Beyonce in a cowboy hat posing by leaning backwards

Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Ranked by How I Feel Today

Cowboy Carter is the new album from Beyoncé that brought her into the country genre. It has, as is often the case with Beyoncé’s music, taken over our entire lives, and we cannot stop listening to it on repeat, so labeling the “best” song is going to be hard.

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How do you rank something that is just great overall? Do you put a note after each song listed later in the ranking and say, “But this is also really good. Don’t get me wrong. I love it, too”? Or do you just stand by your ranking and pray that you don’t get yelled at in the meantime? 

For me, the challenge with rankings, and especially with music, is that my taste changes. One day, I could be in a “Jolene” mood, but then the next day, it can be a “Texas Hold ‘Em” kind of day. So while you read this list, know that tomorrow I could have a different feeling but that every song on Cowboy Carter is worth listening to again and again.

But, for now, here is every song on Cowboy Carter ranked. 

27. My Rose

It is short, sweet, and pretty but “My Rose” isn’t exactly standing out compared to the rest of the songs—not that it makes it any less than. It’s just one of the shorter songs that I can take or leave. 

26. Smoke Hour * Willie Nelson

Again, the shorter songs are interesting additions to Cowboy Carter, and the joy of “Smoke Hour * Willie Nelson” is simply that Willie Nelson is included in it. It is a testament to Beyoncé as a performer that she got a number of icons to take part in Cowboy Carter and make it as completely and beautifully country as it is.

25. Oh Louisana

“Oh Louisana” is another one of those intro songs, but you will find yourself dancing to it, and I kind of wish it was longer. I just felt the energy of it and wanted more out of it.

24. Smoke Hour II

Willie Nelson collaboration “Smoke Hour II” is pretty great. He’s just like a radio announcer and says whatever he has to say to intro the next song, and that’s pretty iconic of him. 

23. Desert Eagle

In the lineup of Cowboy Carter, “Desert Eagle” can get lost. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, but it is just followed by a very fun and exciting song, so it kind of just gets forgotten because you’re jamming out to “Riiverdance” instead of thinking about “Desert Eagle.”

22. Dolly P

Look it is Dolly Parton. She intros Beyoncé’s cover of “Jolene,” and you cannot really beat that! It is perfect and hearing Parton talking about Lemonade will never not be great. “Dolly P” is again a shorter introduction song, but that doesn’t make it any less iconic because Parton is involved. 

21. The Lind Martell Show

“The Lind Martell Show” was SUCH a beautiful inclusion on Cowboy Carter. Linda Martell is the first commercially successful Black woman in the country genre, so Beyoncé including her on the album that has had people yelling about how Beyoncé can’t be country? Perfection.

20. Spaghettii

The song that is probably the one that mixes genres the most, “Spaghettii” is good, but there are just other songs on Cowboy Carter that have my attention. It isn’t boring by any means. In fact, it is very much going on my workout playlists. But there are just other songs I would rather listen to. 

19. Flamenico

“Flamenico” is nice, pretty to listen to, but in the grand scheme of Cowboy Carter, it isn’t exactly one that is going to stand out that much overall. Like every other song on this album, though, it is so good and you’re still going to love it, but there are just better songs.

18. Bodyguard

When it comes to “Bodyguard,” it really has the vibe of a ’70s country/rock song. Think Fleetwood Mac classics, and this fits the vibe perfectly. But in an album of iconic songs, it can get lost in the shuffle. However, every time it comes on while I am playing Cowboy Carter, I have a fun time, and then I move on and have another favorite beating it. But it is still truly one of my favorites on the entire album. I just have a lot of other favorites, as well.

17. II Hands II Heaven

“II Hands II Heaven” is one that will grow on you. It is a good song, as is everyone single song featured on Cowboy Carter, but at first you might think that it isn’t in your top. Slowly, it will continue stay with you, and you will be humming it without realizing it. To me, that’s a testament of a good song. If I am singing it without knowing that I am doing it, you know it’s a good one.

16. 16 Carriages

Will I definitely listen to “16 Carriages” when I want to feel something and make myself cry? Obviously. It is beautiful, sweet, and one of those songs that hits you in your soul and makes you emotional whether you expected it or not.

15. Sweet * Honey * Buckin’

“Sweet * Honey * Buckin'” ends up being good but another one that just ends up lost in the shuffle. But when you do stumble back upon it, you love it because it is so very Beyoncé and country.

14. Riiverdance

There is a need for some iconic dance songs on Cowboy Carter, and Beyoncé delivered on multiple songs, and “Riiverdance” is definitely one of them. You can just see how people would dance to it, how it would be staged while performed live, and it is just exciting.

13. Protector

Even if you don’t have kids, “Protector” can still strike that emotional core. I don’t have kids, but I thought about my younger nieces and how I would protect them above all else, and it made it feel like a special addition to Cowboy Carter

12. Alligator Tears

“Alligator Tears” is the kind of song I wanted on Cowboy Carter! This is perfection and the entire vibe that I expected with a masterpiece like Cowboy Carter. I don’t know why I connected with it so deeply, and I don’t think I need to really explain it. I just love it. 

11. Tyrant

The later you get into Cowboy Carter, the more it feels like Beyoncé’s approach to country as a genre and less of her giving us the idea of country music we know and love, and it really works as a concept for the album as a whole. “Tyrant” is a great song and one that you will want to listen to again and again.

10. Daughter

To have “Daughter” follow her cover of “Jolene” is kind of iconic, but it also really just connected with me as someone who is a Scorpio. The darkness that exists in this song connects to the country genre of Cowboy Carter and really just works

9. Amen

If you listen to “Amen” and “American Requiem” back to back, it really shows the journey you’re about to go on with Cowboy Carter, and it all comes together with “Amen” in the end. As a song on its own, “Amen” is a song that highlights Beyoncé’s voice and is just a beautiful experience to listen to.

8. Ya Ya

Oh, “Ya Ya” is fun. Was I screaming with all the samples in this song? YES! She threw in “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys! I was having the time of my life. The song as a whole is just a vibe, something you can really get into and dance to, and that makes it one of the best.

7. American Requiem

As a classic rock fan, the sampling of “For What It’s Worth” from Buffalo Springfield really makes this just a top-tier song for me. It kicks the album off and really sets the tone for Beyoncé’s foray into country music.

6. Jolene

Any cover of “Jolene” is a good cover because we’re listening to “Jolene” no matter what! What makes Beyoncé’s cover great is that she writes her own verses and brings her own take on the story of Jolene, and it works. 

5. Levii’s Jeans

Imagine, if you will, sitting on the beach just listening to “Levii’s Jeans” when you get to relax and completely ignore your problems. Imagine you have a new crush and you’re thinking about this song?! It’s just very fun to listen to and is cutesy sexy, and that makes it easily on repeat for me.

4. Just For Fun

I tend to like Beyoncé’s slower songs anyway, and the combination of her ballads mixed with country really works for me (as evidenced by my favorite tracks on Cowboy Carter). “Just For Fun” has that sad country feel that is the only kind of country music I like, and it just works.

3. Texas Hold ‘Em

The first single off the album was a great choice because it is just very fun. Did I love seeing people dancing to “Texas Hold ‘Em” on TikTok for weeks before the release of Cowboy Carter? Yes, I did. And the song really just meshes well with the album as a whole. 

2. Blackbird

“Blackbird” has had a deep connection to me for my entire life. My dad used to sing me it as my bathtime song as a kid and would call me whenever he heard it playing. Hearing Beyoncé’s take on the Beatles classic is beautiful and poignant and one of the standouts on the album as a whole.

1. II Most Wanted

I don’t know if you recognized by previous entries that I love Fleetwood Mac, but I do, so giving me the combination of Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and a sampling of “Landslide” in “II Most Wanted” really just gave me a whole new perspective on life. 

(featured image: Blair Caldwell/Parkwood Entertainment LLC)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.