Beyoncé's 'Cowboy Carter' is here: Start with these 5 songs

Beyoncé has finally released her highly anticipated album "Cowboy Carter," and it has 27 tracks and a host of collaborators. Not sure where to start on your first listen? Try these five tracks (but don't stop there).


This harmonious rendition of the Beatle's song "Blackbird" features female African-American country artists Tanner Adell, Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer and Reyna Roberts. Paul McCartney wrote the anthem about racial despair in the American South in the 1960s.


Beyoncé recorded a remake of Dolly Parton's hit 1973 single "Jolene" with her own, fierce twist. The song bridges the gap from Jolene to "Becky with the good hair" from Beyoncé's 2016 hit "Sorry."


This uptempo song features Shaboozey, a Nigerian-American singer and rapper who is best known for bridging hip-hop and country music. Linda Martell, the first Black woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage, also makes an appearance.

'Levii's Jeans'

Fellow Texan Post Malone joins Beyoncé on this sultry anthem to lovestruck blue jeans.

'Ya Ya'

Beyoncé’s track “Ya Ya” is introduced by Martell. In the first half of the upbeat, finger-snapping tune Queen Bey says, “We wanna welcome you to the Beyoncé ‘Cowboy Carter Act II' and a rodeo Chitlin’ Circuit." The song isn’t just a twangy jam; it is coded with history. The Chitlin’ Circuit references a collection of venues that embraced and employed Black musicians during the Jim Crow era.

'This ain't a country album'

Beyoncé first announced her eighth studio album during a surprise Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 11. Simultaneously, she released her first two singles, "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold 'Em." The two songs quickly took the internet by storm as many fans saw the music as a reclamation of country music's Black roots. On YouTube, Beyoncé reached over 2 million views on each song in just two days. Within weeks, Beyoncé made history as the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart when "Texas Hold 'Em" hit No. 1.

The new album is "Act II" of a three-part series. The superstar released her first act, the "Renaissance" album, on July 29, 2022, through her company Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records. "Act III" has yet to be announced.

Prior to its release, the singer opened up about "Cowboy Carter" on Instagram. Beyoncé wrote while she was "honored" to become the first Black woman to Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, she still hopes for the day "the mention of an artist's race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant."

She revealed the new album took five years to make, adding 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." The singer was likely referencing her 2016 performance of her song "Daddy Lessons" with The Chicks at the Country Music Association Awards, which received mixed reactions on social media.

Beyoncé and The Chicks perform at the Country Music Association Awards in 2016.
Beyoncé and The Chicks perform at the Country Music Association Awards 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 wrote. "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 signed off with, "This ain’t a Country album. This is a 'Beyoncé' album."

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Beyoncé's 'Cowboy Carter' is here: Start with these 5 songs