Beyoncé’s “16 Carriages” Lyrics Meaning, Explained

It turns out that Beyoncé cowboy-themed Grammys 2024 outfit was more than just changing her look: the popstar actually went country.

On Sunday, February 11, the pop star released another self-titled track from 2013 and made a surprise announcement of her next album while dropping two new songs, “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold 'Em” (in the middle of the 2024 Super Bowl) . , no less), signaling that guitars and bluesy anthems will be the next genre she exploits. It seems Lana Del Rey was right: country is the next frontier in pop music.

In the spirit of the genre, these new tracks are also some of the most personal Beyoncé has ever released, highly visceral snapshots of life, living, and overcoming in the dusty South. Of the two singles, “16 Carriages” is particularly personally revealing, seemingly touching on her childhood as an aspiring young girl trying to make it in show biz while overcoming family trauma. Given Queen Bey's extreme privacy these days, it's a rare moment of vulnerability from the singer, who is already present. resonating deeply with his fans.

Below, we break down key lyrics from “16 Carriages” and explain what new sides of the pop star they uncover.

“Sixteen cars drive away / While I watch them drive with my dreams in the distance”

Sixteen cars is the central motif of the new song, but what exactly is it? are the 16 cars? Unlike Taylor Swift, Beyoncé isn't really interested in numerology, so there's no clear reference to point to. However, fans have theoriesand some netizens speculate that this number could refer to her age when Destiny's Child officially debuted in 1997 (she would have been around 16), or to the many times Beyoncé has been nominated for a Big Four Grammys category and didn’t win – hence the cars that “leave” with his dreams. Although the math doesn't match exactly with this theory, and we'd like to think Bey is above the Grammys' need for validation.

“At fifteen, innocence went astray/ I had to leave my home at a very young age/ I saw mother pray, I saw father work/ All my tender problems, I had to leave behind me”

Although Destiny's Child officially debuted in 1997 with the release of their first song, “No No No”, Columbia Records officially signed Destiny's Child in 1996, when Bey was 15 years old. At the time, it was still managed by his father, Mathew Knowles, about whom she would have said“I grew up watching him and my mother manage and own their own businesses. They were diligent entrepreneurs and I will continue to follow in their footsteps.

“It's been dozens of summers, and I'm not in my bed/In the back of the bus and in a bunk with the band/I'm going so hard, I have to choose myself/Underpaid and overworked”

Beyoncé being a virgin is just one facet of her unprecedented work ethic; the other is the fact that she's been on the road and living a grueling touring life since she was a child, beginning with her days in the pre-teen band Girl's Tyme, and later with Destiny's Child.

“It's been thirty-eight summers, and I'm not in my bed/ In the back of the bus and in a bunk with the band/ It's going so hard, now I miss my kids/ Overworked and overwhelmed”

There are several ways to interpret these lyrics, one being that she wrote this song after turned 38 in September 2019although, given that the lockdown was a few months later, the timing doesn't exactly add up for her to be “at the back of the bus”.

The other interpretation involves a certain artistic freedom and the understanding that the “Formation” singer has more or less worked as an artist for the better part of nearly four decades. Whereas in the past she was “underpaid and overworked,” she is now “overworked and overworked.”

“At fifteen, innocence went astray/I had to take care of the house from a young age/I saw mom cry, I saw dad lie”

Beyoncé and her father have always had a complicated relationship. As mentioned above, he played a key role in her rise and success as a child star, but there was trouble behind the scenes. In 2011, Mathew Knowles and Tina Knowles officially divorced after 31 years of marriage when it was discovered that Mathew had “fathered a love child,” according to Daily Mail.

Later, Beyoncé would reportedly reference her father's infidelity on albums like Lemonade so much so that he was asked about it in interviews, even though he largely chose not to respond.

“I had to sacrifice myself and leave my fears behind/The legacy, if it's the last thing I do/You'll remember me 'cause we have something to prove”

As Bey has grown, her legacy has become a major theme in her music, whether she's declaring herself “one of the only ones” on “Alien Superstar” or more introspectively making her case on “16 Carriages “. If Renaissance If this thesis were expressed through exuberant dance music, then we can only imagine that the upcoming album will serve as the emotional arc of this new era.

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