Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, born in 1981 and known simply as Beyoncé, is one of the most successful musicians of all time. She was Billboard’s top female artist of the decade in the 2000s, has run multiple 8-figure tours, and inspires such devotion among her listeners that she inspired a TV series on the topic of obsessive fandom.

Not everyone saw it coming. Here’s a quote from the New York Times review of her first album, entitled The Solo Beyoncé: She’s No Ashanti:

Maybe this album is merely a misstep … Or maybe it’s proof that she isn’t quite as versatile as she seemed.

The Guardian, reviewing the same album, said “there is barely a track here with any distinctive identity or even a tune.”

20 years later, the majority of critics had changed their minds. Beyoncé released 2022’s Renaissance to considerable acclaim. But the holdouts remain—depending on whom you ask, the album is either “a master class” or “a massive PR campaign.”