Beyonce Carter Knowles released her eighth studio album March 29, and I listened to it all the way through on March 29. First off, I’m no die hard Beyonce fan. Beyonce is Beyonce though, and there’s no disputing it. Second, Beyoncé releasing a country album — let alone a country album that has been in the works for five years — is something I couldn’t very well miss out on. Cowboy Carter is act two of the album trilogy following Renaissance. She told Rolling Stone that this album was intended to be act one, but she recorded it during the pandemic. Once the tracks were laid, she felt the world needed more upbeat music at that point in time. 

She also told Rolling Stone that it wasn’t a country album, but a Beyonce album. She said creating the album was about testing her creative abilities and her skills at blending music. The album blends genres like country (obviously), rock, pop, hip hop, blues, and funk, with guest vocals from country greats Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Linda Martell. Beyonce also includes lesser known country artists like Tanner Adell, Shaboozey and Brittney Spencer as features. 

The big names and star power alone on this album is enough to make me want to listen, but there was so much creative mind power put into this album. Cowboy Carter was born from a snub of her original country track, “Daddy Lessons,” at the Country Music Awards in 2016. Country music fans criticized Beyonce’s performance of the song with The Chicks at the 50th CMAs, saying she didn’t belong in the genre. As a result, the performance was scrubbed from the Country Music Association’s website and socials. Cowboy Carter is Beyonce’s rebuttal. The critics can argue that she doesn’t belong in the genre, but her point has been proven. 

Anyway, I was on pins and needles waiting for this album, as many others were. “Texas Hold’em” and “16 Carriages” piqued the interests of many when the two were simultaneously released as singles. Fans could cling onto those two songs until March 29 arrived, and both make my favorites list for this album. I’ve fully listened all the way through the album once, then went back to cherry pick my favorites. Some of the 27 songs are interludes with Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, who act as emcees of the album. There’s so much to say about Cowboy Carter, but its time to make it all about me and list my favorite songs from the album. 



This co-single is a tale that I envision as an old western with horse drawn carriages and downtrodden times. I think the storytelling is why I like it so much. It has a lot of powerful elements, and the messaging and vocals of Beyonce really draw out the emotions of the listener.


It’s the most country upbeat yeehaw song, and its tailor-made for overplaying on the radio. It’s the perfect single. It has the obvious country sound and messaging, the formulaic pop sound for the radio and innovation. 


The “Blackbird” cover was highly anticipated. As a Beatles lover, I was excited to hear Beyonce’s rendition of this song. It’s the second song on the album, and it features Tanner Adell and Brittney Spencer. There will certainly be an argument between Beyonce stans and die hard Beatle brigaders about which once is better. I don’t have any musical qualities to decide which version is superior, but I can definitively say that I like Beyonce’s version. The harmony of Adell and Spencer with Beyonce can only be described as smooth. The original is iconic, but Beyonce brings a whole new element. Die hard Beatles lovers can soak in the full circle moment the song has arrived at here and now. “Blackbird” was originally written during the Civil Rights Movement for the black people, specifically black women, who have been affected by racial tensions. A black woman covering a song about racial discrimination on an album made in response to being stonewalled by the country music genre is a powerful message.


“Bodyguard” will probably be stuck in my head forever. It has a calming tone with a beat that has me wanting to dance. I just picture rom-com scenes in my head when I listen to it. The song refers to doing anything for the someone you love … hence, the title “Bodyguard.” 


This cover was also highly anticipated and brings new lyrics to Dolly’s iconic song. Beyonce’s lyrics add more confidence while standing up to Jolene than were heard in the original track. Dolly talks of Jolene’s beauty being beyond compare and how she can’t compete with it. Beyonce’s “Jolene” is desperate, and Beyonce knows her worth in comparison. Beyond the songs, Beyonce’s “Jolene” hits the same way as Dolly’s. Once you get to Beyonce singing about being from “Louisiane,” the sound and twang of southern pronunciation hits right in the sweet spot. It has you wanting to play those 10 seconds over and over like its scratching an itch you can’t reach.


Speaking of scratching itches you can’t reach, Levi’s Jeans has parts you’ll play over and over. Levi’s Jeans had me moving from the first note. It’s just one of those songs that you want to dance or at least bob your head to. Then, Beyonce makes a Lady Marmalade reference with the “Mocha choca latte” lyric that hits your soul deeply. I replay this song over and over to hear that part. On top of all that it features, as some described it on twitter, a “clean” Post Malone. I won’t deny that he does sound smooth like butter when he enters. 


This song precedes “Levi’s Jeans,” and its my favorite section of the album. Miley brings the edge and rock to the song and, of course, the two sound amazing together. It’s a slow song, but it has a strong sing-along pull. The song is about friendship, with friends promising to be each others’ “shotgun rider.” It’s the perfect song for best friends to blast in the car and scream sing to together.


This song will have you moving. This was the first song I went back to after listening all the way through. Actually, I might have immediately put it on repeat before continuing to the rest of the songs. It starts off beautifully, with angelic voices before the beat drops. It’s all up from there, with a folky violin driving the vibe. It’s definitely a song to feel good and dance to. 


I don’t know if I can make a definitive list, because I might just list all 27 songs. I keep listening to them all, even the interludes, and find myself wanting to add each one. “Ya Ya”, “Flamenco”, “Spaghetti”, “Daughter” … I could go on and on. Each one just sounds so musically beautiful. The radio show concept drives the whole album, and it really feeds my appetite for listening from beginning to end. It is a must-listen with so many blends of music, storytelling, lyricism, and singing skill. Cowboy Carter has a sound or a song for almost everybody, if not literally everybody.

I highly recommend it.

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