Journey Through Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’: All 27 Tracks Ranked

It’s time to swap out your silver and chrome attire for chaps, lassos, and rustic cowboy hats as Beyoncé revealed her highly awaited Cowboy Carter album to the world on Friday (March 29).

Drawing inspiration from a past experience where she felt unwelcome, Beyoncé’s latest release pays homage to the diverse regional and musical subcultures of the American South.

From her fierce rendition of Dolly Parton’s timeless hit “Jolene” to astonishing blends of country and house beats in tracks like “Riiverdance,” Cowboy Carter showcases Beyoncé’s unparalleled experimentation and fearlessness in her musical evolution.

While Beyoncé’s journey to Cowboy Carter traces back to her upbringing in Houston, TX, and gained momentum during the 2016 CMA Awards, the Grammy winner officially launched the album campaign during the 2024 Super Bowl.

The dual release of “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em” marked the beginning, with the former offering a glimpse into the LP’s reflective moments, while the latter made immediate waves in Billboard’s history.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” not only made Beyoncé the first Black woman to lead Hot Country Songs but also to crown a country song atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Additionally, Black women in country, including Reyna Roberts, Linda Martell, and Tanner Adell, experienced streaming surges thanks to “Texas.”

Martell and Adell are featured on Cowboy Carter, joining a stellar lineup of collaborators such as Miley Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Post Malone, Shaboozey, Willie Jones, The-Dream, Raphael Saadiq, Pharrell Williams, and more.

Positioned as both the official sequel to and a “continuation of” her Grammy-winning Renaissance album, Cowboy Carter reaffirms Beyoncé’s status as one of the greatest artists of all time, adding to her decade-long legacy of groundbreaking projects.

From the stirring “II Hands II Heaven” to the transformative “Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin,” here’s the ranking of all 27 tracks on Cowboy Carter:

27. Oh Lousiana 

A sped-up rendition of Chuck Berry’s 1971 hit, Oh Lousina, not only honors Berry’s legacy but also celebrates the roots of Beyoncé’s mother’s family.

In a nod to Texas-sized legends, Queen Bey, two decades after gracing the cover of Texas Monthly in a Willie Nelson t-shirt, enlists the country icon to introduce Texas Hold ‘Em.

Before Willie takes the mic, the song traverses various radio channels, featuring snippets of Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Down by the River Side,” Chuck Berry‘s “Maybellene,” and Roy Hamilton‘s “Don’t Let Go.”

These references to blues and rock influences set the stage for Cowboy Carter as an exploration of Black Southern American music beyond country.

Once Willie makes his entrance—and after he gives a shoutout to the grounding concept of the album, KNTRY Radio, a play on KNTY News from the Renaissance era—he encourages listeners to roll one and buckle up for the ride.

“And if you don’t wanna go, he adds, “go find yourself a jukebox!”

In true Beyoncé fashion, the placement of this interlude is meticulously deliberate. What better way to introduce her historic country song, “Texas Hold ‘Em,” than with a co-sign from arguably the most iconic country musician of all time?

25. Dolly P

Another interlude, another union of music legends. “Dolly P” features Ms. Dolly Parton introducing the next track on Cowboy Carter, a thrilling rendition of her seminal hit, “Jolene.”

“Hey miss Honey B, it’s Dolly P,” Parton begins. “You know that hussy with the good hair you sing about Reminded me of someone I knew back when, except she has flamin’ locks of auburn hair. Bless her heart. Just a hair of a different color but it hurts just the same!”

Referencing 2009’s “Telephone,” with its Western-themed music video, and 2016’s “Sorry,” Dolly Parton seamlessly aligns with Beyoncé’s recent penchant for self-reference.

Beyond being a co-sign from a country music legend, Parton’s appearance here acknowledges how her songwriting has influenced women across genres, including Beyoncé herself.

Parton highlights the connection between the soul-baring writing on Beyoncé’s Lemonade album and her own vulnerable songs.

”Sometimes you don’t know what you like until someone you trust turns you on to some real good s–t. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m here.” Well said, Willie Nelson. Well said.

Continuing the tradition of country icons introducing each chapter of the album, Linda Martell, the first commercially successful Black woman in country music, emerges to introduce the next sequence of tracks on Cowboy Carter.

“This particular tune stretches across a range of genres,” she teases. “And that’s what makes it a unique listening experience.”

22. My Rose

This album’s first interlude, reminiscent of its predecessor “Protector,” feels like a spiritual extension. “So many roses but none to be picked without thorns/ So be fond of your flaws, dear,” she sings over a swaying melody infused with echoes of música Mexicana.

It offers a brief respite before Cowboy Carter shifts from its introspective tone to more light-hearted territory, yet remains undeniably beautiful.

Beyoncé, who has honed her craft of vocal arrangement since her teenage years, showcases transformative harmonic work across Cowboy Carter, particularly in My Rose.

Beyoncé’s signature sing-rapping style, present since 1997, naturally finds its place on Cowboy Carter. In a bold collaboration with country star Shaboozey, Beyoncé showcases one of her most intricate rap verses yet, diverging from the album’s earlier emphasis on stunning vocal performances.

Before diving into the rap, country legend Linda Martell delivers the album’s thesis statement. “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they? Yes, they are,” she reflects. “In theory, they have a simple definition that’s easy to understand. But in practice, well, some may feel confined.”

Martell’s words emphasize Beyoncé’s unique status as her own genre, reinforcing the message from Bey’s Instagram post.

Moments after blending country and opera on “Daughter,” Beyoncé swiftly transitions into a rollicking country-rap hybrid.

“Y’all been played by the plagiaristic, ain’t gonna give no clout addiction my attention,” she asserts. “I ain’t no regular singer, now come get everythin’ you came for.”

Shaboozey’s verse further enhances the song’s outlaw country ethos, positioning both artists as contemporary outlaws within the country music scene.

20. Desert Eagle

Returning to her sultry bop style with a bass-heavy track reminiscent of Renaissance’s “Plastic Off the Sofa” / “Virgo’s Groove” double-header, “Desert Eagle” sees Beyoncé revisiting her “Partition” days, getting steamy in the backseat. “Put on a show and make it nasty/ Desert Eagle in the backseat/ Everything bigger in Texas/ Big body, buss it open, feed you breakfast,” she croons.

While it’s a familiar territory for Beyoncé, she undeniably nails this sound once again.

19. Alliigator Tears

Returning to the reflective analog arrangements of earlier tracks on the album, Beyoncé delves into the drama of being judged by an ever-shifting goalpost with “Alligator Tears.”

In the chorus, she sings, “You say move a mountain/ And I’ll throw on my boots/ You say stop the river from runnin’/ I’ll build a dam or two/ You say change religions/ Now I spend Sundays with you/ Somethin’ ’bout those tears of yours/ How does it feel to be adored?”

In this track, Beyoncé incorporates her falsetto more frequently, heightening the sense of vulnerability and adding nuanced layers to a song seemingly directed at her detractors.

Texas Hold ‘Em remains a beloved standout on Cowboy Carter, retaining its charm and relevance within the album’s full context.

Its historic achievements extend beyond the Billboard charts, as evidenced by Rhiannon Giddens’ plucky banjo and the line dance-ready melody.

Beyoncé effortlessly details playful lines that could easily veer into corniness, showcasing her expert manipulation of timbre.

The whistles and background “hey”s, reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, are elevated by Beyoncé’s trademark swag throughout the track.

While there may be stronger songs on Cowboy Carter, Texas Hold ‘Em undeniably remains a bop.

17. Tyrant

If it wasn’t clear before, Cowboy Carter is a character just like the Mother of the House of Chome/Renaissance — and she’s a Tyrant.

“Every time I ride it, every time I ride it/ I don’t like to sit up in the saddle, boy, I got it/ Just relax, I got this, I got that exotic/ Hips are so hypnotic, I am such a tyrant,” she sing-raps over a sexy, fiddle-laden trap beat courtesy of D.A. Got That Dope. The spiritual successor to “Thique,” “Tyrant” a thrilling addition to Bey’s catalog of sex jams.

In a way, Tyrant is reminiscent of- America Has A Problem; if Beyoncé’s booty was America’s problem on that Renaissance track, then her riding skills are the whole town’s problem on Tyrant.

16. Blackbiird (With Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy & Reyna Roberts)

The same day Beyoncé launched her Cowboy Carter era, rising country star Tanner Adell posted on X, writing,

“As one of the only black girls in [the] country music scene, I hope Bey decides to sprinkle me with a dash of her magic for a collab.”

That hope is now a reality.

On “Blackbiird,” a gorgeous reimagining of The Beatles classic, Beyoncé croons alongside four rising Black women country stars: Adell, Reyna Roberts, Tiera Kennedy and Brittney Spencer. This particular union of artists is especially poignant, given the impetus for the Paul McCartney-penned classic. In Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, the Beatle explains,

“I had in mind a black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about, so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: “Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith; there is hope.”

Applied to the context of black women fighting to take up space in the contemporary country music scene, the elegant harmonies in Tyrant carry both a sense of mourning and defiant forward-facing energy.

Beyoncé’s tone serves as the anchor, with the texture of her voice exuding warmth through its depth, unlike the darkness explored in “Ameriican Requiem.”

Additionally, there’s an endearing moment of baton-passing where Beyoncé allows Adell, also known as “Beyoncé with a lasso,” to take the lead on the final verse.

Despite its brevity, “Flamenco” remains remarkably captivating, with Beyoncé delivering yet another outstanding vocal performance.

A love song grappling with the inherent mortality of life, “Flamenco” offers a somewhat melancholic take on flamenco, adorned with some of Beyoncé’s most breathtaking runs and riffs.

Adding to the Willie Nelson appearances, country star Willie Jones joins Beyoncé on- Just for Fun, a lyrically existentialist ballad characterized by chugging, relatively sparse production.

The track brings the album back to its initial theme of introspection, featuring lyrics that delve into the anxieties intertwined with fame and recognition.

“Here’s to hoping I’ll fall fast asleep tonight/ And I’ll just need to get through this/ Born in the darkness, who brings the light?/ And I just, I need to get through this,” they sing over an arrangement coursing with the rootsy power of gospel music.

Although the song may not align with its title, it stands out as one of the most stunning vocal moments on the album.

The collaboration between Beyoncé and Willie Jones is so compelling that it leaves listeners yearning for future collaborations.

Released alongside Texas Hold ‘Em to launch the Cowboy Carter campaign, “16 Carriages” serves as a representative of the album’s more plaintive moments.

Written by INK and Beyoncé and co-produced by Raphael Saadiq and Dave Hamelin, 16 Carriages channels the reflective, autobiographical songwriting of artists like Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman.

In the pre-chorus, Beyoncé sings, “It’s been thirty-eight summers, and I’m not in my bed/ On the back of the bus in a bunk with the band/ Goin’ so hard, now I miss my kids/ Overworked and overwhelmed,” capturing the challenges of balancing career demands with personal life.

With a vocal performance that balances innate perseverance with an unflinching examination of the unique traumas of growing up in show business, 16 Carriages remains a standout on Cowboy Carter, despite the album’s many other standout tracks.

A common theme in country music songwriting is the dynamic between a parent and child, which has also been a grounding theme in much of Beyoncé’s output since her 2013 eponymous surprise album.

In Protector, Beyoncé reflects tenderly on the relationship between herself and her youngest daughter, Rumi, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Blue Ivy.

The song explores the delicate balance between the innate desire to protect one’s children and the recognition of when it’s time to support them as they prepare to venture out on their own.

Lyrically and thematically, Protector echoes themes from The Lion King: The Gift, as Beyoncé passionately sings of legacy, “I first saw your face in your father’s gaze/ There’s a long line of hands carryin’ your name, mm/ Liftin’ you up, so you will be raised.”

Backed by little more than an acoustic guitar, Beyoncé’s pristine voice shines against the uncluttered production.

Her soulful approach to country music is laid bare in her perfectly understated vocal performance, making Protector a poignant song that resonates with parents, both new and old.

11. Amen

Who opens an album with a quasi-mini-rock opera and closes it with a hymnal? Beyoncé, of course.

On Amen, Cowboy Carter’s spirited closer, Beyoncé circles back to the cinematic grandiosity of the opener, “Ameriican Requiem,” both sonically and thematically.

While initially unclear how Cowboy Carter fits into the same musical universe as Renaissance, by the time Amen rolls around, it becomes evident that the two albums work in tandem.

Before Beyoncé can sing of her “un-American” life and forge a new world of glitter and chrome for herself on Renaissance, she must first dismantle her previous understanding of the country and address the need for change.

“This house was built with blood and bone/ And it crumbled, yes, it crumbled,” she sings. “The statues they made were beautiful/ But they were lies of stone.”

Amen concludes with an echo of the final verse of “Ameriican Requiem,” solidifying Cowboy Carter as not only a musical journey through the expanse of the Black Deep South but also a reflection on the relationship between Americana and Black culture in the pursuit of a brighter, more inclusive future.

“Say a prayer for what has been/ We’ll be the ones to purify our Fathers’ sins,” she croons. “American Requiem / Them old ideas are buried here/ Amen.”

10. Jolene

Beyoncé’s reinterpretation of Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene” is indeed a bold and transformative take on the iconic song.

With her fierce delivery and tongue-in-cheek attitude, Beyoncé injects new life into the lyrics, infusing them with a sense of empowerment and defiance.

The incorporation of an all-male choir adds an intriguing dynamic to the song, underscoring Beyoncé’s message of loyalty and solidarity.

Overall, Beyoncé’s version of Jolene stands out as a testament to her artistic prowess and ability to make a beloved song her own.

9. Bodyguard

Bodyguard showcases Beyoncé’s versatility as she seamlessly transitions from country to the breezy melodies of West Coast surf rock.

The sultry midtempo vibe of the song, combined with Beyoncé’s emotive vocals, creates a hidden third act reminiscent of her previous hits like “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “Part II (On the Run).”

With nods to her past work and references to Whitney Houston’s film and soundtrack, the song adds layers of depth to Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album, making it both a Western epic and a potential radio smash.

Levii’s Jeans brings together Beyoncé and Post Malone in a surprising collaboration that oozes seductiveness and playfulness.

Beyoncé’s sultry vocals combined with Post Malone’s surprisingly sexy tone create a captivating chemistry that elevates the track to potential radio smash status.

With its catchy melody and timeless feel, Levii’s Jeans stands out as one of the best tracks on Cowboy Carter. Post Malone’s recent collaborations with pop icons like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift showcase his versatility and growing influence in the music industry.

7. Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin (With Shaboozey)

“Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin” serves as the spiritual title track of Cowboy Carter, blending country and house music into an innovative and daring hybrid. Beyoncé’s interpolation of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” sets the stage for a track that charts a path for the future of country music by infusing it with elements of club music.

The song captures the essence of a Black rodeo queen from Houston, TX, reflecting Beyoncé’s roots and musical experimentation throughout the album.

“Jiffy cornbread, booty corn-fed/ Body rolls at the rodeo/ I’m coming home,” she sings, nodding to 2019’s seminal Homecoming, while also hammering home the album’s overarching theme of preserving, respecting and adding to her family’s legacy.

After spending much of her career exploring nearly every facet of popular music and media, Beyoncé is coming home to herself on Cowboy Carter.

6. Ameriican Requiem

In Ameriican Requiem, Beyoncé kicks off Cowboy Carter with a grandiose spectacle reminiscent of “Beyoncé’s Rhapsody,” blending ’70s rock motifs akin to Queen and Sly & the Family Stone.

The song’s lyrics reflect on the concept of change while addressing Beyoncé’s personal journey and the challenges she’s faced in the music industry.

With fearless vocals and ambitious arrangements, Ameriican Requiem sets the stage for an epic musical journey, showcasing Beyoncé’s cinematic grandiosity at its finest.

5. II Hands II Heaven

In II Hands II Heaven, Beyoncé skillfully blends the sacred and secular, likening the mundane to the divine.

With lyrics evoking the power of the Holy Ghost alongside references to whiskey and nightlife, Beyoncé creates a dynamic juxtaposition.

The song’s structure and sonic elements draw from both the Cowboy Carter universe and Beyoncé’s previous work, particularly “My House” from Renaissance.

As Beyoncé sings about waiting for someone, the ambiguity leaves room for interpretation, whether it’s her husband, God, or a transformed version of herself. II Hands II Heaven stands out as a quintessentially “Beyoncé” track on the album, showcasing her versatility and depth.

Riiverdance marks the point in Cowboy Carter where Beyoncé starts to transition into the world of Renaissance.

By blending square dance elements with the bass-heavy foundation of her previous album, Beyoncé creates a unique country-dance fusion that breaks new ground in both genres.

The repetitive refrain and cyclical energy make it perfect for organized dances like line dancing or square dancing, embodying the freedom of creativity without genre constraints that Linda Martell spoke about.

Riiverdance is a testament to Beyoncé’s ability to push boundaries and innovate within her music.

The two Columbia Records powerhouses join forces on this soaring ballad that finds the duo going full Thelma & Louise. What reads as somewhat unlikely collaboration on paper works seamlessly in practice; their smoky tones pair beautifully together, with their gravelly drawls making for a terrific blend.

“I’ll be your shotgun rider ’til the day I die/ Smoke out the window flyin’ down the 405/ Yeah, I’ll be your backseat baby, drivin’ you crazy/ Anytime you like,” they belt in the chorus.

II Most Wanted showcases both vocalists operating at the peak of their powers, delivering every choice with precision and emotion.

From subtle register flips to soaring notes, every vocal moment is a home run. The song universalizes Western tropes while imbuing them with emotional gravitas, elevating the stakes and creating a smash hit.

2. Daughter

Daughter stands out as one of the most stunning songs in Beyoncé’s catalog, blending haunting melodies with elements of country murder ballads.

Incorporating opera, including a remarkable rendition of “Caro Mio Ben” in Italian, Beyoncé details between reality and fantasy, framed by the advice from her father mentioned in “Daddy Lessons.”

The result is an amazing and eerie track that leaves a lasting impression.

Absolutely, Daughter encapsulates the essence of a dark and amazing opera within the broader narrative of Cowboy Carter.

Its macabre themes and haunting melodies add depth and allure to the album’s overarching storyline, contributing to its status as a modern Western epic.

1. Ya Ya

Ya Ya sounds like a vibrant fusion of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” and the dynamic energy of Tina Turner.

It’s a standout track on Cowboy Carter, blending iconic samples and influences to create a unique and exhilarating musical experience.

Ya Ya is a groundbreaking blend of funk, rock ‘n’ roll drums, soul, and powerful vocal performances. It represents the pinnacle of Cowboy Carter’s artistic vision and showcases Beyoncé’s evolution since her iconic “Work It Out” in 2002.

Not only does Beyoncé demonstrate her innovative approach to sampling and interpolation, but she also pushes herself vocally to new heights.

The track captures the raw energy and dynamism of her live performances, with raspy runs and explorations of vocal range that leave a lasting impression on listeners.

Ya Ya pays homage to the incomparable Tina Turner, whose influence is palpable throughout the song.

Beyoncé’s electrifying performances of “River Deep – Mountain High” during the Renaissance World Tour inspired Ya Ya as more than just a tribute but also a heartfelt expression of gratitude for Turner’s lasting impact on music and culture.

Additionally, the track serves as an ode to the vibrant energy and spirit of the Black South, encapsulating Turner’s dynamism and the rich musical heritage of the region.