Beyonce's ‘not a Country album’ Cowboy Carter is testimony to an experience that… - Hindustan Times

Beyonce's ‘not a Country album’ Cowboy Carter is testimony to an experience that…

Mar 19, 2024 10:56 PM IST

“This ain’t a Country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album,” Beyonce proudly declared regarding the second act of her Renaissance trilogy.

Just ten days ahead of the Renaissance saga's continuation, Beyonce dropped the art cover of her upcoming album Cowboy Carter. The icon isn't shying away from claiming her music to be its own genre, proudly declaring: “This ain’t a Country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album.” Issuing the official statement about her soon-to-release record, the artist wrote a lengthy Instagram message, claiming her sour past experiences, which ultimately birthed the ‘Beyonce album.’

Beyonce's Cowboy Carter is a continuation of the Renaissance saga. It drops on music platforms on March 29, 2024.(Instagram / beyonce)
Beyonce's Cowboy Carter is a continuation of the Renaissance saga. It drops on music platforms on March 29, 2024.(Instagram / beyonce)

Cowboy Carter, act ii of her Renaissance narrative, has been five years in the making. However, before finally making way for the March 29 release date, the album teased its musical aesthetic with precursor track releases - Texas Hold Em and 16 Carriages, which not only raised the anticipation around her music piece but also gained her record-breaking spots on Billboard charts. With the golden opportunity to embrace the remarkable feat of becoming the first Black woman to rank atop the Hot Country Songs chart, Beyonce expressed her gratitude to her fans.

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Yet she didn't let the moment pass away frivolously. Taking the reins, she slammed the stereotypical threads still linking race with musical genres in the age that hypocritically professes, “Music has no borders, no race or colour…” Beyonce wrote, “My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”

Also read | James Burton, John Anderson and Toby Keith join the Country Music Hall of Fame

Beyonce's Cowboy Carter cover art

Also, the first Black woman to top the Hot 100 with a country song, Queen Bey, stepped into a hot controversy that had more to do with society's perception than her own creation. Texas Hold Em won massive commercial success, but the genre gatekeepers did her wrong after the song's glorious premiere. The war of words grew as far as one country radio station even rejecting a fan's request to her ‘Texas’ until they finally fathomed the country-pop hit's birth links to Beyonce.

While stressing the reminder that the new album is a “continuation of Renaissance,” she also dove deep into how it came from “an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed.” Yet she soldiered on, and the result? This magnificent piece of history in the making immersed her in the roots of Country music. The criticisms she faced upon foraying into a genre that she hadn't blatantly experimented with on a full-fledged scale before “forced (her) to propel past the limitations that were put on (her).” Therefore, the Renaissance act 2 is a “result of challenging” herself, and bending and blending the blurry lines between genres.

Cowboy Carter will sport a “few surprises” and collaborations with her brilliant musical colleagues whom she “deeply respects.” Once Bey's new music rolls out on March 29, she hopes the listeners can see reflections of her heart, soul, love and passion that define the body of work. She's proud to share “another journey where you can close your eyes, start from the beginning and never stop.”

Which ‘experience’ is Beyonce referring to in her Instagram message? She doesn't unequivocally get into the details, but there's a good chance that she's highlighting the heart-rending flak she took at the Country Music Awards in 2016, following her Daddy Lessons performance with Dixie Chicks. Akin to the recent shaming comments that poured in after her Cowboy Carter pre-release tracks rolled out, Queen Bey was also denunciated as a mere pop artist at the old ceremony. Her album likely relates to this sour memory since she spotlights the “criticism (she) faced when (she) first entered this genre.”

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