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Beyonce - Cowboy Carter

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 4 / 5 / 2024

Beyonce - Cowboy Carter
Label: RCA
Format: CD


Surprising new album from Beyonce which confounds expectations by combining elements of country rock with her roots in R and B and dance

There has been huge hype over the decision by Beyonce Knowles, one of the world's biggest-selling pop stars, to make her first full-length foray into country music with her new album, ‘Cowboy Carter’. To ensure nobody misses the point, the record's sleeve depicts Beyonce as a rodeo queen perched side-saddle atop a magnificent white horse! The new album opens with ‘Ameriican Requiem’ (the odd spelling is hers) where Beyonce drawls, “Got folks down in Galveston, rooted in Louisiana....They used to say I spoke too country.....” - and this sets the tone for an epic 80 minute gallop through American musical history that sometimes feels more like a series of hit tunes from a Western-style Broadway musical than a pop album - but the quality is high throughout! Texas-born Beyonce is now 42 and she has come a long way since first making her name with slick R & B trio Destiny's Child. However, she says her earliest musical memories were visits to the Houston Rodeo where she was exposed to country music, folk songs and 1950s rhythm and blues. She actually sang at the Rodeo four times and claims she has always taken inspiration from southern culture - including fashion as well as music. So she feels ‘Cowboy Carter’ is a way of returning to these roots. The new album certainly has a kaleidoscopic array of different sounds. Where her 2022 album ‘Renaissance’ focussed on electronic dance rhythms, ‘Cowboy Carter’ features gentle acoustic strumming, pedal steel guitar, accordion, fiddle and banjo plus handclapping, boot stomping on wooden floors and even Beyonce's long fingernails used as a percussion instrument! It isn't just a country record – and Beyonce has been keen to stress it is simply a Beyonce album. Amidst the loud yee-haws and fiddles there are pieces of country rock as well as reminders of her background in R & B and dance. The album's southern credentials are enhanced by appearances from Nashville giants Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton - though throughout there is never any doubt that this is Beyonce's record - and her powerful, versatile voice dominates. She positively shines on acoustic hoedown ‘Texas Hold 'Em’ whilst, by contrast, she delivers a perfect harmony-rich cover of Paul McCartney's ‘Blackbird’ from The Beatles' ‘White Album’ - which Paul once explained was partly inspired by racial segregation in the 1960s American South. Dolly Parton speaks - “Hey, Miss Honey B, it's Dolly P” - before a version of her classic ‘Jolene’ and ‘Ya Ya’ opens with a sample of Nancy Sinatra's ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin' and then heads off into The Beach Boys' ‘Good Vibrations’. Beyonce has said, “The great joy of music is that there are no rules, genres can run one into another” and “Cowbow Carter” certainly confirms this point. In this new and very different album, Beyonce has succeeded in confounding many expectations, co-writing some superb new songs and delivering them plus many classics with dazzling aplomb!

Track Listing:-
1 Ameriican Requiem
2 Blackbiird
3 16 Carriages
4 Protector
5 My Rose
6 Smoke Hour ★ Willie Nelson
7 Texas Hold 'Em
8 Bodyguard
9 Dolly P
10 Jolene
11 Daughter
12 Alliigator Tears
13 Smoke Hour II
14 Just For Fun
15 II Most Wanted
16 Levii's Jeans
17 Flamenco
18 Desert Eagle
19 Riiverdance
20 II Hands II Heaven
21 Tyrant
22 Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin'

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