Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator


Annabelle DeGuzman-Carino

“COWBOY CARTER,” the second installation to Beyoncé’s three-part project, bodies a delicious invitation to country musical archives. It’s a blend of subgenres with an agrarian backbone that can only be marked as homecoming; a venture away from hyperpop. 

Act I was introduced in 2022, known as “RENAISSANCE.” An album matted by sweat and sex, silvered in dance and Black celebration, enveloped in wet summer. It housed a myriad of bodies, gagged by a stylistically disco-charged universe, hailing the “ALIEN SUPERSTAR.” 

Act II, the musical collection released March 29, 2024, dives deep into the arena of country music sounds, studies them, and obscures these acoustics into a brilliant gutbucket profile. 

“This ain’t a country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album,” the artist stated on Instagram.

“COWBOY CARTER”’ acts as a revenge anthem against her criticisms at the 2016 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards performance of her song, “Daddy Lessons;” Where Beyoncé obsesses over the symphony of backlash from conservative crowds who’d called her inclusion into the ceremony an intrusion to the Country music landscape. 

This album noises a posture, so closely, imitating laughter. A ‘Look what I can do, Ha!’ that glories her flexibility as an artist and madwoman. 

The 80-minute tribute to bypassing tradition, halos red, white, blue, and black over 27 tracks, 11 features, 3 covers, and 7 interpolates. The project is five years in the making. 


The portfolio begins prettily. It’s a track that sardonically takes up space. Its lyrics are hyped and petty. Beyoncé has mastered an orchestrational boom. Her sound taunts the nation into a wildfire, a violent chase into its world build, her, smirking all the way. It’s a sound impossible to replicate, a sound chokingly catastrophic. 

“This song is f*cking beautiful,” third-year computer science major Hadiya Chishti said. The track reigns five minutes, 25 seconds of muscular noise, an introduction, already strangling the country genre. 

“It’s very dynamically charged and unapologetically bold. It’s a strong opener for the rest of the album,” Chishti said. 

  1.     16 CARRIAGES           

Track three is spent in reminiscence. She articulates her teenage years, her hunt for artistry in one, long, intimate cry. It’s an honest autobiographical piece of work with a boring metronome for a beat. The title-lyric repetition made the ballad incredibly loopy and annoying but the artist isn’t in any attempt to cute her experiences.

The song closely imitates her poetry: a strained, sacrificial trek away from the familial. It’s an arduous and tired noise, depraving its listener of party, of dance, and hastily sings her confessional. 


What a stupidly addicting song. Everything about the next four minutes, 56 seconds is laughable. 

  1. YA YA

A sample of Nancy Sinatra’s 1965 record, “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” opens track 20 in a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential dialogue:

“Hello, girls (Hello, Beyoncé

Hello, fellas (You’re pretty swell)

Those petty ones can’t f*ck with me (Why?)

‘Cause I’m a clever girl,”

Then, the beat kicks it, and the song reforms into a “Ya-ya” parade. 

“[This track] is wild,” said third-year chemistry major, Audrey Surdell. “It’s not my personal music vibe, but she killed vocals,”

Beyoncé uses the almost five-minute track to show off her bestial vocal range, growling through verse three in an Elvis-esc tonality. 


“Spaghettii,” features Linda Martell and Shaboozey in this “rap trap track.” Kamettii Johar, a third-year biology major identifies the song as nearing the top of her preferred ranking list. 

“It’s very cool. I love rap Beyoncé, it’s my favorite persona of hers. She’s the sauce!” Johar said. 

Linda Martell, the first Black female solo artist to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, introduces the anthem. 

“Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?

Yes, they are

In theory, they have a simple definition that’s easy to understand

But in practice, well, some may feel confined,”

Martell’s career faded during her transition from soul and R&B to country in the ‘60s. With a single on the charts and an album on the way, she booked a gig in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and was plagued by racism and scrutiny.

“I remember that well,” she told Rolling Stone. “You’d be singing and they’d shout out names and you know the names they would call you,” she recalls from the night, as a “prompter joined [on stage] and told the crowd to either shut up or leave.”

The track is a violent dissertation towards pompous country as a genre. It’s provocative and endows her foot in the renaissance of the clique. 


The last track in this review is “Flamenco,” a soft exhale in this audacious body of work. Beyoncé cycles the reformation of American Country sound in a short promise wrapped in marigold. It unyokes the expectation of classification in a tribute to her career.

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  • K

    Apr 11, 2024 at 9:33 pm

    hahaha i love the quote of me that you used!! this review makes me wanna listen to the album again <333 sooo good!!