Your ‘Cowboy Carter’ Reading List Is Here! Giddy the Fuck Up!

Yee haw mode activated. It’s my favorite national holiday: BEYONCÉ DAY!! A day that doesn’t come with regular intervals on the calendar, and can only be planned when the queen chooses to visit us from down upon the Creole Banjee Bitch (her words) Mountain of which she came. Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter released today and I am !?!?!? Speechless!?!?

At 12:04 AM I wrote on X, “crying at these harmonies would be overkill, right? Right!?!” which seems completely normal — and things have certainly not gotten less unhinged for me since then. I’m on my potentially 8th listen through in what? 12 hours? Do I sleep? Am I running purely on a Starbucks coconut milk latte with two scoops of lavender powder and two vegan donuts? Do you have to ask? Have you noticed that Beyoncé’s ride or die anthem duet with Miley Cyrus “II Most Wanted” has no specific pronouns and do you know what that means?

When we originally planned this post earlier in the week, we set our sights on a short comedy post with my little jokey jokes. Basically so that we’d have a reason to host a digital listening party. BUT NO FUCKING SERIOUSLY HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE MASTERY OF THIS ALBUM!?!?!?

Renaissance was a queer dance party, and jokes came easy. Cowboy Carter is an album for the gays who do ritual cleanses, burn herb, and like to take naps while reading quietly on their couches in the warm sunlight. I don’t have a way to explain it, but this feels like Beyoncé’s most intellectual album. It demonstrates her producing ability as a student of not just her craft, but also the history of the genres that she expertly blends and plays with.

I’ll be honest out front that I’m not a country music girlie (no surprise there). I don’t have deep roots to The South, my family history is more Brooklyn concrete, rust belt factory workers, and Puerto Rican flamboyan trees. I was nervous for Cowboy Carter. I even made a playlist in preparation for the album, residing myself to the reality “i guess i’m a country music girlie now.”

So in lieu of jokes, I’m yielding the floor and made a little reading list to accompany your nonstop listen today. I’ll update it as I keep finding more cool shit, so if you read something you love please drop it in the comments and let me know. Giddy the fuck up!

Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter: The Reading List 🐎

And one of my favorite tracks off of Cowboy Carter is a cover of Blackbird, featuring Beyoncé and a quartet of Black women country singers — Brittney Spencer, Tanner Adell, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts. This video from Tanner Adell about the experience is pure joy, so let’s end our time here:


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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 700 articles for us.


  1. How has no one commented on this yet?! Are we all just lying on the floor, listening to it play on repeat, too swept away by the vibes to type in a comment? (or is that just me?)

    Seriously, thank you Carmen for inspiring me to listen – even though I’m not really into pop music and I kind of thought my obsession with Renaissance was going to be a one time thing and not the beginning of a new fandom.

  2. I put off listening Cowboy Carter or reading anything about it and I’m glad I did. I needed space so I wasn’t riding in on hype. I’m not part of The Hive at all… and I love this album.

    I’m shook. “…this feels like Beyoncé’s most intellectual album.”

    I could not agree more and I am not entirely certain why I feel this way. Just like Act I, this album begs to replayed again and again.

    Thank you for the reading list. Now that I have a couple listens under my belt, I’m ready to dive deep

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