The Wingspan

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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

Cowboy Carter: Album review

On March 24, 2024, renowned singer-songwriter, Beyoncé, took headlines for revamping her musical career with the release of Cowboy Carter, receiving an equilibrium of both praise and critique. 

Cowboy Carter is an album jam-packed with a blend of Beyoncé’s traditional soulful vocals and country-style instrumentals that put the singer under a whole new spotlight. Her collaborations with other notable artists, such as Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, add to the appeal of the album. 

When Beyoncé’s first two songs from the album premiered during the 2024 Super Bowl LVIII (“Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages”), she gained prominent social media attention for the surprise announcement that heightened the anticipation for the album.

Within just the first few weeks of the album’s release, Beyoncé rose to the top of the charts, winning No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 for the eighth time, becoming the first Black woman to be featured on Billboard’s Top Country Albums, and having the biggest debut for an album in 2024 so far.  

“Her new songs are really different, but in a good way,” said sophomore Aditi Gunasekar. “I like how she’s trying new things with her music by going into country. And personally, I think her voice really suits the style of that genre as well.”

But not everyone has positive things to say about Cowboy Carter. One sector of listeners believe that the album does not live up to the hype, with a review by the Washington Post calling it “worse” than a country album. Additionally, her rewrite of “Jolene” received criticism for having lyrics that came off as much more confrontational than Dolly Parton’s original version.

Beyoncé said the album “was born out of an experience that [she] had years ago where [she] did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that [she] wasn’t.”

The experience she referenced is most likely her performance with The Chicks at the 2016 Country Music Awards, which was responded to with racial hate—both in person and on social media. This extreme lack of acceptance and racist vitriol propelled Beyonce to make a statement about musical genres and their limitations, which she reflected on in an interview with The Hill this year.

“The mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant…the criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me.”

Despite the mixed opinions with the release of this album, a glaring message goes amiss. Cowboy Carter was not proof of a successful future in just country music—it was proof that artists should be encouraged to step outside of the boxes drawn for them in the music industry. By playing with themes through adding diverse supplemental tracks, such as an opera song and a rap, Beyoncé makes the statement that any artist would be debilitated if confined to only one single genre. 


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About the Contributors
Shruthe Yoagentharan, Feature Writer
Annabelle Mallios, Feature Writer