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Beyoncé's 'Cowboy Carter' Will Be Hard To Top

Beyoncé's newest album is a venture into country music while remaining true to the artist that Beyoncé is. I am not going to act like I'm the biggest Beyoncé fan. I barely listen to her and mostly only know her hits. This album intrigued me because of her two lead singles "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" and "16 CARRIAGES" which she released on Super Bowl Sunday to coincide with a Super Bowl ad with Verizon. Those two singles were great, one being the more radio-friendly song and the other being more of a ballad. Those two songs had me anticipating an album in a dry music market. Safe to say, I was not disappointed by the product she put out.


COWBOY CARTER cover
via Columbia Records

From the first track on the album "AMERIICAN REQUIEM", Beyoncé shows us what we are in store for on this album without not showing too much. It's a great introduction and was carefully crafted to have it at the start of the album. The next track is a rendition of The Beatles' song "Blackbird", where she has multiple black women country artists and uses the old song to use it to show the isolation especially black country artists feel in the country genre.


Beyoncé for COWBOY CARTER
via Pamela Hanson / W Magazine

Like I said in my opening paragraph, one of the main reasons I was intrigued by this album was because of the two lead singles. Mostly I was talking about "16 CARRIAGES", which is my favorite song of the year so far. It's a song that I could have on repeat for a while and not get tired of it. Then we get into "PROTECTOR" with her daughter Rumi Carter, which is probably the weakest track on the album for me. I don't dislike any song on this album but I find myself going back to this one the least, but it isn't a bad song at all.


Beyoncé with Blue Ivy and Rumi Carter
via Ivy Park's Twitter

After two short tracks, one being an interlude and another track paying respect to Willie Nelson, we get "TEXAS HOLD 'EM", definitely the most popular song on the album and one of the lead singles she dropped on Super Bowl Sunday. It's my least favorite out of the two singles but it's still a fun song and I can see why it is as popular as it is. "BODYGUARD" continues the same vibes as the song before it and eight tracks in, no song has disappointed.



We then get an interlude from Dolly Parton that leads into Beyoncé's rendition of Dolly Parton's "JOLENE", it tackles the same topic as the original but she has a different approach to dealing with it. Beyoncé gives more of an aggressive approach to the woman she is talking to compared to Dolly Parton being softer in the same situation. All in all, it's one of the best songs on the project and it works well. "DAUGTHER" brings down the mood from the previous song and while it is not one of my favorites on the album, it's not a song that I would say is bad.



"SPAGHETTII" brings another vibe switch in the last three songs with a more hip-hop-fused song with another black country artist Shaboozey. It also has Linda Martell at the beginning of the song, the first commercially successful black female artist in country music. We get Beyoncé rapping on this track and it sounds good and is one of my favorite songs on the whole album and Shaboozey shines on this track. "ALLIGATOR TEARS" brings more of the mellow vibe back that we had two tracks before. This album doesn't just have one sound and that's a good thing, let artists be versatile and try new things. I'm glad Beyoncé did this on her new album.


Beyonce COWBOY CARTER promo
via Blair Caldwell

Another Willie Nelson interlude down, and we are into another segment of this 27-track album. This album is a long one, but it doesn't feel long, which is a sign of a great album. "JUST FOR FUN", "II MOST WANTED", and "LEVII'S JEANS" all accompany the same vibe and are all great in their own right. I was surprised that I liked both Miley's and Post's features as much as I did since I am not the biggest fan of either's music. They brought their A-game with this one and the songs that they are in are two of my favorite songs on the entire album.


Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus
via Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

"FLAMENCO" and "THE LINDA MARTELL SHOW" are some more interludes, an integral part of this album. "YA YA" is a song that covers a range of genres like Linda Martell said in the track before it, and it works. One of the more upbeat songs on the project and one of the best songs on the album, in my opinion. "OH LOUISANA" and "DESERT EAGLE" are both a short interlude and a song that takes us right into the last stretch of the album.



"RIIVERDANCE" is a good start to the final stretch and helps the album land and not falter in the final tracks. "II HANDS II HEAVEN" is a more mellow track but the production and vocals sound great, and it ends up being a top song for me on the album. "TYRANT" has one of the best beats on the entire album and Beyoncé does it justice. Again, there is another top-tier song on this album. "SWEET HONEY BUCKIIN'" is like three songs into one and is a whirlwind, each word being its sound and bringing some different to the track. The 27th and final track of the album "AMEN" ends the album perfectly and gives off the same vibe as the introduction track. And the album ends with the same concept as when it started. Even though there is no central sound to this album and seemingly no concept, Beyoncé ties it off to make it seem that way.


Beyoncé for COWBOY CARTER
via Blair Cadwell

It's pretty clear where I stand on this album, I believe it is an instant classic and one of the better albums I've heard in recent memory. I'm not even a big Beyoncé fan but this album made me much more of a fan. She is an artist who could never be trapped in any genre and can always push her music forward. COWBOY CARTER is a masterful album and is my current frontrunner for Album of the Year.


Best Songs: 16 CARRIAGES, JOLENE, SPAGHETII, II MOST WANTED, LEVII'S JEANS, YA YA, II HANDS II HEAVEN, TYRANT, AMEN


Worst Song: PROTECTOR


9/10





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