Beyoncé’s Best Lyrics on ‘Cowboy Carter’ — From ‘John Wayne’-ing That Ass to Warning ‘Jolene’ to Find Her Own Man

Beyoncé’s new album “Cowboy Carter” arrives after what the Texas-born singer says was a five-year journey she embarked on after feeling rejected by the country music world.

On her eighth solo LP — a “Beyoncé album” not a country album, she insists — the artist freely pushes the boundaries of country music and utilizes the genre’s signature touchstones to make a sonic return to the house music of Act I, or 2022’s “Renaissance,” on tracks like “Riverdance” and “II Hands II Heaven.”

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Where “Renaissance” was an homage to queer club culture icons, “Cowboy Carter” features endorsements from Nashville’s best in the form of spoken interludes from icons like Willie Nelson, Linda Martell and Dolly Parton. Beyoncé also covers Parton’s “Jolene,” but updates it as a menacing alert: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / I’m warnin’ you, don’t come for my man,” she sings.

Nelson, Parton and Martell are the guiding voices on the 27-track, 80-minute-long narrative complete with swift, petty one-liners and fresh takes on centuries-old sounds. Selecting the best lyrics from such a tightly-packaged and layered project is no easy task but Variety has compiled a list of some of the most quick-witted and memorable lines on “Cowboy Carter.” See our picks below.

From “Ameriican Requiem”:

They used to say I spoke, “Too country”
Then the rejection came, said I wasn’t, “Country enough”
Said I wouldn’t saddle up, but
If that ain’t country, tell me, what is?

From “16 Carriages”:

At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray
Had to take care of home at an early age
I saw Mama cryin’, I saw Daddy lyin’
Had to sacrifice and leave my fears behind
The legacy is the last thing I do

From “Protector”:

I first saw your face in your father’s gaze
There’s a long line of hands carryin’ your name
Liftin’ you up, so you will be raised

From “My Rose”:

So many roses but none to be picked without thorns
So be fond of your flaws, dear

From “Texas Hold Em”:

Come pour some sugar on me, honey too
It’s a real-life boogie and a real-life hoedown
Don’t be a bitch, come take it to the floor now

From “Bodyguard”:

I don’t like the way she’s lookin’ at you
Someone better hold me back,
Chargin’ ten for a double and I’m talkin’
I’m ’bout to lose it, turn around and John Wayne that ass

Interlude: “Dolly P”

Parton introduces Beyoncé’s cover of her song “Jolene,” making the connection to “that hussy with the good hair” and “Becky with the good hair” from “Sorry,” a cut from 2016’s “Lemonade.”

Reminding me of someone I knew back when / Except she has flamin’ locks of auburn hair,” Parton says, referencing her line in “Jolene.” “Bless her heart / Just a hair of a different color but it hurts just the same.

Parton also refers to Beyoncé as “Honey Bee” in this segment, nodding to the pet name Lady Gaga used to reference Beyoncé in the 2010 music video for their collaboration “Telephone.”

From “Jolene”:

I’m warnin’ you, woman, find you your own man
Jolene, I know I’m a queen, Jolene
I’m still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne (Don’t try me)

From “Daughter”:

They keep sayin’ that I ain’t nothin’ like my father
But I’m the furthest thing from choir boys and altars
If you cross me, I’m just like my father
I am colder than Titanic water

Honorable mention:

Your body laid out on these filthy floors
Your bloodstains on my custom coutures
Bathroom attendant let me right in
She was a big fan

From “Spaghettii”:

Cunty, country, petty, petty, petty
All the same to me, Plain Jane, spaghetti
No sauce, no sauce, too soft, too soft
They salty, they shootin’ like Curry
One hand on my holster, then pass it to Hova

From “Alliigator Tears”:

You say change religions
Now I spend Sundays with you
Somethin’ ’bout those tears of yours
How does it feel to be adored?

From “Just For Fun”:

I’m goin’ down south just for fun, I am the man, I know it
And everywhere I go, they know my name

From “II Most Wanted”:

I’ll be your shotgun rider ’til the day I die
Smoke out the window flyin’ down the 405

From “Levii’s Jeans”:

Boy, I’ll let you be my Levi’s jeans
So you can hug that ass all day long

From “Flamenco”:

I hope that you know once it’s over
Can’t take what you love so hold me closer
Realize that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone
Right about now

From “Ya Ya”:

Baby, if you ain’t got no ritz get the fuck up out the south
Life is comin’ at me fast, keep my Bible on the dash
Pistol in my seat just in case I gotta blast
I just wanna shake my ass (Have a blast)

Honorable mention:

Those petty ones can’t fuck with me (Why?)
‘Cause I’m a clever girl, we snappin’

From “Desert Eagle”:

Desert Eagle in the backseat
Everything bigger in Texas
Big body, bust it open, feed you breakfast

From “Riiverdance”:

Staring down the barrel of my gun
Yes, I shot you down
He cried the day he realized
That lies were hidden in my kisses

From “II Hands II Heaven”:

I’m a stallion runnin’, no candle in the wind
You won’t ever see me comin’ or goin’ but you’ll know whenever I’m here

From “Tyrant”:

You owe me a debt, you stole him from me
I hated you once, I envy you now
Just tell me how, tell me how

From “Sweet Honey Buckiin'”:

A-O-T-Y, I ain’t win (That’s cool)
I ain’t stuntin’ ’bout them
Take that shit on the chin
Come back and fuck up the pen (Yeah)

From “Amen”:

Say a prayer for what has been
We’ll be the ones to purify our Fathers’ sins
Ameriican Requiem
Them old ideas are buried here

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