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The biggest hit of Beyoncé’s career might surprise you

‘Irreplaceable’ put Beyoncé on the map

Z100 Jingle Ball 2004 - Show Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Leading up to Beyoncé second album, B’Day, many popular women artists were capitalizing on the female empowerment movement. Kelly Clarkson scored a huge hit with “Since U Been Gone” in 2005, and Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi was one of the biggest hits that same year. But Beyoncé was the queen of this ideology — by virtue of Destiny’s Child, she’d been capitalizing on this message of female independence longer than Clarkson. As for Carey, prior to Emancipation, her albums had names like Daydream, Rainbow, and Butterfly.

Beyoncé’s biggest solo hit was “Irreplaceable.” It remained at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 for 10 weeks — more than double the time her hit “Single Ladies” spent at the top spot — and charted for 30 weeks in total. While it wasn’t her best-selling record (“Single Ladies” went quadruple platinum), “Irreplaceable” was dominant and significant — it was Beyoncé out-Clarksoning Clarkson on her home turf of guitar-driven pop:

”Don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable,” she sings to the man who did her wrong in the song, but it could very well have been to the pop acts keeping her throne warm.

The other big hits of Bey’s career include “Crazy in Love,” which won Grammys for Best R&B song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration; and “Halo,” and “If I Were a Boy,” both of which went double platinum. Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé’s debut solo album, is her best-selling album, having gone quadruple platinum in the US.