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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

On Mar. 29, 2024, Beyoncé once again proved she can run the world with the release of her most recent album, COWBOY CARTER. The buzz around the album deals with its reclamation of country music and the sheer uniqueness every track brings to her greatly-anticipated second installment. COWBOY CARTER has its fair share of features, but what’s even more telling than the album’s genre-defying tracks are the musical nods to other classic artists. Whether it’s the obvious incorporations of a Beach Boys hit or the methodical background track of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” COWBOY CARTER is a celebration of truth: there are no boundaries in music. 

With one track in particular, Beyoncé provided every music lover’s dream. Here are three musical easter eggs referenced or featured in COWBOY CARTER’s 20th track, “YA YA”.

“Good Vibrations”
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (Official Music Video) via YouTube

The most obvious of these references is Beyoncé’s sampling of a classic summer beach song, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys. Released in 1966, it too was once a unique arrangement of old-school inspirations and a new artist’s interpretations of them. One of the most distinct aspects of this song is the vocal harmonies in the opening notes. Brian Wilson, co-founder of The Beach Boys and generally considered to be the mastermind behind most of their work, took inspiration from The Four Freshmen, a male vocal quartet, for the creation of these harmonies. Given the song’s everlasting airplay, it’s safe to say that mixing the old into the new will never go out of style. Beyoncé’s sampling of “Good Vibrations” may serve as inspiration for more original ideas in the future. 

“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Official Music Video) via YouTube

I will be the first to say that I love Nancy Sinatra. Though her father being none other than my favorite crooner may factor into that opinion, there’s no denying that her boots were made for walking. “YA YA” samples the background beat of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and allows it to be a transition, beginning the song with the signature beat of heels on the floor. 

When Nancy recorded the song, she had to convince Lee Hazelwood, the writer of the song, to let a woman sing it. According to American Songwriter, Sinatra commented, “Coming from a guy, [it] was harsh and abusive, but was perfect for a little girl to sing.” Sinatra’s commitment to renovating the song into the iconic female anthem it has become saved “These Boots Are Made For Walking” from suffering the same fate as The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb”. Sinatra scored one for taking back feminine power, and if that isn’t an ideology Beyoncé stands for in COWBOY CARTER, I don’t know what is. 

“Love IS Strange”
“Love Is Strange” in Dirty Dancing via YouTube

Finally, though it is no 1960s chart topper or fashion-savvy feminist anthem, “Love Is Strange,” recorded by Mickey & Sylvia, is a pop culture classic. It’s most famous for its feature in “Dirty Dancing” during an improvised scene between the main couple that has become one of the most recognizable moments from the movie. To conclude “YA YA’s” indulgent mixture of references, layered musical tracks, and fun lyrics, Beyoncé references the iconic “Oh Loverboy!” call from Sylvia to Mickey as a final sweet, tongue-in-cheek reference to another time. 

Overall, “YA YA” brings the energy of COWBOY CARTER to a previously unseen height, and creates an entertaining dance mashup with the best of the past and a little something new from the present.

Hadley is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida majoring in Writing and Rhetoric, with a minor in Creative Writing. They love collecting records, thrifting, writing about music, and re-watching NBC Hannibal. You can probably find them sipping a lavender latte, daydreaming about next year's Spotify Wrapped, and pretending they live in the 70s.