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Home / News / Beyoncé releases 8th studio album Act II: Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé releases 8th studio album Act II: Cowboy Carter


Beyoncé’s eighth studio album is available worldwide as act ii Cowboy Carter, following the successful release of two lead singles, Texas Hold Em and 16 Carriages on February 11, Superbowl Sunday.

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Texas Hold Em landed across nine different genres on US music charts including Pop, Hot AC, Country, Rhythmic, Urban, and R&B, and making history with Beyoncé becoming the first Black female artist to reach No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart and No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart with a Country song. It also spent four weeks at the top of the UK music charts.

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The album is a cornucopia of sounds that Beyoncé loves, and grew up listening to, between visits and eventually performances at the Houston Rodeo – Country, original Rhythm & Blues, Blues, Zydeco, and Black Folk.

The album wraps itself in pure instrumentation in a celebratory authentic gumbo of sounds using among others, the accordion, harmonica, washboard, acoustic guitar, bass ukulele, pedal steel guitar, a Vibra-Slap, the mandolin, fiddle, Hammond B3 organ, tack piano, and the banjo.

There’s also plenty of handclaps, horseshoe steps, boot stomps on hardwood floors and yes, those are Beyoncé’s nails as percussion.

Beyoncé stated: “The joy of creating music is that there are no rules. The more I see the world evolving the more I felt a deeper connection to purity. With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones.

“I didn’t want some layers of instruments like strings, especially guitars, and organs perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw and leaned into folk. All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature.”

And the inspiration further takes into account Southern and Western culture beyond music, the Rodeo, Western films, and the stories of the original cowboys of the West. It was at the Rodeo where she first saw diversity and camaraderie among people who love Country music and an Americana lifestyle, steeped in community, culinary offerings, grills, and Western gear. And it was for everyone. Among the crowds were Black, Hispanic and Native American Cowboys, who made their valuable, authentic allowances to the culture. Their stories are synonymous with American history.

The music is wrapped around an outpouring of passionate, bold storytelling that captivates the listener with Beyoncé’s familiar, powerful voice at the center. Her vocals shine a blinding light on a narrative steeped in truth-telling, revealing hidden histories, and reveling in all the magic you seek when you take an intentional journey back to your roots. Beyoncé is a student of history, and she continues the American music masterclass that started with act i RENAISSANCE in 2022, that was a deep dive into dance music and its creators, and the celebration of those who lived in joy despite being made to feel like outliers.

“My process is that I typically have to experiment,” Beyoncé says. “I enjoy being open to have the freedom to get all aspects of things I love out and so I worked on many songs. I recorded probably 100 songs. Once that is done, I am able to put the puzzle together and realize the consistencies and the common themes, and then create a solid body of work.”

The character, Cowboy Carter was birth from these experiences and inspired by the original Black cowboys of the American West.

The word cowboy itself was used in a derogatory way to describe the former slaves as “boys,” who were the most skilled and had the hardest jobs of handling horses and cattle, alike. In destroying the negative connotation, what remains is the strength and resiliency of these men who were the true definition of Western fortitude.

Beyoncé ensconced herself with a stellar group of collaborators, including The-Dream, Pharrell, NO I.D., Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Tedder, Ryan Beatty, Swizz Beatz, Khirye Tyler, Derek Dixie, Ink, Nova Wav, Mamii, Cam, Tyler Johnson, Dave Hamelin, and Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter to find the secret gems in each song. The process, sometimes years in the making, often meant combining pieces of different recordings, changing the instrumentation here, adding a snare there, to land at the perfect spot in the right time.

“This album took over five years,” she says. “It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put COWBOY CARTER out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

And the musical alliance here includes contributions from an impressive list of artists as vocalists, musicians, and orators, including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Mylie Cyrus, Post Malone, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, Nile Rodgers, Robert Randolph, Gary Clark, Jr., Willie Jones, Brittney Spencer, Shaboozey, Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell and Tiera Kennedy.

“I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects,” Beyoncé says, “but it’s the best music I’ve ever made.”

COWBOY CARTER TRACK LIST:

AMERIICAN REQUIEM

BLACKBIIRD

16 CARRIAGES

PROTECTOR

MY ROSE

SMOKE HOUR ★ WILLIE NELSON

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM

BODYGUARD

DOLLY P

JOLENE

DAUGHTER

SPAGHETTII

ALLIIGATOR TEARS

SMOKE HOUR II

JUST FOR FUN

II MOST WANTED

LEVII’S JEANS

FLAMENCO

The LINDA MARTELL SHOW

YA YA

OH LOUISIANA

DESERT EAGLE

RIIVER DANCE

II HANDS II HEAVEN

TYRANT

SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’

AMEN

Source: Press Association


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