LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: Beyoncé accepts the Best R&B Performance award for 'Black Parade' onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter arrived on March 29 and since has been one of the hottest topics on social media. Beyoncé’s eighth studio album, which is the second act of her Renaissance trilogy, has 27 tracks. That’s a long album. We love the whole thing, but if you’re pinched for time, what are the must-listen songs on Cowboy Carter?

What Beyoncé Has Said About The Inspiration Behind Cowboy Carter?

When Beyoncé dropped the official album cover for the album, she spoke about how Cowboy Carter came from a place of honoring her southern roots but also overcoming an unwelcoming feeling from the country music industry.

“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,” seemingly referring to the backlash she received performing with the Dixie Chicks at the Country Music Awards, which happened in 2016.

“But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive,” she added. “It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history.”

She continued: “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. I have a few surprises on the album, and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect. I hope that you can hear my heart and soul, and all the love and passion that I poured into every detail and every sound.”

“I focused on this album as a continuation of RENAISSANCE…I hope this music is an experience, creating another journey where you can close your eyes, start from the beginning, and never stop.”

Beyoncé Originally Was Going To Drop Cowboy Carter First

On the release day for Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé revealed that the country album was originally supposed to be Act I.

“This album took over five years,” Beyoncé said in a press release. “It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put Cowboy Carter out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

Take a look at eight of the must-listen tracks on Cowboy Carter:

  • Levii's Jeans - Beyoncé ft. Post Malone

    “Levii’s Jeans” is reminiscent of summer love as Post Malone and Beyoncé trade lyrics complimenting their partners on how they look in the classic blue denim. The song comes in at track 17 on Cowboy Carter. This is Beyoncè’s first full-length country album; Posty is mostly known as a rapper, but he has also shown interest in breaking into the genre. He teased a country album is “coming soon” at Apex Legends back in November 2023 per Us Weekly. “I keep singing a song that we made while I was in Nashville, and it’s so f—–’ sick, but it’s not out. We made such sick music down in Nashville.” He also performed at the 2023 Country Music Association Awards, where he was joined by Morgan Wallen and HARDY to cover the late Joe Diffie‘s “Pickup Man.” He earned his first country placement with the cover after it peaked at No. 34 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

  • II Most Wanted - Beyoncé ft. Miley Cyrus

    If you’re looking for a more emotional Bonnie and Clyde-type song, “II Most Wanted” is your record on Cowboy Carter. “I’ll be your backseat baby, drivin’ you crazy/Anytime you like/Woah, I’ll be your shotgun rider/’Til the day I, ’til the day I die,” Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus sing on the chorus. While the song is talking about a romantic love, the song can definitely apply to nonromantic relationships. Cyrus shared how much it meant for her to work with Beyoncé on the project after many years of admiring her work. “I’ve loved Beyoncé since long before I had the opportunity to meet & work with her,” Cyrus wrote on Instagram with a photo of the cover art for Cowboy Carter. “My admiration runs so much deeper now that I’ve created along side of her. Thank you Beyoncé. You’re everything & more. Love you. To everyone who spent time making this song so special thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

  • Yaya - Beyoncé

    This record is very Tina Turner-coded, and knowing Beyoncé, that was her intention. The song samples Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,”and has an interpolation of the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” The song has such a fun dance tune but that shows off Beyoncé’s impressive vocal range. “Yaya” is one of the best songs on Cowboy Carter but also a loving tribute to her mentor.

  • Bodyguard - Beyoncé

    For the ones that understood “Cuff It” from Renaissance Act I the first time, we believe “Bodyguard” has that same smash hit potential. “Bodyguard” is about doing whatever it takes to protect the one you love. “I protect you in the mosh pit/And I’ll defend you in the gossip/You know how people like to start s— and pop s—,” she sings in the second verse. “Bodyguard” comes in at track eight on the project.

  • Jolene - Beyoncé ft. Dolly Parton

    This ain’t your mother’s “Jolene.” Beyoncé covered Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit “Jolene.” While Dolly was begging with the woman who took her man, Beyoncé had a more direct tone in getting what she wants. “Jolene, I’m a woman too/
    Thе games you play are nothing new/So you don’t want no hеat with me, Jolene,” Beyoncé sings in the first verse. The Houston native comes in hot during the chorus singing, “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene/I’m warnin’ you, woman, find you your own man/Jolene, I know I’m a queen, Jolene/I’m still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisiane (Don’t try me).” If we were Jolene, I think we might find someone else to flirt with.

  • II Hands II Heaven - Beyoncé

    “II Hands II Heaven” is the “Church Girl” of Cowboy Carter. You think you’re getting full gospel off the title alone, and then you’re hit with some secular wordplay. “Your love run through me like lava/Pull my fit over these hips/
    You grip, I grind/Then taste this wine, I’ma taste what’s mine/’Cause I’ma take what’s mine,” she sings in the second part of the song. Church girls we got your favorite one right here.

  • Riiverdance - Beyoncé

    It’s hard to stay in your seat with “Riiverdance.” This country-dance track will have everyone on the dance floor with the infectious lyrics. “Bounce on that s—, dance (Dance)/Bounce on that s—, dance (Dance)
    Bounce on that s—, dance (Dance)/Bounce on that s—, no hands,” Beyoncé croons throughout the song. We can definetly see this record being played every cookout this summer.

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