Beyoncé – Texas Hold ‘Em 

Yes, Renaissance may be dance, house, R&B, and whatever else Beyoncé felt right to throw in there, but Renaissance Act II is going to be country, so better start the drinking game. In fact, it’s already started with the release of “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Is there a way to say Beyoncé ate, but like in country-speak?

The song was actually released as a surprise to fans shortly after Beyoncé announced the coming of a country album during the Super Bowl LVIII commercial. The track sees the global superstar pay homage to her southern routes, with Rhiannon Giddens making the song that much special by playing a banjo and viola on it.

The song is about how a good drink and dancing can help one get over problems. This time, instead of singing about being plagued by personal problems, “Texas Hold ‘Em” actually describes a wide-reaching problem. “There’s a tornado (There’s a tornado) / In my city (In my city) / Hit the basement (Hit the basement) / That shit ain’t pretty (That shit ain’t pretty),” she sings in the first verse, before suggesting that “rugged whiskey” can keep them surviving. In the second verse, she makes it plainer how much drinking means to her when she gets troubled by situations she can’t handle.

The upbeat country pop and western-leaning single features elements of folk and soul. It’s plain to discern a “rapid-plucked” banjo and acoustic guitar that moves into a “stomping” beat.

The release of “Texas Hold ‘Em” caused a stir between the Beyhive – or the Beyhaw if you like – and a country music station in the US. You see, shortly after the release of the surprise song, hundreds of fans reached out to Oklahoma’s KYKC to ask the radio to play the song. Sadly, they were shot down, with the general manager Roger Harris telling them, “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station.” However, fans were not about to easily relent, with many taking their anger online and calling the radio station’s inability to play the song an act of discrimination and racism.” However, it turned out that they didn’t know Beyoncé dropped a country song, so now the song has been added to the rotation and the Beyhive has gracefully stopped buzzing.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” – two country-leaning songs released on the same day – act as co-lead singles for her upcoming eighth studio album. While country is a new territory for Beyoncé, she totally took it by the bull’s horn with the catchy and playful single. In fact, Beyoncé is past the stage of making music. At this point, she’s just making history.