Beyoncé is back with 'Act II: Cowboy Carter' - and her longest tracklist yet

Beyoncé is back with 'Act II: Cowboy Carter'
Beyoncé is back with 'Act II: Cowboy Carter' Copyright Parkwood/Columbia/Sony via AP
By David Mouriquand
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Queen B's 8th album drops tomorrow - and we now know the tracklist. Here's everything you need to know.



Saddle up, cowboys and cowgirls...

Dust off your Stetsons...

*Insert country cliché of choice here*

Beyoncé is back tomorrow with her new album, ‘Act II: Cowboy Carter’, which will see Queen Bey paying homage to her Texan roots and embracing the country music style for another artistic reinvention of sorts, following her 2022 album ‘ Renaissance ’ - which leaned heavily on club and dance music.

The celebrated singer previously revealed that this was all a part of a three-part project – hence the “Act II” part of the title.

Prior to tomorrow’s album drop, Bey’s devoted fanbase - known as “The Hive” - got a sneak peek on Bey’s Instagram account, when she shared an image that appears to include the titles of her songs. From the previously released groovy but heavy-handed 'Texas Hold ‘Em' and country-rock '16 Carriages', now including the likes of 'American Requiem', 'Blackbird', 'Alligator Tears', 'Smoke Hour ll', 'Levi’s Jeans', 'Ya Ya', 'Oh Louisiana', 'Desert Eagle', 'Riverdance', 'Sweet Honey Buckin', and 'Amen'.

As you can tell by the titles, the country clichés are coming fast and heavy. As for the graphics on the post, the red, white, and blue-colored graphics and text vignettes echoing old-school ads honours Americana aesthetic. 

One song appears to be called 'The Linda Martell Show', a reference to the groundbreaking country performer who became the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry. There's also mention of 'Dolly P' - a reference to country icon Dolly Parton - and a track titled 'Jolene', a reference to one of Parton's best-known songs.

Hardly surprising, as earlier this month, in an interview with Knox News celebrating the seasonal opening of her amusement park Dollywood, Parton said she thinks Beyoncé has recorded a cover of her 1973 hit.

“Well, I think she has,” she said. “I think she’s recorded ‘Jolene’ and I think it’s probably gonna be on her country album, which I’m very excited about.”

As if that wasn’t enough to buck your bronco (no idea what I’m saying here, I’m going with the lickety split flow), the tracklist also mentions 'Smoke Hour Willie Nelson' - another reference to an American country mainstay - but it is not immediately clear if Nelson is involved with the project.

Fans will have to wait until tomorrow to see the final lineup – but if this is the complete set, the album will be Beyoncé’s longest by far, with a total of 27 tracks.

BeyoncéAndrew Harnik/AP

Regarding the genre evolution towards country for this album, Beyoncé explained that she was inspired to dig into the genre after an incident where she did not feel “welcomed.”

She was likely referring to her 2016 performance at the Country Music Association Awards, where she duetted with the Dixie Chicks (now known as the Chicks).

The appearance caused controversy in the country community – for the dispiriting reasons you can imagine.

Beyoncé explained on Instagram that this incident inspired her to study the origins of country music.

“It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed… and it was very clear that I wasn’t,” she said. “But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive.”


"Act ii is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work.”

She concluded by saying: “I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect”, before reassuring some of her fans with: "This ain't a Country album. This is a "Beyoncé" album."

Whatever it may be, there’s no denying that Beyoncé is off to a flying start, as the track 'Texas Hold 'Em' catapulted to the top of Billboard's country music chart, despite some US country radio stations initially refusing to play the track. This made the artist the first Black woman to score a No. 1 country hit

And for all the hackneyed phrases and references in the tracklist, I'm looking forward to hearing what Bey has in store with her eighth studio album, as the first two singles are catchy as hell – even if I'm a bit dubious about the lyrics at times.

A hog-killin’ time or will we be chewing gravell? Not long now to find out.


And what will be the third installment of the “Renaissance” trifecta? 

I’m secretly hoping for a punk rock opus - with Bey continuing the riding-a-horse artwork seen on both 'Renaissance' and 'Cowboy Carter', but this time the animal can be decked out with ripped tartan and safety pins. 

'Act III: Bey's Filth and Fury'? A boy can dream.

'Act II: Cowboy Carter' drops tomorrow (March 29) at midnight.

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