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Album Review: Beyonce Goes Country

By Brooklyn Toney--Eagle Staff Writer

The cover art for "16 Carriages", the second single to Cowboy Carter. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

Just months after wrapping up her world tour, releasing a documentary film, and launching a perfume and hair care line, Beyonce is back in action with the release of her second act of Renaissance. While watching Super Bowl LVIII, most fans were shocked to see the artist starring in a Super Bowl commercial with Verizon. 

Cowboy Carter is the eighth studio album by the artist and consists of 27 tracks. It is the second of three trilogy albums, following Renaissance. The album is what the artist described as a “reinvention of Americana." Although it has been labeled as a country album, the artist explores musical genres including pop, trap, rock, soul, and folk music with the new album.

In a brief instagram post on March 19, the artist reflects on her first country debut performance and the backlash that she had received. She states, “This album has been over five years in the making. It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that I wasn’t.” 

Eight years ago, on November 2, 2016, the singer performed her first country single, “Daddy Lessons'' at the 50th annual Country Music Awards with the Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks). Although the performance gave the Country Music Association Awards their highest viewership in history, the performance was met with a lot of backlash, with some country music fans displeased that she was even invited to perform.

Viewers argued that Black artists had no place in the country music genre. Many even went out of their way to incite a new hashtag called, #BoycottCMA. As a result of the racist remarks, the Country Music Association had reportedly decided to remove any traces of Beyonce and the Chicks’ performance from their social media accounts and website.

Through the album she explored the history of country music and its African American roots. In Cowboy Carter the artist highlights underrated Black country artists such as Shaboozey, Willie Jones, Reyna Roberts, Tiera Kennedy, Tanner Adell, and Brittney Spencer. In addition to the many up and coming artists featured, the singer made sure to commemorate a few other important pioneers in the music industry.

In track two, the artist performs her own rendition of “Blackbird”, a song originally performed by the Beatles. Member Paul McCartney had explained that the song was inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, but more specifically the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who were the first to enroll in an all-white high school. The song features country artists Tiera Kennedy, Tanner Adell, Reyna Roberts, and Brittney Spencer.

In addition to “Blackbird”, the singer had sampled other iconic hits such as her own rendition of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. The cover was well done and another notable tribute to older country singers who’ve shaped the country genre. Parton also makes an appearance once more as a disc jockey in the interlude, “Dolly P”.

Cowboy Carter's sadle symbolizes the harmonious fusion of the artist's country roots. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

“Texas Hold’Em” is the seventh track on the album and is known to be the “fan favorite” on all social media platforms leading up to the release. The song is so memorable that it even has its own line dance on the social media platform TikTok. It has a high energy tune and a classic country style.

Overall, the album defeats all of the stereotypes made by the public leading up to the album's release. In Cowboy Carter, she showcases the country genre while also incorporating other musical styles. It shows her versatility as an artist whose main genre is everything from country. The compilation furthermore serves as a captivating exploration of her Houston heritage, while shedding light on the profound African influences within the country music genre.

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