"Best Thing I Never Had" is a song recorded by the American singer Beyoncé Knowles for her fourth studio album, 4 (2011). It was released by Columbia Records on June 1, 2011, as the second single from the album. "Best Thing I Never Had" was composed by Patrick "J. Que" Smith, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Symbolyc One, Caleb McCambpell, Antonio Dixon, Knowles, and Shea Taylor. Recorded and produced at MSR Studio and KMA Studio in New York City, the song was originally not written as a ballad, but was inspired by the drumming on Doug E. Fresh's 1985 single "The Show". Knowles said that anyone, regardless of gender, should be able to relate to the song.
A pop-R&B song, the subjects of "Best Thing I Never Had" are revenge and karma. Not wanting to feel broken-hearted, the female protagonist sings that she feels happy to have left her lover, who did not recognize the potential for a happy life with her. The song was generally well received by contemporary music critics, who viewed it as a sequel to Knowles' 2006 single "Irreplaceable"—the two songs are thematically similar. They praised Knowles' vocal delivery as well as the openness of the song's message; "Best Thing I Never Had" was deemed to have strong radio appeal. However, some lyrics, including "showed your ass" and "Sucks to be you right now", were criticized. The ballad was also likened to Vanessa Carlton's 2002 single "A Thousand Miles" (2002).
"Best Thing I Never Had" peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and at number four on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It rose to number three on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the Irish Singles Chart among others. The song reached number one on the South Korea Gaon International Chart, the UK R&B Chart, and the US Hot Dance Club Play chart, and the top 30 in mainland Europe, Oceania, and Canada. It was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).
The accompanying music video for "Best Thing I Never Had" was directed by Diane Martel. It shows Knowles getting ready for her wedding while she recalls her ex-lover, who never gave her the attention she deserved. Critics generally wrote that Knowles looked stunning in the bridal suite, and commended her ability to sing directly to the camera when telling the subject of the song that she was the best lover he ever had. "Best Thing I Never Had" was promoted with several live performances by Knowles, notably at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival and on the televised show The View. The song was also included on the set list for her concert 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé and other shows. File Hashes