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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Everything is bigger in Texas

She’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment
Fair use from Columbia Records
Fair use from Columbia Records

Beyoncé is a jack of all trades and she is already pre-established as one of the most talented artists ever. She is truly the epitome of a once-in-a-lifetime talent and a staple in pop culture. Beyoncé is most known for her soulful R&B music and her electric and catchy pop music — however, her most recent album, “Cowboy Carter,” proves that Beyoncé can do everything. This album stems from folk and country music, which is a sound people don’t associate Beyoncé with — but after this album, they will. Beyoncé encapsulates everything folk/country music should be with her Houston Texan charm. It is also refreshing to see a Black woman excel in the country music genre when people typically don’t give them space to perform in a genre they originated in.

It feels like a crime to review a Beyoncé album with such a deep cultural meaning without mentioning everything she has done for the Black community. During the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, she spoke up and empowered people to do the same. Beyoncé is also credited with making some of the biggest songs in Black culture that are referred to as black anthems, such as “Formation,” “Black Parade,” and “Freedom.” She continued this streak of activism with her opening song of the album, “AMERIICAN REQUIEM.” Beyoncé starts the song with angelic vocals and deep-hitting lyrics, such as, “Can we stand for something? Now is the time to face the wind,” meaning it’s time to take a stand for things we care about and face it head-on.

Beyoncé’s third track on the album is called “16 Carriages.” This track is an emotional song that starts with Beyoncé in her youth. She sings about how she had to leave her home at an early age and how she had to grow up faster than she should have. This part of the song gives fans an inside look at how Beyoncé grew up and how super fame at such a young age caused her to miss out on her younger years. She then fast forwards to the present time where she sings, “Goin’ so hard, now I miss my kids,” creating almost a parallel from the beginning of the song where she also sings, “Goin’ so hard, gotta choose myself.” This parallel shows that no matter what point Beyoncé is in her career, she still works tirelessly to create art and projects for her fans. This work drive and devotion to craft should be recognized and celebrated because there is no other artist out right now who’s doing it like Beyoncé.

The next song on the tracklist has a very noticeable feature — no other than Beyoncé and Jay Z’s youngest Daughter, Rumi Carter. The song starts with Rumi speaking and asking her mother to sing the lullaby again. Beyoncé begins with her soothing and inspirational lullaby about how she will always be her protector. The song has a warm and motherly feeling, where you can’t help but feel safe and secure while listening to it. This piece sets Beyoncé apart from so many other artists due to her family’s involvement. Beyoncé is the epitome of “if I make it, we all do,” She makes a point to include her family in all her projects

Dolly Parton briefly appears on this album right before the song ‘Jolene,” where she has a short monologue about a girl she used to know with “flamin’ locks of red hair.” This song seamlessly transitions into my favorite song on the album, Beyoncé’s version of a classic, “Jolene.” Beyoncé’s version of Jolene is more direct than Dolly Parton’s version. Dolly’s version is more centered on how he knows Jolene could take her man because he is interested in her, but she is begging her not to because of her happiness. But Beyoncé has a whole new perspective on this song. She believes Jolene can’t take her man even if she wants to because her man couldn’t find someone better than her. And she’s not worried because she is secure in her marriage and knows no one can come between her. Beyoncé’s version also warns Jolene that even though Beyoncé is a queen, she isn’t afraid to have to hit Jolene with a two-piece.

This album has an incredibly stacked feature list with features such as Post Malone, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus. They all delivered each of their respective songs, which you can expect nothing less on a Beyoncé album because she is known to demand perfection. Each feature did an excellent job executing this very different sound of this album. Willie Nelson was viewed the most times on this album, being featured on three other songs, which is only fitting due to him being a country music legend and this being Beyoncé’s first country album. These features strengthened and elevated the album to a new level.

Beyoncé released the album of the year, no doubt about it. Beyoncé faced so much adversity releasing this album as many people didn’t want to see a successful Black women pop star enter the country music space — but that didn’t stop Beyoncé. She released the Best Country Album of the Year and the Best Album of the Year. Each one of the songs had God-like vocals and deep meanings stretching hundreds of years. Beyoncé is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. She proved time and time again that you should never count her out. She made a name for herself as an R&B superstar, a pop megastar, and now a country all-star.

“Cowboy Carter:” ★★★★★

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About the Contributor
Miles Johnson
Miles Johnson, Echo Staffer
Hey y'all! My names Miles, I'm a junior when I'm not in the #pub I'm thrifting, baking, cooking or hanging out with friends. I'm super excited to be a part of Echo for my first year! And I'm excited to get to know our amazing editor and staff this year!

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