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Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
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October 26, 2023

Column: Beyoncé tipping hat to Southern roots in “COWBOY CARTER”

On March 29, Beyoncé released her eighth studio album, sparking new conversations about the role of Black women in country music. The Sidekick entertainment editor Ainsley Dwyer delves into whether or not Beyoncé succeeded in creating a country album that is unique in her largely pop discography. (Safiya Azam)

On March 29, Beyoncé released her eighth studio album, COWBOY CARTER, an album experimenting with country music as well as other genres that has been in the making since 2019. She uses her majestic voice to translate her poetic lyrics into something for all music lovers. 

The songs are sung over layers of harmonies sounding almost heavenly and immediately define this album as a work of art she has put so many hours into.

The songs range in themes from romance, motherhood, criticisms of the music industry, self-love and pride of her Black roots. With features from country artists including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, Shaboozey and Willie Jones as well as pop artists such as Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, Beyoncé uses the album as an opportunity to bring other artists to the top with her. 

Throughout the album, Beyoncé covers three iconic songs from the 1960s and 70s. Her first cover is the album’s second track, a cover of “Blackbird” by The Beatles from 1968. Her version, titled “BLACKBIIRD” features four emerging Black singers, Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts. She sang a 52-second interlude cover of 1971’s “Oh Louisiana” by Chuck Berry. And a cover of Dolly Parton’s 1973 “Jolene.” Beyoncé samples popular old country songs such as Nancy Sinatra’s  “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” in her song “YA YA.” 

Beyoncé has seven romantic songs on the album which displays her relationship with her husband, American rapper Jay-Z. Beyoncé has some songs alluding to her husband such as “BODYGUARD,” “II MOST WANTED” and “LEVII’S JEANS” featuring Post Malone, where she describes falling in love with someone. 

Her lyrics in “BODYGUARD” describe wanting to protect someone you love. Her lyrics in “II MOST WANTED,” a song featuring Miley Cyrus, say “We’re both still young/One day, we won’t be/Didn’t know what I want ’til I saw your face.” She describes her relationship with Jay-Z and her desire to keep their love young.

Her cover of  “Jolene” uses lyric changes to make the singer sound much more secure in the relationship between her and her partner than Parton’s original. Instead of begging the subject, Jolene, to not come in between her relationship, Beyoncé’s rendition is more warning Jolene no matter how hard she tries, she is not going to come in between her relationship.

In songs “AMERIICAN REQUIEM,” “ALLIIGATOR TEARS” and “SWEET★HONEY★BUCKIN’,” Beyoncé criticizes the music industry and the struggle of being a Black artist as well as a woman.

The album opener “AMERIICAN REQUIEM” discusses the rejection she faced from the country music industry when the genre is rooted in Black artists. Her beautiful voice almost hypnotizes the listeners, and she cements herself throughout this album as one of the most talented singers of all time. 

During “ALLIIGATOR TEARS” Beyoncé sings about doing so much for somebody and never being enough. She describes doing everything and not receiving love and appreciation from the other person. In this song, it is believed she is talking about how she will never be able to satisfy the critics and haters of her music. Her powerful lyrics display her brilliance in songwriting as well as her talents vocally.

One of two singles released Feb. 11, “16 CARRIAGES” discusses her experience growing up in the music industry from a young age. She describes how it felt like her youth and innocence were stripped from her. Through her powerful lyrics such as “Ain’t got time to waste/ I got art to make/I got love to create” she tells her listeners what she went through to give them art she is proud to call her own. This song is a ballad and slower than other songs on the album. The slow-tempo emphasizes the meaning behind the lyrics.

Beyoncé also has a song, “PROTECTOR,” on the album where she describes motherhood and her love and appreciation for her children. This is one of her greatest songs of all time. I played this song for my mom in the car and I will admit I shed some tears. 

Beyoncé has been open about a miscarriage she had around 14 years ago and how it has impacted her perspective on motherhood. Through lyrics such as “Born to be a protector, mm-hmm/Even though I know, someday, you’re gonna shine on your own/I will be your projector,” “I gave water to thе soil/And now it feeds me” and “I feel proud of who I am/Because you need me,” Beyoncé displays her love for her children.

This album deserves many awards and praise it has received. My appreciation for Beyoncé has grown stronger and I would argue this is a beautiful album with proof of her talent and impact on music. My favorites are “PROTECTOR,” “16 CARRIAGES” and “SPAGHETTII” being my top three with “AMERIICAN REQUIEM,” “YA YA” and “DAUGHTER” not far behind.

Follow Ainsley (@ainsleydwyer) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Ainsley Dwyer
Ainsley Dwyer, Entertainment Editor
Ainsley Dwyer is a junior and the entertainment editor of The Sidekick. In her free time, you can find her hanging out with her friends, listening to dad music, watching her favorite movies, or hanging out with her dogs. She is a raging theatre kid and will sing showtunes at any given moment if it pops into her mind. You can email her at [email protected].
Safiya Azam
Safiya Azam, Staff Designer

Safiya Azam is a first-year sophomore on The Sidekick, diving headfirst into the world of multimedia and creative exploration on The Sidekick. As a budding artist, she thrives on embracing various art forms and is set on pushing her boundaries. You can contact Safiya at [email protected].


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