Album: "#1's"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    The ladies had to know this one wasn't going far. The group's only U.S. single that failed to chart, "Stand Up For Love" sounds like a '90s movie ballad that got lost on its way to a soundtrack. I'm picturing an empowering animated movie, in part because I wish the music video were intercut with scenes of Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle singing while CGI creatures flutter around them. Instead, it was was used as the 2005 World Children's Day Anthem, which is great and all, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it the song is a total snoozefest.
  • 13
    "Cater 2 U" (2005)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 14
    Album: "Destiny Fulfilled"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    "Cater 2 U" is a personification of how much "Destiny Fulfilled" rewrote the girl-power themes of "The Writing's on the Wall" and "Survivor." Vibe's Zohar Lazar wrote in his review of "Fulfilled" that the song "set[s] the feminist movement back more than a century over the course of four minutes." That seems like an overstatement -- it is the guy's special day, after all, hence the catering. But a feminist anthem this is not, and nor is it a particularly eventful slow jam. Plus, the video's desert-set choreography is kind of weird.
  • 12
    "Girl" (2005)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 23
    Album: "Destiny Fulfileld"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    Perhaps the least notable of Destiny's Child's singles, "Girl" is pretty standard. It returns the gals to the scorned-woman anthems they recorded pre-"Destiny Fulfilled," but it lacks the energy of its processors. The video is a cute if heavy-handed take on friends consoling their mistreated pal (Kelly, in this case). It recreates the "Sex and the City" opening credits and then places the trio in a similar diner that Carrie and company might frequent, but the motif never reached its potential and the HBO series was off the air by that point, so, like, why?
  • 11
    "Emotion" (2001)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 10
    Album: "Survivor"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    The "Emotion" video works a little too hard to emphasize that Destiny's Child is Beyonce's show, positioning her in the middle of a split-screen treatment in which her frame is often wider than Michelle's and Kelly's. Still, we'll give it to the gals for rendering the Samantha Sang ballad (Barry Gibb co-wrote it and later covered it with the Bee Gees) a heartfelt R&B effort. Listen to those harmonies!
  • 10
    "Lose My Breath" (2004)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 3
    Album: "Destiny Fulfilled"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    "Lose My Breath" is evidence of two things: the changing tides in R&B and hip-hop that entered around the mid-2000s, and Beyonce's transition to a solo superstar. This song could easily be a cut from "Dangerously in Love" or any other album Beyonce has released since. It has "Run the World" calisthenics, "Ring the Alarm" aggression and "Baby Boy" sensuality. "Lose My Breath" is fun, but it lacks the instant catchiness of the "Survivor" singles.
  • 9
    "Bug a Boo" (1999)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 33
    Album: "The Writing's on the Wall"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly, LaTavia and LeToya

    Now here is a karaoke challenge. If you can master the lyrics to "Bug a Boo" and muster the courage sing them in front of others, you are officially a D.C. superfan. If not, that's okay, too: This diatribe against clingy dudes is just so damn sassy. Even the dated references to MCI, AOL Internet and pagers carry a certain brass. Someone remind us why it's the group's lowest-charting single.
  • 8
    "Survivor" (2001)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 2
    Album: "Survivor"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    Beyonce reportedly concocted the "Survivor" theme after hearing a DJ compare the band's controversy to the incipient reality series. The result is a song (and album) that drills home the perseverance motif with fist-pounding severity. It's a karaoke jam best experienced while belting the lyrics in someone's face, but is "Survivor" truly a great song? A catchy one, a canonical one -- but one without the sleekness of "Independent Women" or the restraint of "Say My Name." It's also kind of long. Still, "Survivor" is obviously a classic, and I'll join anyone who dares holler the lyrics at me in a disco-stained karaoke bar.
  • 7
    "No, No, No" (1997)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 3
    Album: "Destiny's Child"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly, LaTavia and LeToya

    With "No, No, No," Destiny's Child seemed like they were headed for the land of one-hit wonders. The other single from their debut album, "With Me," wasn't released in U.S. markets, nor was the "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" soundtrack cut "Get on the Bus," despite both finding traction abroad. The track was pure '90s R&B, relatively indistinguishable from the hits of All Saints, SWV, Xscape, Divine and the endless other girl groups who came and went. In the scope of the D.C. catalog, though, it's lovely.
  • 6
    "Bills, Bills, Bills" (1999)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 1
    Album: "The Writing's on the Wall"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly, LaTavia and LeToya

    With its clicky beat and "good-for-nothing-type-of-brother" lyrics, "Bills, Bills, Bills" is the sonic cousin of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?" and TLC's "No Scrubs." Its music video, shot in an open-space hair salon, even employs a similar aesthetic. All three videos play like lo-fi twists on Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream" and Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity." Even if the song sounds dated today, it's no less fabulous. Destiny's Child's first No. 1 single, it was their only chart-topper released with the original quartet intact.
  • 5
    "Soldier" (2004)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 3
    Album: "Destiny Fulfilled"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    "Soldier" had the trio shedding the wholesome undercurrents of their first three albums, instead stumping for a fellow who's "known to carry big things" -- if you know what they mean. The song is an obvious bid for an urban cred that extends beyond their sovereign-lady mantra. Hey, it turns out they do want some male companions after all, and there's a pretty specific set of guidelines as to what type they'll accept. But that's okay: Even churchgoers like Destiny's Child can cut loose from time to time, especially when Lil Wayne, T.I., Bow Wow, Ginuwine, Ice Cube and a very pregnant Solange join in.
  • 4
    "Jumpin' Jumpin'" (2000)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 3
    Album: "The Writing's on the Wall"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle and Farrah

    The second and final video to feature Farrah, "Jumpin', Jumpin'" marks the closing notes of a Destiny's Child lineup in transition. (God save Beyonce and "second lead vocalist" Kelly!) Despite the drama, the single didn't lack any of the momentum that preceded it in "Say My Name" or followed it in "Independent Women (Part 1)." Pay no mind to the lyrics about abandoning your significant other to hook up with someone else at the club. "Jumpin' Jumpin'" is an instant mood-booster, a song you can blast while getting ready for a night out or bobbing down the sidewalk with your iPod roaring -- which is just what you want from a group whose onstage presence is heavy on self-assurance.
  • 3
    "Say My Name" (2000)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 1
    Album: "The Writing's on the Wall"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle and Farrah

    "Say My Name" is quintessential Destiny's Child canon. Some of you might be appalled that it isn't No. 1. "Say My Name" is what propelled the then-quartet to top-tier fame. Alongside "Survivor," it's one of only two songs that landed the group a Grammy win. It's also one of the most complicated pages in the Destiny's Child scrapbook: It was recorded with LeToya's and LaTavia's vocals, but after financial disputes with manager Mathew Knowles, the two singers were surprised to see a video that instead featured Michelle and Farrah mouthing along to their parts. A lawsuit ensued, and just a few months later, after "Jumpin', Jumpin'" was released under similar conditions, Farrah hit the road. That, my friends, is when Destiny's Child became the best Destiny's Child they could be. Regardless of who's on this track, though, it's a classic.
  • 2
    "Independent Women (Part 1)"
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 1
    Album: "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack (later featured on "Survivor")
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    The smash that bridged "The Writing's on the Wall" and "Survivor," "Independent Women" is a sizzling empowerment anthem. Don't let the fact that it's sung by ladies for whom securing sizable finances is rather easy distract from its message. It's the first in a triptych of Beyonce-Kelly-Michelle smashes that encourage women to stand on their own ("Survivor" and "Bootylicious" being the other two). "Independent Women" spent 11 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard chart, making it the group's longest-running No. 1 hit. It also gave us "Independent Women (Part 2)," which is kinetic R&B at its hippest.
  • 1
    "Bootylicious" (2001)
    YouTube
    Billboard peak: No. 1
    Album: "Survivor"
    Who was in the video? Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle

    When a song spawns a new entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, it's hard to say another track by that artist is more influential. In this case, there also isn't another Destiny's Child hit that will remain more of an all-time masterstroke. From the "Edge of Seventeen" riff that opens the track to the video's Michael Jackson sendups, Destiny's Child appropriated their idols' work in a way that still felt entirely fresh. It was their final No. 1 hit, and to date it's the most recent girl-group song to top the charts. Does that mean we can point to Destiny's Child as pop's last great female ensemble? Yes, but we're too busy scatting some "Bootylicious" jazz to contemplate it.

And some can't-miss songs that weren't singles:
  • "Show Me the Way" ("Destiny's Child")
  • "So Good" ("The Writing's on the Wall")
  • "Temptation" ("The Writing's on the Wall")
  • "Apple Pie à la Mode" ("Survivor")
  • "Sexy Daddy" ("Survivor")
  • "8 Days of Christmas" ("8 Days of Christmas")
  • "Do You Hear What I Hear?" ("8 Days of Christmas")
  • "Is She the Reason" ("Destiny Fulfilled")
  • "Through with Love" ("Destiny Fulfilled")

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