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A photo of Beyoncé's Cowboy Carter. She has long silver hair and wears a cream cowboy hat with a white singlet

Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ is Here! Everything You Need to Know

Happy Cowboy Carter day to all who celebrate! Yes, Beyoncé’s highly anticipated eighth studio album has arrived, following the successful release of her two lead singles ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ and ’16 Carriages’.

“I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects,” she said in a press release.

“But it’s the best music I’ve ever made.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the album everyone is talking about:

 

What genre of music is Cowboy Carter?

Executive produced by the superstar herself, the album is deeply rooted in country but also explores rock, classical and opera. It uses a wide variety of instruments including the accordion, harmonica, bass ukulele and banjo. There’s also hand-clapping, boot-stomping, horseshoe steps and even Beyoncé’s nails as percussion!

“The joy of creating music is that there are no rules,” Beyoncé said.

“The more I see the world evolving, the more I felt a deeper connection to purity. With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones. I didn’t want some layers of instruments like strings, especially guitars, and organs perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw and leaned into folk. All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature.”

 

Which artists contributed to the Cowboy Carter album?

As suspected, the contributors include some epic names – Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, Nile Rodgers, Robert Randolph, Gary Clark Jr., Willie Jones, Brittney Spencer, Shaboozey, Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell and Tiera Kennedy – who share their talents as vocalists, musicians and orators.

As always, it’s Beyoncé’s powerful voice that shines through it all on 27 tracks which include remakes of classics like ‘Blackbird’ by the Beatles and ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton, who, FYI, has already shared her thoughts:

“Wow, I just heard ‘Jolene’. Beyoncé is giving that girl some trouble and she deserves it! Love, Dolly P.”

What was Beyoncé’s process in creating Cowboy Carter?

The album took over five years to make and involved collaborations with Pharrell, The-Dream, NO I.D., Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Tedder, Ryan Beatty, Swizz Beatz, Khirye Tyler, Derek Dixie, Ink, Nova Wac, Mamii, Cam, Tyler Johnson, Dave Hamelin and JAY-Z.

It was originally meant to be released before RENAISSANCE, “but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance.”

Explaining her process, Beyoncé said she “experiments” with music: “I enjoy being open to have the freedom to get all aspects of things I love out and so I worked on many songs. I recorded probably 100 songs. Once that is done, I am able to put the puzzle together and realise the consistencies and the common themes, and then create a solid body of work.”

According to Parkwood Entertainment, each song is its own version of a reimagined Western film, drawing inspiration from the likes of Five Fingers for Marseilles, Urban Cowboy, Space Cowboys, Killers of the Flower Moon and O Brother, Where Are Thou?

 

Why is Beyoncé’s album named Cowboy Carter?

The character Cowboy Carter was inspired by the original Black cowboys of the American West and as such, is a way of honouring them.

Parkwood Entertainment explains, “The word cowboy itself was used in a derogatory way to describe the former slaves as ‘boys’ who were the most skilled and had the hardest jobs of handling horses and cattle, alike. In destroying the negative connotation, what remains is the strength and resiliency of these men who were the true definition of Western fortitude.”

 

Why did Beyoncé create Cowboy Carter? 

Beyoncé previously explained that Cowboy Carter was born out of a negative experience where she “did not feel welcomed”:

“And it was very clear that I wasn’t. But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of country music and studied our rich musical archive. It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history.”

And while she didn’t specify the exact incident, she said it only motivated her more: “The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me.”

 

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The Cowboy Carter track list:
  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. SPAGHETTII
  13. ALLIIGATOR TEARS
  14. SMOKE HOUR II
  15. JUST FOR FUN
  16. II MOST WANTED
  17. LEVII’S JEANS
  18. FLAMENCO
  19. The LINDA MARTELL SHOW
  20. YA YA
  21. OH LOUISIANA
  22. DESERT EAGLE
  23. RIIVER DANCE
  24. II HANDS II HEAVEN
  25. TYRANT
  26. SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’
  27. AMEN

 

Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter is out now!

(Feature Image Credit: Blair Caldwell/Parkwood Entertainment)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter and the founder of positive celebrity news site CelebrityKind. (She's also a mummy-of-3, chocoholic and Opraholic!)