Critics hail Beyonce’s new country album ‘Cowboy Carter’ as a ‘masterpiece’ in five-star reviews

The Nightly
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Beyonce’s new country album “Cowboy Carter” is being hailed a “masterpiece” as reviewers point out how the singer addresses the genre’s issues with racism and sexism across many songs and certain lyrics. 
Beyonce’s new country album “Cowboy Carter” is being hailed a “masterpiece” as reviewers point out how the singer addresses the genre’s issues with racism and sexism across many songs and certain lyrics.  Credit: AP

Beyonce’s new country album is being hailed a “masterpiece” as reviewers point out how the singer boldly addresses the genre’s issues with racism and sexism across many songs and lyrics.

“It’s a record that hurls a lasso around the neck of country music and rides it out into the desert for a good airing,” Helen Brown writes for The Independent, in a five-star review.

“This is Beyonce’s thrilling mission to take up space for Black women in a genre historically dominated by white men.”

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Brown goes on to say that not content with being the “first Black woman to top the country chart”, Beyonce’s album “keeps on dealing aces” across 27 tracks.

“When the Texan star reminds us of trying to sing over ‘chatter in the room’, she’s referring to the racist and sexist reaction she experienced during her appearance at the 2016 Country Music Awards, where she performed with country trio The Chicks,” the review says.

“The all-female band know what it means to be “cancelled” by the country music industry; they suffered an intense backlash for criticising George Bush’s war in Iraq in 2003.

“Because I’ve not seen reviews so far giving the stats Beyoncé’s here to buck, I’m going to drop some here. When Patsy Cline hit the country charts in the mid 1950s, ‘girl singers’ got around 13 per cent of the airplay on country radio … today the percentage is, shockingly, the same.”

In another five-star review, Neil McCormack in The Telegraph writes that “country purists will be forced to swallow their bile upon hearing Beyoncé’s astonishing album that gives the genre new life”.

Brown goes on to say that not content with being the “first Black woman to top the country chart”, Beyonce’s album “keeps on dealing aces” across 27 tracks. 
Brown goes on to say that not content with being the “first Black woman to top the country chart”, Beyonce’s album “keeps on dealing aces” across 27 tracks.  Credit: Instagram/Instagram

“(The album) is packed with smart lyrics, astonishing singing, rich harmonies and bold rhythms teasingly inflected with the acoustic guitars, pedal steel and fiddle signifiers of a genre she and her (admittedly extremely large) team of top producers, co-writers and collaborators have ripped apart and put back together in entirely new shapes,” he writes.

“Clever, sexy, angry, soulful, witty and fantastically bold, Beyoncé stirs up the western and puts the you know what into country.

“I think it’s a masterpiece, but don’t expect to hear it at the Grand Ole’ Opry any time soon.”

Chris Willman, reviewing the album for Variety, also gives it five-stars and remarks how there is never a “dull moment”.

“There are moments throughout where she’s embracing the tropes and traditions of country as we’ve known it, and just as many where you’re thinking she decided to abandon the concept, until suddenly Willie Nelson or Dolly Parton pop up for one of their intermittent spoken cameos, or there’s a fleeting Patsy Cline interpolation, and suddenly she’s veered back into C&W mode again,” he writes.

“Most significantly — as a symbolic gesture, and a piece of music — she does a duet with the up-and-comer Tanner Adell on a cover of the Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ … It’s not exactly a random nostalgic pick: Paul McCartney has said in recent years that he was inspired to write the inspirational ballad by the civil rights movement in the ‘60s.”

When Beyonce launched the album cover in recent weeks she said it was “born out of an experience that I had years ago where I 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,” she said.

“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.”

Miley Cyrus and Post Malone are among the other big name artists to appear on the album.

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