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Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

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Photo gallery: GVS Senior Game Vs. GCDS 10/30
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Cultural pop icon goes country

Cultural pop icon goes country

This may not be Texas, but Queen Bey certainly has a “hold” on the world of country music! On March 29, the singer and cultural icon Beyoncé’s long-anticipated eighth studio album “COWBOY CARTER” dropped, immediately making waves. 

Discourse about “COWBOY CARTER” started before the album even came out. People in every corner of the internet were complaining that Beyoncé, a Black artist, was appropriating white culture by making country music. But the truth of the matter is that country has always been Black. 

According to National Geographic, many of the white artists known as pioneers of the country genre took inspiration from Black artists such as Lesley Riddle, Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne and Gus Cannon. Beyoncé isn’t appropriating anything; she’s just honoring her roots and the Black country artists who came before her. 

Victoria Jansen, an Upper School Spanish teacher and the dean of the class of 2025, as well as a long-time Beyoncé fan, echoed this sentiment. “[Country music] didn’t start off white, it started off Black,” she said. “It came from blues and gospel.”

On the cover of the album, Beyoncé depicts herself as the embodiment of all things American: she sits sidesaddle on a white horse; decked in red, white and blue cowboy garb; and holds an American flag which is partially obscured from the image. It’s clear that Beyoncé is trying to make her name synonymous with America. 

“TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” is the song that comes to mind for most people when they think of this album, but in my opinion the superior single is “16 CARRIAGES.” I’m not denying that “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” goes hard, but I also feel that “16 CARRIAGES” does an exemplary job of showing off Queen Bey’s skill as a vocalist, and it tells the story of how she was forced to lose her innocence at an early age. It deserves just as much hype as the other single. 

Another song that deserves lauding in my opinion is Beyoncé’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” She made some changes to the song, saying “I’m warning you, don’t come for my man” instead of “I’m begging you, please don’t take my man,” reflecting her more powerful style. The main thing I took away from this song is that Bey put her own spin on a classic country song, beginning to establish herself in the genre. 

Overall, I would rate “COWBOY CARTER” a six out of ten. It’s a solid album, but it tries to sell itself as country, and I’m not entirely sure that that’s what it is. It’s like some sort of hybrid between country and pop. The lines between genres are blurred, and I suppose that could be a new normal for the music industry.

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