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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Observer


Time to saddle up for Beyoncé's ‘act ii’

This past Sunday, fans and the Internet sat down eagerly refreshing social media sites seeing if their predictions were true: Would Beyoncé be announcing new music?

In the midst of Super Bowl Sunday, hot off the tail of the halftime show, Verizon, the wireless carrier company who had put out multiple advertisements featuring lemons and disco horses, surprised spectators with a 60 second commercial featuring Beyoncé as she tried to break the carrier’s speedy cell service.

After multiple failed attempts the Houston born singer tries one last thing saying “Okay, drop the new music” as the ad shifts to black. At that moment, fans and casual spectators alike found themselves puzzled. Are we really getting new music right now? On a Sunday? By the time anyone could open Instagram or her website, any trace of “act i: Renaissance” had disappeared, taking its house and dance themes with it. In its place read: “act ii 3.29” alongside “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM and 16 CARRIAGES out now.”

This article by no means is meant to establish a cowboys vs. aliens (or rather, cowboys vs. “ALIEN SUPERSTAR”), but these songs are an incredible departure from the majority of the singer’s discography, especially after the house-infused, robotic “act i: RENAISSANCE.” This new sound doesn’t fall flat. She’s almost come alive in it, especially as she pays homage to her home state of Texas. Named after the poker variant comprised of three acts, much like this greater Beyoncé project, “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” wastes no time bringing us a fully country song. Accompanied with “woos,” whiskey and mentions of hoedowns, we’re immediately thrown into a sound that has been rumored to come from the 32-time Grammy award winner since early interviews about the unnamed project, with further flame added to the fire with her custom Louis Vuitton cowboy ensemble (complete with a bolo tie and all). The song has since topped iTunes charts and been submitted to country radios across the country, a potentially controversial move even years after the singer’s controversial performance of her song “Daddy Lessons” from her album “Lemonade” at the Country Music Awards alongside The Chicks in 2016. 

While “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” seems to prepare us for a bold journey, “16 CARRIAGES” begins to show us how intimate that journey might sound. The nearly four minute track narrates the trajectory of Beyoncé’s musical career beginning at the age of 16, where the song’s title comes from. Duality seems to be at the center of the track, highlighting her shifting perspective from child to parent, childhood to adulthood, and tension towards her career with lines explicitly saying how she feels “overworked and overwhelmed.” This work is done while combining raw emotions with a rock-infused but equally country sound, creating even more buzz for whatever this new era may entail. This anticipation is happening in tandem with excitement for her new haircare line, Cécred, which will be released on February 20. Rumors also swirl over when (if ever) we’ll be getting any visuals for this project or “RENAISSANCE” and over her potential tour slated to begin later this year.

Until then, I’ll be sure to keep my cowboy boots on standby when the full length, 16 track album is released later next month.