There is much to be said about Beyoncé’s latest album Cowboy Carter. The highly anticipated follow-up to 2022’s already-spectacular Renaissance had some pretty big shoes to fill, but there is no doubt that the musical juggernaut was able to match its predecessor’s momentum with this record’s release.

Enough has already been said, scrutinized, and discussed with regard to the record being out in its full glory. But despite all the discourse, no one can deny that in the past week since its release. Cowboy Carter has already ingrained itself in pop culture as a major movement for country music — seeing as it’s redefined the genre, both in sound and its place in today’s cultural climate.  

As a native of Houston, Texas growing up, Beyoncé not only embraces her heritage, but she reclaims the lost history of several Black country artists who have been overlooked throughout the years. With her approach to the genre, she simultaneously honors those who came before her – while paving the way for a new generation of diverse musicians to find their place in a previously unwelcome genre. Yet sonically, what the multi-Grammy Award winner has accomplished on Cowboy Carter is a sprawling epic of a musical journey — one that goes beyond the past, present, and future of country music as we know it.

Beyoncé cowboy carter

Courtesy of Blair Caldwel

In the record’s twenty-seven tracks, it’s evident that Cowboy Carter can be perceived in three significant segments that comprise its grandeur as a whole. Its first part, beginning with ‘AMERICAN REQUIEM’, opens the album with a soaring soliloquy that serves as a spoken manifesto to what she’s trying to accomplish with this album. The rest of the segment perfectly honors the classic sound of the country genre (exemplified perfectly by the chart-topper ‘TEXAS HOLD ‘EM’ and ‘BODYGUARD’), yet she also adds a personal touch to each of the tracks that follow. 

Her reimagined renditions to established classics such as The Beatles’ ‘BLACKBIRD’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘JOLENE’ are reinvigorated with a new life that makes both these covers feel fresh and true to her voice while adding an empowering nature that rejects any sense of victimhood for women to embrace their worth within. ’16 CARRIAGES’, ‘PROTECTOR’, and ‘MY ROSE’ serve as more personal ruminations for the musical icon –– with the latter two even sharing her tender reflections on motherhood. Yet with ‘DAUGHTER’, Beyoncé switches the guitar-laden sounds of the genre with a haunting operatic closer that delivers a powerful lament. 

beyoncé cowboy carter

Courtesy of Mason Poole

SPAGHETTII’ marks the first turning point of the record, welcoming listeners into its second segment that simultaneously transitions the sonic landscape of the record (even featuring Linda Marttell questioning “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?”) and spotlights stellar collaborations with a variety of artists – including industry legends like Parton and Willie Nelson. Willie Jones and Post Malone make excellent vocal partners to Beyoncé in ‘JUST FOR FUN’ and ‘LEVII’S JEANS’, yet it’s Beyoncé’s duet with Miley Cyrus in ‘II MOST WANTED’ that stands out as one of the record’s best tracks, while also highlighting her astounding ability to harmonize with others –– making the track feel as much as it is theirs as it is hers. 

As ‘YA YA‘ unfurls within the album’s narrative as it approaches its third act, it becomes apparent that this isn’t just a nod to country music; it’s a bold reimagining of the genre through Beyonce’s unique musical lens. Seamlessly blending soul, hip-hop, R&B, and other influences into subsequent tracks, Beyoncé reaffirms that Cowboy Carter isn’t simply a country album—it’s unequivocally a Beyoncé record.

Tracks like ‘RIIVERDANCE,’ ‘II HANDS II HEAVEN,’ and ‘TYRANT‘ transport listeners into a fresh sonic dimension, cleverly incorporating country elements such as Parton’s percussive nail technique. The first two offer tranquil respites amidst the album’s dynamic energy, while the latter infuses trap influences, maintaining a vibrant rodeo spirit with its bold rhythms. On the other hand, ‘SWEET HONEY BUCKIN‘ stands as a timeless testament to Beyonce’s mastery, seamlessly blending multiple songs into an irresistible groove. It’s akin to witnessing the genre’s evolution, unfolding before your eyes, and showcasing Beyonce’s remarkable artistry as she embraces country music in its entirety. So by the time the album reaches its closer ‘AMEN‘, the musical icon brings the entire journey to a full circle –– capping the record off with a divine finale that neatly wraps the 27-track record in a cohesive, expansive musical journey behind the genre.

beyoncé cowboy carter

Courtesy of Blair Caldwell

While perhaps not as polished as Renaissance, the cultural significance of Cowboy Carter is monumental. Weaving her personal narrative with those of overlooked Black musicians in country music, Beyoncé’s raw approach renders this record even more resonant than its predecessor. It’s more than an album; it’s a cultural movement—a poignant endeavor to carve out space for Black women in a historically white male-dominated genre. With each resounding beat and soaring melody, Beyoncé boldly asserts her presence, reshaping country music in her own image. It’s a masterful defiance of the status quo, redefining what it means to be a country artist and solidifying Beyonce’s status as a trailblazer.

The five years invested in crafting this record shine through –– making Cowboy Carter an instant classic destined to resonate across generations as both a musical triumph and a cultural touchstone.

Listen to Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter below: