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Cowboy Carter: Everything We Know About Beyoncé’s Next Album

James Devaney

After Beyoncé released Renaissance and revealed that it was the first of a “three-act project,” fans wondered what direction she might go next. And Cowboy Carter is almost here.

Renaissance was dance and house influenced, and the cover depicted the singer atop a space-age horse. Well, the horse is sticking around, but the rest is changing for album two. Cowboy Carter is more Americana and country, and after the releases of singles “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages,” it seems like she's got the genre down pat. Here's everything we know about the album:

So it’s a country album?

Kinda. Perhaps to preempt criticism from country diehards, or maybe just to avoid being held to arbitrary genre expectations, the mom of three said in a statement on March 19, “This ain’t a country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album. This is act ii COWBOY CARTER, and I am proud to share it with y’all!”

In fact, the album comes from a specific experience that has to do with country music but is also a particularly Beyoncé moment. “This album has been over five years in the making. 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. But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of country music and studied our rich musical archive,” she wrote in the statement. Consensus is that she is referring to the mixed reception she received after performing “Daddy Lessons” alongside controversial band The Chicks at the Country Music Awards in 2016. The country committee at the Grammys also rejected the song from consideration that year, so she may be referring to the experience of being rejected by the country community at large.

Now that “Texas Hold ’Em” has topped the country charts, we might be looking at a slightly more open-minded community. As Beyoncé wrote, “I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. That would not have happened without the outpouring of support from each and every one of you. My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”

“The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me. 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 added.

Is there a track list?

As of March 27, there is! Just two days before the album drops, Beyoncé shared the full track list for Cowboy Carter on Instagram, with already released singles “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages” popping up as tracks three and seven, respectively.

There appear to be a whopping 27 titles on the track announcement, which is drawn up to look like an old-school tour poster, complete with the tagline “Brought to you by KNTRY Radio Texas” stamped at the bottom.

Fans are already freaking out over a collaboration with Willie Nelson, titled “Smoke Hour.” “Dolly P” also appears on the poster, which sounds like a song title, but could also just be a reference to a Beyoncé x Dolly Parton collaboration. “Dolly P” is followed by “Jolene,” one of Parton's most famous songs, so perhaps Bey worked with the country icon on a cover?

Parton previously teased that she'd cleared the rights with Bey's team. In an interview with Tennessee publication Knox News earlier this month, 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 that.”

“We've kind of sent messages back and forth through the years,” Parton continued. “And she and her mother were like fans, and I was always touched that they were fans, and I always thought she was great.”

Parton also shared her support for Beyoncé when “Texas Hold ’Em” took the number one spot on the country charts, writing on Instagram, “I’m a big fan of Beyoncé and very excited she's done a country album.”

And before that, back in 2020, Parton had floated that Beyoncé cover “Jolene” in an interview with The Big Issue. “I’ve always hoped somebody might do someday, someone like Beyoncé,” said said, per Rolling Stone. So what we're really saying is, Dolly Parton totally manifested this crossover event.

Also making a splash among the Beyhive are songs “Blackbird” and “The Linda Martell Show,” which fans speculate either feature samples of the Beatles (who released “Blackbird” in 1968) or Linda Martell's vocals.

Here's the Cowboy Carter track list in full:

  1. American Requiem

  2. Blackbird

  3. 16 Carriages

  4. Protector

  5. My Rose

  6. Smoke Hour (Willie Nelson)

  7. Texas Hold ’Em

  8. Bodyguard

  9. Dolly P

  10. Jolene

  11. Daughter

  12. Spaghetti

  13. Alligator Tears

  14. Smoke Hour II

  15. Just for Fun

  16. II Most Wanted

  17. Levii's Jeans

  18. Flamenco

  19. The Linda Martell Show

  20. Ya Ya

  21. Oh Louisiana

  22. Desert Eagle

  23. Riverdance

  24. II Hands II Heaven

  25. Tyrant

  26. Sweet Honey Bucklin'

  27. Amen

Who is featured on Cowboy Carter?

We haven't gotten any names yet, but Bey did hint at collabs to come: “I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect.”

What is a Beyincé?

On March 20, Beyoncé revealed an alternate cover for a limited-edition vinyl release of the album. In the picture, Bey wears her hair in beaded braids and is naked except for a sash reading “act ii BEYINCÉ.” No, that's not a typo.

So who is Beyincé? It's a long story.

In a 2020 interview, Beyoncé's mother, Tina, explained that “Beyoncé” is actually her maiden name.

“My name was Celestine Beyoncé, which at that time was not a cool thing to have that weird name. I wanted my name to be Linda Smith because those were the cool names,” she said. However, on Tina's brother's birth certificate, the family's surname is spelled “Beyincé.” In fact, out of seven spellings, only Tina and another of her brothers had the correct spelling on their birth certificates.

When Tina asked her mother why she hadn't had their certificates corrected, her mother told her she had tried, but was told no. According to Tina, her mother was told that they were “lucky” to even have birth certificates at all.

“So we all have different spellings,” she continued. “People don't even put the two together and know that's the same name.” The family's atypical and European-sounding last name was a source of awkwardness when Tina was growing up, but now Bey reclaims and wears both spellings with pride!

TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS HORSE!

Okay, stop yelling! Parkwood Entertainment exec Justina Omokhua revealed that the animal is named Chardonneigh.

This is of a piece with the first mirror ball-covered horse's name, which was Reneigh.

When does Cowboy Carter drop?

March 29!

This article will be updated.


Originally Appeared on Glamour