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The Vanguard

Saddle Up for Cowboy Carter – A Beyoncé Album Review

Official Album Cover for Cowboy Carter by Beyoncé

The long-awaited “Cowboy Carter”, Beyoncé’s eighth studio album, was released on March 29, 2024. After teasing the album on Superbowl Sunday with the release of two singles “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “16 CARRIAGES”, the trilogy’s sequel has arrived. Though this album isn’t Beyoncé’s usual R&B, it can be classified as a country album with a hint of folk and pop. Yet, Beyoncé claims it’s not a country album, it’s a mixture of Cajun communities, memories of her upbringing in Texas, and more. It’s her world of all Southern music culture mixed. It comprises 27 songs, running 1 hour and 18 minutes, and features country icons including Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, and even Post Malone.

With all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of this album. I like it, but it’s not one I’d listen to daily. Though I am a big fan of Beyoncé, and she was one of my top artists on Spotify last year, this isn’t the album for me. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m not a big country music fan. Of the 27 songs, only about half the songs stand out to me and I’ll listen to them again. There is a possibility that if I listen to it more, it will grow on me. I think that Beyoncé is a musical phenomenon, as many would agree. Breaking the barriers of the genres she usually stays within, and being a Texan, I think the album is a great new endeavor and opens her to an entirely new fanbase. 

The album begins with “AMERICAN REQUIEM”.  The six-minute opener sets the mood for the album. It’s smooth, and a response to those who doubted her abilities in the country genre. When Beyoncé released “Daddy Lessons” from her “Lemonade” album back in 2016, many were outraged. They claimed that Beyoncé should stick to R&B and Pop. The backlash consisted of extreme country fans claiming that Beyoncé could never sing folk songs and that it’s not her type of music to sing. Beyoncé’s response in this song is a watch-and-see type of message. Some lyrics mention how she was told she speaks “too country” and then when she sings a country song, they say she isn’t country enough. Her message is that her familial roots are planted deep in southern soil, and the music of her heritage will be heard regardless of how people feel about her genre switch. 

What I can appreciate about Beyoncé is that she’s a force. In interviews, you see she is a shy woman in reality and breaks out of that as she performs. The way she can respond to hate in such a classy way, and release it just shows a lot. I think it’s funny that she can make a profit off people’s hatred because she is ultimately spreading love and enjoyment with her music. Another creative thing I noticed on the album’s tracklist is that when a song has the letter I in a word, she will put two I’s because it is ACT II. For example, “AMERIICAN REQUIEM”, “ALLIIGATOR TEARS”, “LEVII’S JEANS”, etc. 

Some songs I liked were “BODYGUARD”, “16 CARRIAGES”, “YA YA”, “TYRANT”, “II MOST WANTED”, and “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM”. I think I gravitated to some of these songs for a plethora of reasons. Some are just so beautiful with the harmonizing like “II MOST WANTED” featuring Miley Cyrus, or like “YA YA”, where she sampled Good Vibrations and These Boots Are Made for Walkin’. 

The entire album is a great mixture. There isn’t one singular vibe because a song will start a certain way, and then completely switch up in the middle of it. I feel it’s a very creative blend, and features icons in the country world. The famous Dolly Parton is featured on this album where the interlude “DOLLY P” is Parton telling Beyoncé about this woman she used to know with auburn hair, and then fades into “JOLENE”. In this version of the famous song, Beyoncé warned Jolene to stay away from her man, unlike the original “Jolene” where it was more of a begging situation. 

Overall, I feel like I would give this album a 7/10. Of course, this is just my personal opinion but there were some skips for me. I can appreciate the creative mindset Beyoncé had with this album. I understand that she wanted to take a different approach to your usual country album. She had fun with it and honored her familial past in country music, as well as honoring the country icons that made it possible for her to release an album in this genre.

I’m excited for Act III of the trilogy, though there is no information about it yet. I hope it’s a rock album because then I’d run to listen and review it. We all know Beyoncé has an extremely impressive vocal range, and we know how she sounds when she’s angry in a song. Imagine an entire album like that, it would be insane. Unfortunately, when that time comes I will have graduated which is a bummer, but I’ll be streaming it wherever I am in college.

You can give “Cowboy Carter” a listen on all streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, and Pandora.

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About the Contributor
Layah Eastmond
Layah Eastmond, Staff Reporter
Current Senior, Layah Eastmond, a first time staffer on the LTHS Newspaper team, completed the Vanguard News internship a year prior. Originally from California, Eastmond grew up watching shows like Stranger Things which inspired her to get into acting. She plans to travel abroad to Europe after graduation in order to pursue a future career in the acting/entertainment field. She is currently a part of the Varsity cheer team and in her free time, works at a popular French Bistro. Eastmond specializes in writing timely pieces, ranging from reviewing events in the media to writing about current school events going on at LT.  Contact: l[email protected]

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