Beyoncé – Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé’s long-awaited album, “Cowboy Carter”, was just promised to be an eclectic journey through the country genre, but it quickly becomes clear that it encompasses much more than that. It is an ambitious attempt to push boundaries and transcend genres, but at the same time, it seems to stem more from a calculated marketing strategy than from artistic inspiration or musical integrity.

The album opens with a seemingly authentic country feel, but it soon becomes apparent that this is just a superficial layer. The production is too ‘perfect’, sucking the life out of the music. It lacks the raw, organic elements that are essential to the genre. The result is a sound that feels polished, standardized, and poppy, making it difficult to appreciate Beyoncé’s true artistic achievement.

The tracks on “Cowboy Carter” are characterized by an abundance of guest artists and influences from various musical styles. While this highlights Beyoncé’s versatility as an artist, it sometimes feels forced. It seems like she wants to show and hear too much, causing the cohesion and authenticity of the album to be lost.

The highlight of the album comes with the track “Spaghetti”, featuring groundbreaking black country singer Linda Martell. Here, it becomes clear that Beyoncé wants to make a statement about inclusivity in the music industry and the recognition of black artists in the country genre. It is intended as a powerful moment to underscore the deeper meaning of the album. However, this “statement” overshadows the album and detracts from the potential of a truly authentic country sound, as delivered by icons like Martell and Dolly Parton.

Also notable are the two covers on the album. One is The Beatles’ “Blackbird”, but the makeover feels uninspired and highlights the overproduction that characterizes the album. The other cover is Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene”, which disappointingly falls flat and seems aimed at reinforcing the country aesthetic that has been marketed throughout the album.

“Cowboy Carter” largely remains stuck in its pursuit of commercial success. The album seems more focused on immediate consumption than on artistic depth. While Beyoncé’s talent and vocal prowess shine, they are overshadowed by the slick production and the plethora of guest artists who are used more as a gimmick than as fully-fledged musical partners.

Ultimately, “Cowboy Carter” deserves a modest rating of seven out of ten. It is an album that doesn’t quite live up to its promises and where artistic integrity sometimes seems to be sacrificed for commercial gain. Beyoncé remains a powerful and influential artist, but this album shows that even she is not immune to the temptations of the music industry.

In a time when the boundaries between art and commerce are becoming increasingly blurred, it remains important to remain critical and to understand the true intentions behind music projects. While Beyoncé may be an icon, this project deserved a different approach, one that could have had a much greater impact. A “real” country album on a global scale from the singer may be too far from her comfort zone, or simply too challenging for her. (7/10) (Sony Music)

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