The Destiny’s Child Albums Ranked
It’s hard to believe Beyoncé was once the one assuring everyone that Destiny’s Child wasn’t done for good when they broke up in 2006, since she’s now the one with the least to gain from reforming the group. Sure, they’ve made a few mini-reunions here and there, most notably with a new song in 2013 and appearances together during a Super Bowl Halftime Show and Coachella. But I have a feeling there isn’t a new Destiny’s Child album coming anytime soon, which is too bad. In spite of critics’ generally lukewarm reaction to the girl group, and divorced from their huge success, I like Destiny’s Child alright. While often centered as the catapult for Beyoncé’s astronomical critical and commercial success, the group and its producers churned out stuff that fit into the mold of anything great coming out of pop music in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Whether it was the initial line up of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, and LeToya Luckett, or the second one where the latter two were swapped out for Michelle Williams, Destiny’s Child made four decent albums. As usual, I’m ignoring any and all Christmas albums for this list, so 8 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (2001) is not counted, nor is the compilation album gathering recordings from the band’s early days as Girls Tyme, DESTINY’S CHILD: THE UNTOLD STORY PRESENTS GIRLS TYME (2019), although the latter actually isn’t devoid of catchy tunes. Let’s talk Destiny’s Child!
#4 — SURVIVOR (2001)
Favorite track: “Dangerously in Love”
Perhaps better known as the title track of Beyoncé’s debut album (2003), “Dangerously in Love” is far and away SURVIVOR’s best song. And SURVIVOR is clearly Destiny’s Child’s worst album. It’s not a bad pop record, but almost none of its songs (besides the one already mentioned) hit the highs of the rest of the group’s discography. While pop albums are often engineered to serve as vessels for singles, I will say that the Destiny’s Child records generally flow pretty well. That’s not really the case with SURVIVOR, which feels a bit more disjointed while also not delivering on those bite-sized bangers. These are kind of nitpicky comments, however; the vibe is just different on SURVIVOR, so this is the closest thing I can attribute my general standoffishness to.
#3 — DESTINY’S CHILD (1998)
Favorite track: “Bridges”
Destiny’s Child’s self-titled debut definitely feels simpler than its successors, relative to however more “complex” the group’s pretty straightforward and simple R&B pop got. Sure, they sound like they’re pulling a TLC and “Waterfalls” with “Bridges,” but the track is great. The bass line! It, along with both “No, No, No” parts (the second of which bizarrely comes first), “Illusion,” and “Birthday” make DESTINY’S CHILD really enjoyable, and those songs are supplemented by some mild body-movers. It’s a really solid debut.
#2 — DESTINY FULFILLED (2004)
Favorite track: “T-Shirt”
Destiny’s Child’s fourth and final album, DESTINY FULFILLED, was sold as a sort of concept album that told a complete story of love and loss across the group’s three voices and 11 tracks. While it doesn’t exactly feel like a LEMONADE (2016) in terms of ambition or total cohesion, DESTINY FULFILLED does ultimately stand as the group’s most full-fledged attempt at making a full album, not just a collection of singles. While its generally slow or mid-tempo focus means there aren’t as many straight bops as on even the self-titled record, DESTINY FULFILLED is just a smooth listen all the way through. And of course, it has its share of standout tracks, like “T-Shirt,” “Girl,” and “Free.” Obviously, it’s nearly Destiny’s Child’s best. It’s impressive as a more immersive experience than their other releases, but it’s hard to deny the weight of…
#1 — THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL (1999)
Favorite track: “Say My Name”
…THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL. The group’s sophomore effort was ultimately their best, beating the slump. The record just simply has the greatest number of all-time great Destiny’s Child songs. “Say My Name” is groovy, “Bills, Bills, Bills” is iconic, and I have a soft spot in my heart for “So Good.” THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL is just a fully fun experience, not quite as “deep” as DESTINY FULFILLED, but at the end of the day, the Destiny’s Child album to put on if you want to get your ’90s R&B pop fix. It’s an uplifting little piece of entertainment. Destiny’s Child was never the greatest group of its era’s kind, but there is no denying they created some earworms. THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL is the clearest example of that.