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In Review: Beyoncé’s “TEXAS HOLD EM” & “16 CARRIAGES”

“Okay they ready, drop the new music!” In true Beyoncé fashion, the queen herself surprise dropped two new singles after what fans are calling an iconic Super Bowl commercial in collaboration with Verizon. The “Break My Soul” songstress also announced that her new album RENAISSANCE: Act II will be released on March 29, leaving the Internet in a frenzy. The project seems to be country music based on the teaser Queen Bey dropped on Instagram. Until we can sulk to the sultry sounds of Beyoncé’s upcoming country album, we have the two new singles “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “16 CARRIAGES” to replay over and over.


“TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” sounds like a horseback ride down a long, winding dirt road with a hint of that flavor Beyoncè brings to every track. With a country guitar loop and whistles, claps, and chants in the background to accompany the layered harmonies, this track is perfect for a square dance. Of course, vocally, she doesn’t disappoint either, with runs and riffs sprinkled throughout the song. The repeated chords at the end of the song allow for a breakdown moment—a showcase solely for Beyoncé’s vocals and background stacks. What seems like a simple formula has created a catchy tune for country lovers and the Beyhive alike.

“16 CARRIAGES” is distinctly different from its counterpart “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM.” The emotional ballad is more stripped down, with more attention drawn to Bey’s velvety vocals. She plays with her dynamics and switches between a chest voice placement and a mixed voice placement. The emotion in her voice is evident in every riff. The claps and chords in this track are cinematic and nostalgic—you can truly feel each and every note and cymbal clash and horn. The layered harmonies are a bit more subtle than in “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM”, until towards the end of the song yet still effective.

Overall, both songs are sonically on par and leave the listener wanting to press play again. The juxtaposition of the upbeat and playful vibe of “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and the bluesy and soul-stirring sounds of “16 CARRIAGES” give fans a great preview of what’s to come with the upcoming album release.


The lyrics in “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” aren’t serious at all but tell a story nonetheless. Beyoncé sings to her lover, asking them to “lay their cards down” (show their true intentions) so she can have a good time with him. “This a real-life boogie and a real-life hoedown, Don’t be a bitch come take it to the floor now,” she chants. There’s an underlying sensuality to the track despite its country twang with lines like “Just work me in the middle boy, I can’t read your mind.” and “Come pour some sugar on me, honey too”, which could be alluding to her song “PURE/HONEY” from RENAISSANCE: Act I. The Houston native even pays homage to her Texas roots with references to the Texas Hold ‘Em variation of the popular card game Poker. The essence of this song is flirty and fun, and the lyrics are no different. 

“16 CARRIAGES” tells the story of someone who has been working and hustling since they were a child, striving for success and happiness only to find themselves still overworking themselves. It can be implied that Beyoncé is telling her own story. Lyrics like “At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray, Had to leave my home at an early age, I saw Mama prayin', I saw Daddy grind, All my tender problems, Had to leave behind.” align with Beyoncé experience entering the music industry at 15 years old. One of the stand-out lyrics in this song is, “I might cook, clean, but still won’t fold. Still working on my life, you know. Only God knows”. Not only is the wordplay clever, but it sums up the entire point of the song. This track highlights some of the struggles and challenges Black women face, as Beyoncé sings “Overworked and overwhelmed”. A beautiful ballad dedicated to sad but realistic truths.


Beyoncé did not disappoint with these two surprise tracks. Whether you feel like dancing or you feel like crying, there’s something for you in each track. Both tell captivating stories through the creative lens that is country music. It’s safe to say that Beyoncé is changing the genre one track at a time. “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” gets an 8/10 on the Intersect Rating Scale. “16 CARRIAGES” gets a 10/10 on the Intersect Rating Scale.

Stream the songs below.


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