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This Ain’t a Country Album Review, it’s a Beyoncé Album Review

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

You must be living under a rock if you weren’t aware that Beyoncé just released a new album. With 27 tracks and a 78-minute runtime, COWBOY CARTER has definitely made an impact within its first few weeks of streaming. After having it on repeat (practically every day since its release), I’m continuously left speechless. This might be some of the best work we have seen from the 32-time Grammy winner. 

Ten days before the album was released, Beyoncé stated in an Instagram post, “This ain’t a Country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album.”  It is evident that COWBOY CARTER is a melting pot of genres, not adhering to one simple idea or sound. The song “SPAGHETTII” starts with a quote from Linda Martell: “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they? In theory, they have a simple definition that’s easy to understand; but in practice, well, some may feel confined.” While the album does revolve around a base genre of country, it truly blends pop, R&B, rap, folk, and more, together. She makes the listener question what can be and will be considered country music. 

Much like her previous album, RENAISSANCE, COWBOY CARTER is an anthology of music. Both albums collect music from all decades and subgenres to piece together one beautiful body of work. I truly believe that this is an Americana album. Americana is a genre that has roots in early folk and country music; but, it can also be associated with the culture and history of America, especially the United States. In the song “YA YA,” one can hear Beyoncé say, “From Texas, to Gary, all the way down to New York City.” These three cities are known to be the birth of famous genres: country (Texas), rock n’ roll (Gary), and house (New York City). Furthermore, in “AMERIICAN REQUIEM,” the singer is recalling not only her experience within the country genre, but the history of country music. A requiem is a remembrance, but specifically, it’s a musical remembrance of the dead. She could be recalling her infamous 2016 CMA performance, but she also could be recalling the history of black musicians in country music. Black musicians are noted for pioneering the genre of country music, yet they’re rarely recognized today.  While she sings, “It’s a lot of talkin’ goin’ on / While I sing my song / Can you hear me? / I said, ‘Do you hear me?,” she’s trying to get the listener to pay close attention to this song and the entire album. This album honors those in the past, but also those who are rising stars.

Since its release, there’s been a lot of praise for this album; but there is one consistent argument that has been flooding social media. Some argue that the album, and Beyoncé, lack creativity due to having multiple songwriters on one song and throughout the album. However, I disagree with this argument. While it’s impressive to see one or two people write an entire album, it’s equally as impressive and fascinating to see so many creatives– some who you wouldn’t imagine on a Beyoncé track– work together.

This album reminds listeners that Beyoncé is a master curator. She’s able to compile an amazing body of work, with multiple creatives, and tell an exact story. I love how the album starts off slower and more traditional country, but as it progresses, it becomes increasingly experimental. The seamless transitions from “RIIVERDANCE” to “TYRANT” shock me every time. Even more shocking (but equally beautiful), was the operatic section of “DAUGHTER.” Also I love how the icon took the classics “JOLENE” and “BLACKBIIRD” and made them her own, while still honoring the originals. I foresee this album being on repeat for a very long time. Right now, my favorite song has to be “II HANDS II HEAVEN,” but every song is truly spectacular. COWBOY CARTER is available on all streaming platforms!

PK Kennedy is an active member within Her Campus at Pace. They are a social media assistant and help oversee Her Campus at Pace’s Pinterest account and write weekly articles focusing on, but not limited to, local events, music, and film/television pieces. Outside of Her Campus, PK is a senior at Pace University (NYC) and is majoring in Communications and Media Studies with a double minor in Digital Marketing and Arts and Entertainment Management. Recently, PK has been delving into multiple social media and design platforms to further their knowledge about digital marketing. During this school year, and beyond graduation, they hope to continue to learn more about photoshop and video editing software. Beyond school, PK enjoys listening and discovering new music, enjoying a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, having hour-long conversations about Star Wars and/or Marvel. If not doing any of the items listed above, PK is most definitely “rotting” in bed and gaining more knowledge about astrology and rewatching their favorite movie/TV shows again.