Beyoncé's "Cowboy Carter" Track "Alliigator Tears" Is Filled With Hidden Meaning

"Alliigator tears" has fans speculating about who exactly Beyoncé might be describing as a hypocrite.


Mar. 29 2024, Published 10:54 a.m. ET

Beyonce and Jay-Z at the 66th Grammy Awards.
Source: Getty Images

As fans pour over every detail of Beyoncé's new album "Cowboy Carter," some are speculating about who may be featured on the album while others are more focused on understanding the deeper meaning behind the album's many songs. One song, in particular, that has drawn the attention of fans is "Alliigator Tears," the album's 13th track.

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The phrase "alligator tears" has a pretty distinct meaning, and Beyoncé uses that meaning to her own ends. Here's what we know about "Alliigator Tears" and the deeper meaning behind the track.

Beyonce in New York City wearing a cowboy hat in February 2024.
Source: Getty Images
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What is the meaning behind 'Alliigator Tears?'

"Alliigator Tears" is a kind of tortured love song. It's about loving someone so much that it almost doesn't matter how they behave. You will continue loving them regardless of what they do.

"Oh, dear, you and your alligator tears / Works me over and through" the first verse says.

The phrase "alligator tears" is referenced repeatedly over the course of the song, and is a reference to a fairly common phrase.

"Alligator" or "crocodile tears" generally refer to tears that are being shed by a hypocrite, or by someone who doesn't feel genuinely guilty about the choices that they have made. The phrase is a reference to the fact that crocodiles and alligators often seem to be crying as they consume their prey, as if they are eating their victims but are also sad that they had to, which is in and of itself hypocritical.

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In the case of Beyoncé's song, she seems to be suggesting that the person she loves is not actually sincere and that he is merely putting on a performance to suggest that he feels some level of guilt.

"You say move a mountain / And I'll throw on my boots / You say stop the river from runnin' / I'll build a dam or two / You say change religions / Now I spend Sundays with you / Somethin' 'bout those tears of yours / How does it feel to be adored?" the song's chorus explains.

Source: YouTube
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Clearly, Beyoncé feels that the person she is singing about is using her love against her and taking advantage of her devotion.

Of course, given that she is married to Jay-Z, many naturally wonder whether this song and every other song about love on her albums are about him. It's certainly possible that she feels this way about Jay-Z, but it's also possible that the song is trying to get at something deeper.

Regardless of whether the song is referring to her real life or not, it's clearly supposed to be about someone who is taking advantage of another person's love, and crying fake tears to earn sympathy.

"Alliigator tears" have long been a potent metaphor for people who behave badly and then expect sympathy. Now, Beyoncé has applied that metaphor to one of the songs on her new album, and fans are eager to uncover every detail of the metaphor's usage and the implications behind it.

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