Beyoncé Digs Into Her Legacy In The New Song “16 Carriages”

She announced a new country era during the 2024 Super Bowl.

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Beyoncé at the 2024 Grammys. Photo via Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

During the 2024 Super Bowl, Beyoncé announced a new album and dropped two songs, including the poignant “16 Carriages.”

While the album’s name hasn’t been confirmed yet, it comes on the heels of fan theories that (correctly!) predicted she would take a country turn on her next release, which serves as the second act to a three-part project that began with 2022’s Renaissance.

Throughout “16 Carriages,” Beyoncé returns to a line about watching the titular fleet ride away with her dreams. “On a long back road, all the tears I fight,” she sings, and then extends the lonely imagery into the first verse.

“At 15, the innocence was gone astray / Had to leave my home at an early age,” she continues. “I saw mama praying, I saw daddy grind / All my tender problems, had to leave behind.”

In the pre-chorus, Beyoncé sings about not being in her bed, and instead traveling by bus with her band, describing the lifestyle of a touring musician and seemingly tapping into her early Destiny’s Child days.

She also refers to feeling “underpaid and overwhelmed” while being away from home, but continuing with life on the road because she’s committed to choosing herself.

The cover of “16 Carriages.”@beyonce/Instagram

Later in the song, the apparent allusions to Beyoncé’s real life and career continue. “It’s been 38 summers and I’m not in my bed,” she sings. (She previously explained on her website that she recorded the three-act project during the pandemic; she turned 39 in 2020.)

“Goin’ so hard, now I miss my kids / Overworked and overwhelmed,” she says. But as she matures, so does the song’s view on those titular carriages — they’re no longer riding her dreams away, but her fears. She seems to have gained new perspective on the purpose of her artistry, too. “The legacy is the last thing I do / You’ll remember me ‘cause we got something to prove.”

Given the seemingly diaristic nature of “16 Carriages,” it’s no surprise that it’s become a fast favorite of the Beyhive. One fan on X (formerly Twitter) described it as “the most personal song” they’ve heard from the Grammy record-setter.

“She’s never told her personal story like this,” noted another user. “Being a young girl into a woman in this industry. Damn. That was beautifully written.”

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