The personal meaning behind Beyoncé's 16 Carriages lyrics explained

19 February 2024, 19:50

Beyoncé announces Act II with visual teaser

By Sam Prance

In '16 Carriages', Beyoncé opens up about her life story and the affect working as a child had on her.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Beyoncé has stopped the world again. What are her '16 Carriages' lyrics about though, and how do they relate to her life?

Bey is back and I'm sleeping real good at night! Yesterday (Feb 11), Beyoncé broke the internet after announcing new music in an advert for Verizon at the Super Bowl. Since then, Beyoncé has confirmed the rumours that she's releasing a country album. Not only that but she's also dropped two exquisite country songs: 'Texas Hold 'Em' and '16 Carriages'.

READ MORE: Beyoncé Act II: Release date, tracklist, news and theories about the Renaissance sequel

'Texas Hold 'Em' is a gorgeous country jam made for a hoedown. Meanwhile, '16 Carriages' is a stirring country ballad in which Beyoncé opens up about her childhood and the sacrifices she made for her career. What do all of the references mean though? Below is a full breakdown of Beyoncé's '16 Carriages' lyrics and what they mean.

What does '16 Carriages' mean?

Beyoncé's 16 Carriages lyrics: The meaning and career references explained
Beyoncé's 16 Carriages lyrics: The meaning and career references explained. Picture: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Parkwood

While Beyoncé is yet to open up about '16 Carriages', the phrase '16 Carriages' seems to be a double entendre in reference to her life. Literally, the phrase appears to mean tour trucks and how they're a physical representation of Beyoncé's dreams. Metaphorically, it could be a spin on '16 Candles' and refer to Beyoncé turning 16 and how her life changed at that age.

In the song, Beyoncé sings frankly about her life experience. In the first verse, she reflects on Destiny's Child debuting when she was just 15 and how she had to grow up quickly. She sings: "At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray / Had to leave my home at an early age / I saw Mama prayin', I saw Daddy grind / All my tender problems, had to leave behind."

Beyoncé then alludes to tour life with Destiny's Child. She sings: "It's been umpteen summers, and I'm not in my bed / On the back of the bus and a bunk with the band / Goin' so hard, gotta choose myself / Undеrpaid and overwhelmed / I might cook, clеan, but still won't fold / Still workin' on my life, you know / Only God knows, only God knows."

She then flips it later in the song and sings about recent tour life and the affect that it has on her and her family. She sings: "It's been thirty-eight summers, and I'm not in my bed / On the back of the bus and a bunk with the band / Goin' so hard, now I miss my kids / Overworked and overwhelmed."

READ MORE: The deeper meaning behind Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em lyrics explained

Beyoncé - 16 CARRIAGES (Official Lyric Video)

Beyoncé gets even more candid on the bridge by singing about supporting her family and alluding to her dad's infidelity. She sings: "At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray / Had to take care of home at an early age / I saw Mama cryin', I saw Daddy lyin' / Had to sacrifice and leave my fears behind / The legacy, if it's the last thing I do."

Based on the lyrics, it appears that Beyoncé recorded the song when she was 38 years old in 2019. She co-wrote the song with Atia Boggs, Raphael Sadiqq and Dave Hamelin.

READ MORE: Is country radio refusing to play Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em? The controversy explained

Beyoncé - '16 Carriages' lyrics

CHORUS
Sixteen carriages drivin' away
While I watch them ride with my dreams away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all the tears I fight
Sixteen carriages drivin' away
While I watch them ride with my dreams away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all the tears I fight

VERSE 1
At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray
Had to leave my home at an early age
I saw Mama prayin', I saw Daddy grind
All my tender problems, had to leave behind

PRE-CHORUS
It's been umpteen summers, and I'm not in my bed
On the back of the bus and a bunk with the band
Goin' so hard, gotta choose myself
Undеrpaid and overwhelmed
I might cook, clеan, but still won't fold
Still workin' on my life, you know
Only God knows, only God knows
Only God knows

CHORUS
Sixteen carriages drivin' away
While I watch them ride with my fears away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all the tears I fight
Sixteen carriages drivin' away
While I watch them ride with my fears away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all the tears I fight

VERSE 2
Sixteen dollars, workin' all day
Ain't got time to waste, I got art to make
I got love to create on this holy night
They won't dim my light, all these years I fight

PRE-CHORUS
It's been thirty-eight summers, and I'm not in my bed
On the back of the bus and a bunk with the band
Goin' so hard, now I miss my kids
Overworked and overwhelmed
I might cook, clean, but still won't fold
Still workin' on my life, you know
Only God knows, only God knows
Only God knows

CHORUS
Sixteen carriages driving away
While I watch them ride with my fears away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all the tears I fight
Sixteen carriages driving away
While I watch them ride with my fears away
To the summer sunset on a holy night
On a long back road, all these tears I fight

INTERLUDE
Oh, oh
Oh

BRIDGE
At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray
Had to take care of home at an early age
I saw Mama cryin', I saw Daddy lyin'
Had to sacrifice and leave my fears behind
The legacy, if it's the last thing I do
You'll remember me 'cause we got somethin' to prove
In your memory, on a highway to truth
Still see your faces when you close your eyes

OUTRO
Sixteen carriages drivin' away
While I watch them ride with my dreams away

Read more Beyoncé news here:

WATCH: Netflix's One Day's Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod interview each other

Leo Woodall & Ambika Mod Interview Each Other | Netflix One Day | The Group Chat