“Cowboy Carter”: Beyoncé shakes up country and seduces critics

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Critical praise is raining down on Beyoncé’s new album, “Cowboy Carter”, with its rich country influences in the form of a nod to the Texan roots of the global star, after its release on Friday.

• Read also: Dolly Parton invites you to listen to “Jolene” again before the release of Beyoncé’s cover

• Read also: Everything you need to know about “Act II Cowboy Carter”, Beyoncé’s new album

• Read also: With Beyoncé, black country singers finally highlighted

Second act of the “Renaissance” musical trilogy, the 27-track album pays a powerful tribute to black country culture, with a strong emphasis on dance, soul and hip-hop.

“No one will think for a moment that this sprawling ensemble follows a single, straight path or that it is boring for even a single moment,” writes Variety.

“It’s a bit as if Beyoncé took up some of the phases and evolutions that country has experienced, by redefining its boundaries — as music has always done,” adds the American specialist magazine.

While it is still too early to say that “Cowboy Carter” will explode to the top of the American music charts, there is little doubt about its commercial success.

His ode to dance, “Renaissance”, had already reached first place on the Billboard rankings upon its release in 2022.

Dusting off the genre

With this new album, the 42-year-old singer born in Houston, Texas, dusts off the image of country music reserved for white and male artists.

Because Beyoncé seems to take great pleasure in shaking up traditions. She thus plays the hip-hop and house cards on the title “Sweet Honey Buckiin’”, recalling the first act of “Renaissance”, also a snub to the purists, celebrating the African-American influence in electro.

Throughout the album, with songs that sound like celebration, freedom, letting go, the artist addresses motherhood, sex, love.

“It’s not just about what Beyoncé can do for country music, it’s about what her conception of country can do for her, expanding her musical empire and even her knowledge of herself , already well developed,” analyzes Variety.

“The criticism that targeted me when I first set foot in (country music) forced me to exceed my own limits,” she wrote recently on Instagram. This new album “is the result of the challenges I set for myself and the time I took to twist and mix genres for this work”.

All with a cocktail of young stars like Miley Cyrus, Post Malone and Tanner Adell — but also icons of the old guard.

She covers, among others, the classic “Jolene” by absolute country star Dolly Parton and “Blackbird”, the Beatles’ song about nine black teenagers who became icons of the civil rights movement by integrating a high school reserved for white students. , in the southern United States.

Country giant Willie Nelson also makes an appearance.

Beyoncé, alias “Queen B”, known worldwide for titles like “Crazy in Love” or “Beautiful Liar”, mixes genres and history, like her title “Ya Ya”, a mixture of soul and psychedelic dance and who manages to cover both “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra and the Beach Boys.

A tour de force. “With this endlessly entertaining project, she becomes a warrior for female and black pride and the beloved heart of radio,” writes Variety.

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