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This Ain’t Beyoncé

NPR
NPR

What do you think when you first hear Beyoncé? Is it her chart-topping pop singles like “Single Ladies,” “Cuff It,” or “Crazy in Love?” Or maybe her slow-down ballads expressing her hardships like “If I Were a Boy” and “Halo” come to mind. Or possibly you imagine her rhythm and blues songs influenced by her culture and experience as an African American such as “Flawless,” “Partition,” and many others. However, on March 29, Beyoncé reinvented herself, straying away from the styles she worked with throughout her career thus far and experimenting with a new genre, a country western album called Cowboy Carter.

Yet, even in her transition to country, Beyoncé strives to be different. Cowboy Carter is not a traditional country album focused on themes of love, heartbreak, or drinking a beer. Rather, Beyoncé uses this album to pay homage and respect to her Texan upbringing –– like a love letter to her youth. Before becoming a superstar celebrity, Beyoncé grew up in Houston, Texas. This sentiment and admiration for her southern roots are further cemented through the album opener “American Requiem,” where she sings “Used to say I spoke ‘Too country’ and the rejection came, said I wasn’t ‘country ‘nough.’ Said I wouldn’t saddle up but if that ain’t country, tell me what is?” Even in this album opener, she speaks about her experiences living in the south in a traditional country and soulful way.

Cowboy Carter follows Beyoncé’s wide range of songwriting and production. The 27-song album has a perfect balance between upbeat pop songs like “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “Bodyguard” with personal ballads, such as “16 Carriages” and “American Requiem” while also adding bits of hip-hop and R&B through songs like: “Tyrant” and “Spaghetti.” The album proves an interesting opportunity for Beyoncé to release a cover of another artist’s song. On the album, Beyoncé covers “Black Bird” by the Beatles and “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, making it her mission to pay respect to the original songs while adapting them to her younger audience. She does this perfectly by adding extra harmonies not present in the original songs along with her signature riffs and ad-libs. The variety of songs on the album ultimately creates a perfectly balanced tracklist for all Beyoncé fans and newcomers to find something appealing.

Beyoncé continues to reinvent herself from the norm of her other albums by collaborating with new musicians and artists to create this country masterpiece. On “Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé features famous country music stars like Tanner Addlel, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton. Beyoncé believes that if she was going to do country, she was going to do country right by featuring country music superstars. Beyoncé did not just stop with country stars; she also collaborated with other well-known artists and pop divas like Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears to attract pop listeners. 

Overall, this album should and will join the ranks of Beyoncé’s other hit albums for masterfully intertwining pop, rap, soulful, and eclectic dance music with a beautiful country undertone. This album welcomes new listeners while also keeping old fans pleased and gives Beyoncé the unique opportunity to explore a new genre. Moreover, it proves that she is truly an all-around artist. 

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About the Contributor
Meier Turboff
Meier Turboff, Reporter
Meier Turboff is a junior at The Emery/Weiner School, this is his first year writing for the 9825. Meier is heavily involved in the Emery theater program, performing in two shows per school year, being a member of the International Thespian Society (ITS), and assistant directing the middle school musical. Outside of theater, Meier is a Blue Monday Officer on the Emery Booster Club (EBC) board, where he plans fun events for Ma'amad and athletics.  

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