Album: Lemonade (2016)
Producer: Wynter Gordon, Beyoncé, Melo-X

Only Beyoncé could pen a breakup song and produce an earth-shaking ripple effect, the kind that inspires public discourse both in its personal mystery (Is divorce on the horizon for Queen B? Did hubby Jay Z act unfaithfully with an infamous-yet-anonymous ‘Becky with the good hair?’) and in its structure, an asymmetrical genre-defying, politically-defiant anthem. It’s a radical, crucial move for a woman to refute expectation, to refuse to apologize when they aren’t in the wrong but have been wronged—Bey immortalized the protest in “Sorry.” She spends the entire hook repeating with almost militaristic cadence, “Sorry, I ain’t sorry,” reminding all its listeners that there’s no reason to play victim. The best revenge, here, is a middle finger in the air. —Maria Sherman