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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Beyoncé’s latest album grabs country music by the reins

Brooklyn Leighton

Legendary singer Beyoncé captivated fans with the release of her highly anticipated eighth studio album “COWBOY CARTER”  March 30. 

Totaling 27 tracks, “COWBOY CARTER” creates its own personal sound with a hefty blend of country, R&B, classic rock, hip-hop, house, blues, gospel, opera and more. 

The album is the second in a trilogy release planned by the artist. “Renaissance,” released in 2022 and the first of the three, is a celebration of self-expression and Black queer culture. While also building on sounds from history and her past, this latest release explores new limits of what the music industry rejected for so long. 

This isn’t Beyoncé’s first rodeo when it comes to exploring country music. In 2016, she collaborated with country group The Chicks on a track titled “Daddy’s Lessons,” released on “Lemonade.” 

That same year, she joined the group on stage at the Country Music Awards in a surprise performance of the song. The performance unfortunately received criticism from some country music fans, including extremely racist remarks.

The years of work paid off with a roster of jam-packed features including icons Willie Nelson, who voices a radio host through the album, Linda Martell, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus and many more. 

Off the bat, some of the standout tracks are “AMERIICAN REQUIEM,” “BLACKBIIRD,” “PROTECTOR,” “II MOST WANTED,” “YA YA” and “JOLENE.” Overflowing with emotion and pure passion, these set the tone for the Americana album.

“AMERIICAN REQUIEM” explains the purpose of the project, clearing any past ideas about Beyoncé being “not country enough.” Proudly reminding everyone of her family’s Southern heritage, she proves she’s here to shake the country music industry. 

“YA YA” joins further down the tracklist, sampling Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” “YA YA” paints the scene for fans with a fun and flirty Western theme.

Two covers, “BLACKBIIRD” and “JOLENE,” appear on the first half of the album, packing a punch with modern renditions of the well-known songs. 

“BLACKBIIRD,” a Beatles cover, features up-and-coming Black female country artists Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts. The cover is truly something special and easily one of the sweetest messages of the project. 

“JOLENE,” a cover of none other than music legend Parton’s original, brings back the energy from “Lemonade.” With her exciting modern spin, Beyoncé successfully brings back the 1974 anthem exactly 50 years later. No worry for the classic country fans, Parton is also a part of “TYRANT” and even an interlude titled “DOLLY P.”

Throughout this album, Beyoncé loves hard. In “PROTECTOR,” featuring her daughter, Rumi Carter, she beautifully expresses that she will forever be her daughter’s protector in the form of a lullaby. On the other hand, in “II MOST WANTED,” Cyrus joins this heartfelt duet as the two reflect on what it’s like to fall in love too young. In blending different music genres, Beyoncé was also able to blend her different genres of love.

Referenced throughout the album, Martell is a retired country singer who made history in 1969 for being the first Black female singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Even though she was met with success, she was dropped by her record label after the release of her debut album and has since spoken out about the racism and criticism she experienced in her career.

Martell makes it onto three tracks:  “SPAGHETTII,” “SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’” and the interlude “THE LINDA MARTELL SHOW.” With hip-hop country singer Shaboozey joining the two songs, Beyoncé needs listeners to know that no genre is safe from her experimentation.

Even though “COWBOY CARTER” has country themes, there is no shortage of her usual roundup of playful, sexier songs. “BODYGUARD,” “DESERT EAGLE,” “TYRANT” and “SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’” bring pops of bass and fun that encourage listeners to join in her sound.

The singles, “16 CARRIAGES” and “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” still stand incredibly strong on the album even after being previously released. “16 CARRIAGES” is still one of the most moving songs off the tracklist, being an incredibly emotional country ballad about her childhood and rise to fame.

With each song being so different from one another, it proves Beyoncé is here to plant roots in every corner of the music industry. From Italian opera to traditional southern boot stomping, “COWBOY CARTER” stands as a project that has been long overdue.

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About the Contributor
Brooklyn Leighton
Brooklyn Leighton, Opinion Editor | she/her
Brooklyn is a junior English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in journalism from Falmouth, Massachusetts. When she isn’t writing poetry and prose, she is listening to Taylor Swift, watching Marvel movies, or reading. She loves cats, baking, history and spending time with her friends. After graduation, she plans on becoming an author and literary agent. 

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