During an absolutely tedious Super Bowl game — including a barrage of Temu commercials and a persistent earworm of Alicia Keys’ cracked note — there were two saving graces of the night, aside from Usher’s halftime show. Jeff Goldblum had multiple commercial cameos and Beyoncé’s Super Bowl ad.
In a playfully comedic role, Beyoncé lets her hair down and brings out her inner Foxy Brown charm. In a competition with actor Tony Hale, Beyoncé sets out to prove that she can break the internet against Verizon’s 5G network.
Donning her Renaissance era chrome couture, Beyoncé became a Barbie, a presidential candidate, a Twitch streamer and a robot in an attempt to win the competition — even performing in space to prove herself.
Smooth, stylish and a tad cheesy, seeing Beyoncé back on my screen was a reward in itself. But the ad ended with a heart-stopping sentence: “Ok, they ready, drop the new music.”
A grainy 4×4 video popped up on Instagram within minutes. In it, a figure is driving through grassy plains with the radio turned up. Soft banjo lines begin to pour through the speakers as the car speeds past onlookers. A billboard of pinup doll-styled Beyoncé, with the words “Texas! Hold ‘Em” next to her, waves away as her voice jumps in.
Act II has officially arrived.
When Beyoncé announced her monumental dance record Renaissance back in 2022, it was alluded to as part one of a trilogy. Through sleek silver jumpsuits, groovy bass riffs interlooped with samples of iconic disco records and hypnotic house beats, the superstar crafted an electric homage to the Black pioneers of club culture and ballroom.
After embarking on a world tour and releasing a concert film in theaters, I was left to wonder: were those acts II and III?
Ever the perfectionist, Beyoncé spent years working on Renaissance and its accompanying tour. A succeeding movie to showcase the creative process perfectly embodies the major acts in the lifespan of a modern pop star era — take Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour after the release of Midnights, and Beyoncé’s documentary Homecoming after her Coachella performance.
The singer even teased the release of a new perfume and hair care line on her social media, signaling a shift in her business endeavors. This new chapter of music appeared, from all angles, closed.
All this was before the star’s Super Bowl ad with Verizon.
With the release of the ad and Instagram video, Beyoncé dropped two new singles — “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages.” She also announced that March 29 will be the release date of Act II. The album is currently unnamed, and likely an entirely country LP.
Beyoncé has dabbled in the genre before with the bluesy and soulful “Daddy Lessons” from “Lemonade,” even performing with The Chicks at the CMA’s in 2016.
An unapologetic Houston native, fans have eagerly waited for Beyoncé to return to her southern roots musically and expand on the soundscape of “Daddy Lessons.” Both new singles embody heavy instrumentals and characteristics of the genre, much to the excitement of this “Daddy Lessons” enthusiast.
Even within a new genre for Beyoncé, she easily demonstrates her famous versatility. The playful hoedown of “Texas Hold ‘Em” invites us to live carefree and dance in a similar sentiment to Act I.
Whoops and whistles bounce along to the bass as shimmering vocal harmonies lead listeners to the dancefloor. “It’s a real-life boogie and real-life hoedown / Don’t be a bitch, come take it to the floor now.”
In contrast, the accompanying “16 Carriages ” is a solemn and heart-wrenching confession that strips back the curtain on young starhood. Thunderous electric guitar drops punctuate the track while sparkling organ lines guide the song to an emotional climax, drawing us into the singer’s inner turmoil.
The star’s polished brand is showcased in each meticulously crafted track, giving fans a taste of an exciting new era.