Beyonce - Cowboy Carter

Regular price $ 38.99

Two years after conquering the dancefloor with Renaissance, Beyoncé continued her three-act crusade to reclaim genres no longer associated with the Black artistic tradition that invented them. Having put her stamp on house music, she's lassoed country -- and folk, gospel, Americana, and more -- on Act II, Cowboy Carter. A direct claim to her own Southern roots, this isn't the first time Beyoncé has tried her hand at the genre: Lemonade's "Daddy Lessons" more than proved her ability to make any genre her own. Yet the controversy surrounding her 2016 CMA performance with the Chicks was a reminder that there was still a long way to go. And so, fast-forwarding to 2024, she got to work, storming country radio and becoming the first Black woman to top the U.S. country chart with the catchy hoedown "Texas Hold 'Em," which led to a surge in attention for Black female country artists, including Tanner Adell (who appears on a cover of the Beatles' "Blackbird") and the trailblazing Linda Martell, the first Black female artist to grace the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Going all-in with Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé strapped on her boots for a crash course in overlooked American history and her place in it. With plenty to prove, she spends nearly 80 minutes making her case for acceptance -- or simply acknowledgement -- in the lineage, using her own backstory and the help of some famous friends. Rallying listeners with the epic opener "Ameriican Requiem," she presents her Southern bona fides to critics, the same ones who said she "spoke 'too country'" and yet still "wasn't 'country enough'" (even though she previously reminded folks on "Formation" that, "my daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana"), while on the sweeping "16 Carriages," she mourns the loss of youth and innocence after spending a lifetime on the road. She's also aided by country legends Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Martell, who throw their support behind Bey on a series of interludes. "Dolly P" introduces a feisty cover of her classic "Jolene," which finds Beyoncé dragging ol' "Becky with the good hair" back into the crosshairs, making it her own with personal lyrics that resurrect the drama from Lemonade. She returns as hype-woman for the equally saucy "Tyrant," a hip-hop-infused standout that features production by D.A. Got That Dope. Willie drops by for his fictional "Smoke Hour" show, introducing the undeniable "Texas Hold 'Em" and the string-washed "Just for Fun." Meanwhile, Martell ushers in album highlight "Ya Ya," which samples "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and interpolates "Good Vibrations" on a Tina Turner-esque romp that references the actual spelling of her mother's maiden name ("B-E-Y-I-N-C-E"). Later, Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" gets its moment on the Pharrell-produced throbber "Sweet Honey Buckiin." Beyoncé also enlists contemporaries who have made the hop to country, with Miley Cyrus joining "II Most Wanted" and fellow Texan Post Malone duetting on a playfully naughty "Leviis Jeans." While the bulk of Act II sticks to these country-leaning moments, she's savvy to drop a few bars on the brutal "Spaghetti" and returns to the dancefloor on "Riiverdance" to remind listeners (and haters) that this is still a Beyoncé album. With 27 tracks, there's an overwhelming number of self-referential easter eggs and sonic and historical references to digest, which is sure to keep the BeyHive busy for a while and could spawn an entire college course. Cowboy Carter is such a grand statement of intent that it feels like it could be her ultimate say on identity and purpose. The fact that it's coming from outside her usual wheelhouse makes it even more impressive. While it won’t be able to please everyone, that’s not the point: this is an intensely personal statement about reclamation, belonging, and legacy, celebrating the past with hopes of changing the future. One can only hope Act III finds Bey going full rock.

Ameriican Requiem 5:25
Blackbiird 2:12
16 Carriages 3:47
Protector 3:04
My Rose 0:53
Smoke Hour ★ Willie Nelson 0:50
Texas Hold 'Em 3:53
Bodyguard 4:00
Dolly P 0:22
Jolene 3:09
Daughter 3:23
Spaghettii 2:38
Alliigator Tears 2:59
Smoke Hour II 0:29
Just For Fun 3:24
II Most Wanted 3:28
Levii'S Jeans 4:17
Flamenco 1:40
The Linda Martell Show 0:28
Ya Ya 4:34
Oh Louisiana 0:52
Desert Eagle 1:12
Riiverdance 4:12
II Hands II Heaven 5:41
Tyrant 4:10
Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin' 4:56
Amen 2:25