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High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide


Beyonce’s new album attempts to take on the country genre of music, but it falls flat and relies on clichés, rather than feeling like authentic country music.

As someone who’s grown up in a dance studio warming up to Beyonce’s hits like “Crazy in Love” and “Run the World (Girls),” a part of myself (the scraggly ten year old part) is dying as I begin to write this. After listening to her new album “COWBOY CARTER,” for an hour and 18 minutes, I might be letting the BeyHive down when I say that the country genre should be off limits for Queen Bey. 

I must preface that I went into my personal “COWBOY CARTER” listening party with many doubts. I’m an avid country hater, and the single released prior to the album, “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” had already been circulating my TikTok For You Page. It showcased the characteristics of Beyonce’s pop-country blend, of which I wasn’t a huge fan of. I questioned whether or not Beyonce had it in her to go from her signature sassy style of music to a soulful, country style like the album aimed to do. Unfortunately, my doubts proved to be true. 

The album began with the track “AMERICAN REQUIEM,” a slow track with a hopeful tone to it. The track takes a shot at the gatekeepers of the country genre, her most recent haters. She emphasizes that she doesn’t need their validation to sing country music. While the meaning of the song is bold and inspiring, it doesn’t feel applicable to the song because it doesn’t feel like listening to country music. The song, while more lackadaisical than a typical Beyonce track, still felt like a pop song. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, where Beyonce’s stunning vocals attempt to imitate that of the country genre— but ultimately, it makes the songs sound satirical and forced. 

The following songs pretty much blended in with one another, with Beyonce repeatedly using her same low, relaxing tone. However, track six, “SMOKE HOUR ★ WILLIE NELSON,” depicts sounds of a radio playing in a Texas saloon that transitions into “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” which in theory could’ve been a great creative choice. But once again, it made the album feel satirical, as it reinforced country cliches like the yodeling played on the radio station or the exaggerated western accents. Using this dramatic transition for “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” was honestly a let down for me, as the single falls victim to the “overplayed TikTok song” epidemic. 

Following “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” was “BODYGUARD,” which I actually enjoyed. The song was much more upbeat, and I thought it fit Beyonce’s voice much better while still avoiding going full out pop. Its meaning is touchingly romantic, and I’ll always appreciate a good love song. 

The album takes a turn only one song later, as Beyonce introduces country legend Dolly Parton onto the album in her own 22 second transitional track, “DOLLY P,” which hypes up the listeners for what could be an iconic combination of some of the most influential figures in music. But to my dismay, “DOLLY P” was followed up by Beyonce’s version of “Jolene,” and, you guessed it, it’s called “JOLENE.” I absolutely love Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and all of the covers that I’ve seen of it have been unique to the singer’s voice, while still respectful of the greatness of Parton’s classic lyrics and message. The way Beyonce alters the theme of the song completely diminishes Parton’s original message in “Jolene,” which sings the praise of the majestic Jolene, who Dolly believes her husband will fall for. Beyonce’s version, on the other hand, totally defeats the purpose of Parton’s original song. It puts one woman against another and encourages the narrative that women always end up fighting over men. For an artist who acts as a role model for many young women, completely modifying timeless lyrics to defy the values of feminism doesn’t help Beyonce’s brand. 

She interrupts her slower songs with “SPAGHETTI,” which collaborated with Linda Martell and Shaboozey, resulting in an awkward country hip-hop mix that just didn’t do it for me. 

She resumes with more snail-like songs that I completely zoned out during. While there are some notable songs on the album, the majority of them merged into each other. In simpler terms, I was able to focus on my homework while listening to these songs, and that should speak volumes. 

She begins to conclude the album with an upbeat song that had me nodding my head a bit. “TYRANT,” another collaboration with Dolly Parton, was such a fun listen, living up to bot of the musicians’ big reputations. Parton clearly aided in correctly integrating a small touch of country, with a banjo beat playing in the background, but it didn’t feel forced or awkward in the song. It was pop-esque and perfect for Beyonce to sing, and the lyrics, while slightly repetitive, were catchy. 

The song “AMEN” closes “COWBOY CARTER,” a beautiful song to finish with. I know I’ve written negatively about most of the album, but Beyonce’s voice is certainly special, and it’s spotlighted in “AMEN.” It includes incredible harmonies with the implementation of background vocalists, and demonstrates Beyonce’s vocal variety as the song builds. The message softens up the album, as the album began with a song that shot at her critics, but concludes with a song that pleads for compassion and kindness, showing some sort of emotional journey that has been embarked on during the writing of the album. 

Overall, Beyonce’s take on country music wasn’t my favorite. However, the songs on the album that prioritized the pop genre while still including small country aspects were enjoyable. I don’t mean to box in Beyonce by saying she should not be able to branch out into different music genres, but upon listening to this album, I realized that all artists have their limits, depending on the voice they bring to the table. Beyonce just didn’t have that country vibe, and coming from my mouth, that’s a compliment!

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About the Contributor
Ava Anzivino
Ava Anzivino, Print Sports Editor
I’m Ava. This is my first year as a sports editor and my second year on staff! You’ll find me at most school events (usually carrying around pom poms), and most of the time it takes a little (a lot) of caffeine to get me there. Make sure to read the sports section for me!

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