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Beyoncé|COWBOY CARTER

COWBOY CARTER

Beyonce

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This may be the "Beyoncé goes country" record—but, in truth, she's always been here. A Houston native and rodeo fan, she released countrified "Daddy Lessons" on 2016's Lemonade then upped the ante with a Chicks remix that was met with industry backlash. But no one puts Beyoncé in a corner, and Cowboy Carter is her gracious "told ya so" moment. First single "Texas Hold 'Em" saw her become the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country chart, and it's a joy: echoing the Chicks' and Shania's C&W pop, but also Rhiannon Giddens' mountain folk (that's her playing banjo on the song) as well as all-American sweet soul music. The excellent Raphael Saadiq is a co-writer, and his touch shows. And damned if the affecting ballad "16 Carriages"—grand in the "Halo" tradition—doesn't sound like an autobiographical recounting of Beyoncé's career start as a teen. "At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray/ Had to take care of home at an early age/ I saw Mama cryin', I saw Daddy lyin'/ Had to sacrifice and leave my fears behind," she sings, chillingly, against crackling percussion and Robert Randolph's pedal steel.

No wonder Dolly Parton blessed the cover of "Jolene," intro-ing that song with a comparison of her own titular character to the notorious Becky with the good hair. Beyoncé layers on the twang and tweaks the lyrics: "Jolene, I know I'm a queen, Jolene/ I'm still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne (don't try me)." Willie Nelson shows up as a radio DJ spinning samples from Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Son House. "Spaghettii" opens with a spoken intro from pioneer Linda Martell—the first Black woman to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, in 1969, but who also faced racism on the road and returned to South Carolina to be a bus driver. Over drill beats, Beyoncé shows off her rap skills in a stunning display ("Just a fishin' expedition, dumb admission/ In the kitchen, cookin' up them chickens/ Extra leg, but I ain't even tryna kick it/ Cunty, country, petty, petty, petty/ All the same to me, Plain Jane, spaghetti"), joined by Shaboozey. He also guests, as does Pharrell, on wild bull ride "Sweet Honey Buckiin,'" which starts with Bey crooning Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces."

The Cowboy Carter guest list is dizzying: rising star Willie Jones (gospel-inflected "Just for Fun"), Miley Cyrus (ride-or-die R&B ballad "II Most Wanted"), Gary Clark Jr. (sun-streaked yacht rocker "Bodyguard"). Post Malone joins the party for slow-burn flirt "Levii's Jeans," produced by The-Dream and Nile Rodgers. A goosebump-inducing cover of The Beatles' "Blackbird" showcases four of the most exciting young Black women in country music right now: Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts. There are sweet lullabies ("Protector"), giddy-up grind ("Tyrant") and Beyoncé singing a bit of the aria "Caro Mio Ben" ("Daughter"). And "Ya Ya" is an absolute  jaw-dropper—packed with Tina Turner energy and interpolations of Nancy Sinatra and the Beach Boys—that slides into a snippet of Chuck Berry's "Oh Louisiana" reworked as a psychedelic blues fever dream.  © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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COWBOY CARTER

Beyoncé

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1
AMERIICAN REQUIEM
00:05:25

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
BLACKBIIRD (feat. Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy & Reyna Roberts )
00:02:11

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tanner Adell, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Brittney Spencer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Reyna Roberts, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tiera Kennedy, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé, Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy & Reyna Roberts, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
16 CARRIAGES
00:03:47

Ricky Lawson, Project Coordinator - Robert Randolph, Steel Guitar - Raphael Saadiq, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Beyonce, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Vocal Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, Vocal - Colin Leonard, Mastering Engineer - LeMar Carter, Drums - Dave Hamelin, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer - Stuart White, Producer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Gavin Williams, Organ - John Cranfield, Engineer - Andréa Roberts, Engineer - INK, Producer, Guitar - Justin Schipper, Steel Guitar - Hotae Alexander Jang, Recording Engineer - Atia Boggs, Composer, Lyricist - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Executive Producer - Ryan Svendsen, Trumpet - Justus West, Guitar - Mariel Gomerez, A&R Director - Matheus Braz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
PROTECTOR (feat. Rumi Carter)
00:03:04

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Rumi Carter, AssociatedPerformer - Rumi Carter, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
MY ROSE
00:00:53

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
SMOKE HOUR ★ WILLIE NELSON (feat. Willie Nelson)
00:00:50

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Willie Nelson, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
TEXAS HOLD 'EM Explicit
00:03:53

Ricky Lawson, Project Coordinator - Raphael Saadiq, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Drums, Organ, Piano, Bass - Beyonce, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Vocal Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, Vocal - Colin Leonard, Mastering Engineer - Killah B, Producer, Drums - LeMar Carter, Drums - Rhiannon Giddens, Banjo, Viola - Stuart White, Producer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Khirye Tyler, Piano, Bass - Hit-Boy, Producer, Synthesizer - Andréa Roberts, Engineer - Lowell Boland, Piano - Brian Bates, Composer, Lyricist - Hotae Alexander Jang, Recording Engineer - Elizabeth Lowell Boland, Composer, Lyricist - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Executive Producer - Megan Bulow, Composer, Lyricist, Background Vocal - Alex Nibley, Recording Engineer - Nate Ferraro, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Guitar, Piano, Bass - Mariel Gomerez, Producer, A&R Director - Matheus Braz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
BODYGUARD Explicit
00:04:00

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
DOLLY P (feat. Dolly Parton)
00:00:22

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
JOLENE
00:03:09

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
DAUGHTER
00:03:23

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
SPAGHETTII (feat. Linda Martell & Shaboozey) Explicit
00:02:38

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Linda Martell, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Shaboozey, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé, Linda Martell & Shaboozey, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

13
ALLIIGATOR TEARS
00:02:59

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

14
SMOKE HOUR II (feat. Willie Nelson) Explicit
00:00:29

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Willie Nelson, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

15
JUST FOR FUN (feat. Willie Jones)
00:03:24

Willie Jones, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Willie Jones, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

16
II MOST WANTED (feat. Miley Cyrus)
00:03:28

Miley Cyrus, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Miley Cyrus, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

17
LEVII'S JEANS (feat. Post Malone) Explicit
00:04:17

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Post Malone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Post Malone, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

18
FLAMENCO
00:01:40

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

19
THE LINDA MARTELL SHOW (feat. Linda Martell)
00:00:28

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Linda Martell, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Linda Martell, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

20
YA YA Explicit
00:04:34

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

21
OH LOUISIANA
00:00:52

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

22
DESERT EAGLE
00:01:12

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

23
RIIVERDANCE Explicit
00:04:11

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

24
II HANDS II HEAVEN
00:05:41

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

25
TYRANT (feat. Dolly Parton)
00:04:10

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

26
SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN' (feat. Shaboozey) Explicit
00:04:56

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Shaboozey, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Beyoncé & Shaboozey, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

27
AMEN
00:02:25

Beyonce, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2024 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

This may be the "Beyoncé goes country" record—but, in truth, she's always been here. A Houston native and rodeo fan, she released countrified "Daddy Lessons" on 2016's Lemonade then upped the ante with a Chicks remix that was met with industry backlash. But no one puts Beyoncé in a corner, and Cowboy Carter is her gracious "told ya so" moment. First single "Texas Hold 'Em" saw her become the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country chart, and it's a joy: echoing the Chicks' and Shania's C&W pop, but also Rhiannon Giddens' mountain folk (that's her playing banjo on the song) as well as all-American sweet soul music. The excellent Raphael Saadiq is a co-writer, and his touch shows. And damned if the affecting ballad "16 Carriages"—grand in the "Halo" tradition—doesn't sound like an autobiographical recounting of Beyoncé's career start as a teen. "At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray/ Had to take care of home at an early age/ I saw Mama cryin', I saw Daddy lyin'/ Had to sacrifice and leave my fears behind," she sings, chillingly, against crackling percussion and Robert Randolph's pedal steel.

No wonder Dolly Parton blessed the cover of "Jolene," intro-ing that song with a comparison of her own titular character to the notorious Becky with the good hair. Beyoncé layers on the twang and tweaks the lyrics: "Jolene, I know I'm a queen, Jolene/ I'm still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne (don't try me)." Willie Nelson shows up as a radio DJ spinning samples from Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Son House. "Spaghettii" opens with a spoken intro from pioneer Linda Martell—the first Black woman to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, in 1969, but who also faced racism on the road and returned to South Carolina to be a bus driver. Over drill beats, Beyoncé shows off her rap skills in a stunning display ("Just a fishin' expedition, dumb admission/ In the kitchen, cookin' up them chickens/ Extra leg, but I ain't even tryna kick it/ Cunty, country, petty, petty, petty/ All the same to me, Plain Jane, spaghetti"), joined by Shaboozey. He also guests, as does Pharrell, on wild bull ride "Sweet Honey Buckiin,'" which starts with Bey crooning Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces."

The Cowboy Carter guest list is dizzying: rising star Willie Jones (gospel-inflected "Just for Fun"), Miley Cyrus (ride-or-die R&B ballad "II Most Wanted"), Gary Clark Jr. (sun-streaked yacht rocker "Bodyguard"). Post Malone joins the party for slow-burn flirt "Levii's Jeans," produced by The-Dream and Nile Rodgers. A goosebump-inducing cover of The Beatles' "Blackbird" showcases four of the most exciting young Black women in country music right now: Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts. There are sweet lullabies ("Protector"), giddy-up grind ("Tyrant") and Beyoncé singing a bit of the aria "Caro Mio Ben" ("Daughter"). And "Ya Ya" is an absolute  jaw-dropper—packed with Tina Turner energy and interpolations of Nancy Sinatra and the Beach Boys—that slides into a snippet of Chuck Berry's "Oh Louisiana" reworked as a psychedelic blues fever dream.  © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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