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‘My daddy said shoot’: 6 essential songs to help you prepare for Beyoncé’s country album

The queen is taking us back to her roots with Act II

The time has come for Beyoncé’s long-awaited country album. 

Returning to her roots, the Texas born-and-raised singer announced Act II of her three-part project last week during, of all things, a Super Bowl Verizon commercial. She dropped two singles during the game — “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” before the album’s full release on March 29.

For all of American University’s New Jersey and Northeastern diaspora, country music may feel foreign. Thankfully, The Eagle has compiled a list of six essential songs to prepare you for the queen’s next project.

Daddy Lessons” by Beyoncé

If you haven’t seen Beyoncé perform this song live with The Chicks, consider it mandatory viewing.

From the phenomenal “Lemonade” album, Beyoncé’s first official foray into country, “Daddy Lessons,” takes inspiration from her Southern roots with a backing track that is pure country as she remembers how her dad raised her to never marry a man like himself.

Lyrics like “And we rode motorcycles / Blackjack, classic vinyl” and “With his right hand on his rifle, he swore it on the bible / My daddy said shoot” Beyoncé paints a scene to resonate with anyone who grew up below the Mason-Dixon line.

Beyoncé and The Chicks also teamed up to release a studio version of their collaboration.

Cowboy Take Me Away” by The Chicks

As mentioned above, Beyoncé’s country presence is intertwined with The Chicks. It’s likely the country trio will feature on Act II, so consider “Cowboy Take Me Away” vital listening. 

The song details the singer’s desire to escape city life and run to the country, which could be seen as a metaphor for Beyoncé’s genre transition from House to Country. One can only hope that if Act II gets a tour, The Chicks will give a Megan Thee Stallion-like guest performance.

Don’t Hurt Yourself (feat. Jack White)” by Beyoncé

With “RENAISSANCE” (aka Act I) being House, and Act II being country, there’s speculation that Act III will be rock, rounding out a Beyoncé trilogy of Black-founded genres. 

Perhaps her angriest song to date, one can only imagine Jay-Z shaking in his boots when Beyoncé stepped into the booth to record this.

The song samples Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit “When the Levee Breaks,” implying that Beyoncé’s own levee of patience for Jay-Z’s cheating has broken, releasing the flood of anger culminating in this song. The song is bold, guitar-heavy and an anthem of the scorned woman. 

Let’s just hope Jack White makes a reappearance on Act III’s track listings and that Paramore has their audition tape ready. 

Forever Young” by Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine

If you’ve never listened to North Carolina’s own Rhiannon Giddens’ music, you’re missing out. 

Giddens provided instrumentals on “Texas Hold ‘Em” and will likely contribute more to the rest of the album. A bluegrass and country singer, with roots in opera and Gaelic lilting, Giddens can do it all.

Giddens and Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) paired up to cover Bob Dylan’s 1974 original song “Forever Young,” which appeared on the sixth season of NBC’s “Parenthood.” The combination of their voices, along with Giddens’ country influence over Dylan’s classic lyrics, creates an instant country anthem that hopefully influences the rest of Act II.

Formation” by Beyoncé

By now you’ve probably heard this lead single from “Lemonade,” but we ask you to take a closer listen while preparing for Act II. 

The song is filled to the brim with Black power and Southern imagery, with lyrics like “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana” and “Earned all this money but they never take the country out me” leading the refrain. 

While not exactly country in genre, “Formation” is definitely country in style. Beyoncé’s no-frills tribute to her Black heritage and the Black power movement harkens back to the days when country music was controversial in its politics and outspoken in its identity.

Black Parade” by Beyoncé

This song is a deeper cut, released on Juneteenth as a stand-alone single following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Drawing inspiration from Black Lives Matter protests, “Black Parade” is Beyoncé’s most overt celebration of her Black, Southern heritage to date. 

The song begins with the lyrics “I’m goin’ back to the South … Where my roots ain’t watered down” and Beyoncé continues throughout the song paying homage to her Black, Texan roots with lines like “We wearin’ all attire white to the funeral / Black love, we gon’ stay together / Curtis Mayfield on the speaker” painting a vivid imagery of what growing up in the Knowles house must have been like.

The song takes inspiration from Beyoncé’s R&B background and mixes it with Afrobeats and her iconic Houston accent, bringing Southern imagery to life in a song that serves as an anthem to a movement.

Needless to say, Beyoncé’s upcoming album is going to be big. She’s taking us back to the South with this one, so grab your Bojangles sweet tea and your cowboy boots and let’s hope that the Grammys don’t snub her — again — for Album of the Year.

This article was edited by Marina Zaczkiewicz, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks and Sydney Kornmeyer.

ikravis@theeagleonline.com


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