Written by: Ryan Tedder, Terius Nash and Beyoncé Knowles
Produced by: Ryan Tedder, The-Dream, Beyoncé Knowles, Hit-Boy and HazeBanga
UK release: December 2013
UK chart peak: 22
In the grand scheme of Beyoncé, XO is – usually – either at best overlooked, or at worst dunked-on. It’s probably just the basic white gay talking, but I love it, and I think it’s because of when and how I first heard it. The self-titled album (surprise-released, lest we forget!!) came out on my 24th birthday, and I have a really specific memory of sitting in EAT Bankside in London, listening to it while I waited for my boyfriend, and it being on when he got there. Since then it’s just been locked-in as One Of Those Songs, you know?
I’ve also looooong been a big Ryan Tedder fan, even though his strike rate has become a bit more slap-dash in recent years. In the late-00s and early-10s, he was one of the best pop writers in the world (Battlefield! Already Gone! Bleeding Love! Fucking loads more!) and this, for me, is one of his last great masterpieces – and it just wouldn’t be the same without Beyoncé.