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Beyoncé announces country album “Renaissance: Act II”

By Gilliana Taylor, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Feb. 11, Beyoncé broke the internet with her Verizon Super Bowl commercial. The ad subtly announced the singer’s new album “Renaissance: Act II,” a country western album. 

Following the Verizon commercial, two singles, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” were released to the music streaming platform Tidal. Fans showed an immense amount of support for the singles. Just a few minutes after the songs were released, the platform crashed due to an overwhelming amount of fans swarming the app. Over the following days, the songs were released to all music platforms. 

Sophomore theater major Megan McMurray shared her thoughts on the singles.

“I loved them both so much,” McMurray said. “I’m from Texas, and ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ makes me want to go back home and go line dancing. And ‘16 Carriages’ is just so beautiful.” 

One week after its initial release, “Texas Hold ‘Em” charted at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. Making Beyoncé the first Black woman to have a No. 1 song on the country music charts. 

Sophomore data analytics major Matilda Boyle shared her opinion on this achievement.

“I’m not shocked that Beyoncé reached number one, her fan base is massive and extremely loyal,” Boyle said. “I am shocked that she is the first Black woman to be number one in country music.”

McMurray expressed a similar sentiment. 

“Part of me is really surprised that she is the first Black woman to have a number one country song, but the other part is not shocked at all,” McMurray said. “Yes country music is a white male-dominated genre, but it’s crazy that it took till 2024 to have a Black woman at number one. I feel like country music is getting better at being inclusive, but there should be more space for Black artists in the genre.”

Photo credits: Columbia Records

The album’s 2022 predecessor, “Renaissance,” fell into the house music genre. The drastic genre shift into country music is one that many fans did not see coming, but are excited for.

Boyle shared her love for the songs. 

“I’m really excited for this change, it’s a big jump from her normal style but if anyone can do that, it’s her,” she stated. “I think both songs are really amazing. I really enjoyed the acoustic versions of the songs. Beyoncé’s vocal talent is unbelievable, and country music fits her voice so well.” 

McMurray expressed her thoughts on Beyoncé’s genre experimentation.

“I am obsessed with this genre change,” McMurray said. “Like I said before, I am from Texas, just like Beyoncé is, so obviously this album is going to hit close to home. I think she is so talented, and it’s amazing to me how she continues to change what genre she is doing. I don’t think artists should be defined by one genre, I think they should try new things so their fans can see their range, and Beyoncé does exactly that. I’m really excited for this album.”

The ballad, “16 Carriages,” is the more personal song of the two singles. Fans have begun speculating the song is about the obstacles Beyoncé overcame on her rise to fame at such a young age. The 16 in the title possibly refers to the age her stardom began. The song takes listeners through her career beginnings. 

McMurray discussed the meaning of the song.

“In ‘16 Carriages,’ we hear some of what it was like to grow up in the spotlight,” McMurray said. “And I hope that this album is just true to her and her story as a Black woman growing up in Texas. I hope we get more songs like it. I feel like oftentimes we don’t get to hear from Black female voices in the country music genre because of how male-dominated the genre is. I think a lot of people that aren’t from the South forget that there are people of color that live there. I hope this album really shares their stories and makes them feel represented in a place where they wouldn’t normally find themselves.” 

This album release could give Beyoncé another shot at Album of the Year at the 2025 Grammys. Despite being nominated four times, she has never won the coveted award. 

“I really hope she gets to take home album of the year. It’s crazy to me that she has been nominated so many times, and still hasn’t won. I’m a big fan of Harry Styles but when he beat her in 2023, I was devastated. I’m nervous because of the large amount of artists releasing music this year. The Grammys are going to be really stiff competition, but I am going to remain hopeful that she finally gets her chance.” McMurray shared.

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