The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Yoncé goes country

Beyoncé’s metallic costumes are out and her cowboy boots are soon to make a mark upon the music world. See how Beyonce’s new album is already stirring much anticipation.

Recently, there’s been a surge of interest into country music, with sounds from Dasha’s “Austin” and Beyoncé’s “TEXAS HOLD ’EM” trending on TikTok. “TEXAS HOLD ’EM” has remained number one in the U.K for four weeks, due to the seemingly never ending excitement of Beyoncé’s newest album, COWBOY CARTER.

Born and raised in Texas, Beyoncé’s musical journey has been nothing short of legendary. She made her first appearance with the girl group Destiny’s Child in the 1990s, and worked her way up to making her first solo recording “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” with Jay-Z in 2002. That solo recording, which peaked at number four in the U.S Billboard Hot 100 chart, paved the way for her to make eight studio albums, including her latest, COWBOY CARTER.

COWBOY CARTER, which consists of 27 songs, is an homage to her home state, Texas. Beyoncé embraces her country roots with catchy, albeit cheesy, country titles such as: “TEXAS HOLD ’EM,” “LEVII’S JEANS,” and “OH LOUISIANA.” The album features Black country artists Tanner Adell, Britney Spencers, and Tiera Kennedy, adding depth and diversity to the album. This resonated with Matt Izzo ’26, who stated that “COWBOY CARTER is a continuation of celebrating Black excellence and genres made by Black people.”

Graphic by Ilana Zahavy ’24/staff

While COWBOY CARTER was released on March 29, anticipation had been building up since February with Beyoncé’s initial release of “TEXAS HOLD ’EM” and “16 CARRIAGES.” This release was such a huge success that it propelled Beyoncé to become the first Black woman to have a number one song on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart,a significant feat in the competitive genre. Regardless of this achievement, Beyoncé still hopes that in time, “the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”

Country music, typically described as songs played by “old white men singing about horses, tractors, and beer” said Ezra Ftaiha ’25, originates from African-American culture with their invention of the banjo, and is arguably one of the most diverse music genres in the U.S. Despite country music’s diverse history, there has been huge criticism of Beyoncé’s venture into country music. However, all present criticism seems to stem from a place of either racism or misogyny.

On an Instagram post, Beyoncé wrote that COWBOY CARTER was a result of backlash she faced years ago during a country performance: “It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed… and it was very clear that I wasn’t.” This was a reference to her six-minute performance in the Country Music Awards (CMA) back in 2016. She reported a barrage of racism online after her performance, so much so that the recording was taken down from the CMA’s website for 24 hours and prominent country artist Natalie Maines described the reactions as simply “disgusting.” This inevitably led Beyoncé to take “a deeper dive into the history of the country” and spend “over five years in the making” of this album—and it shows.

Each song flows seamlessly into each other, with flawless transitions between each track. Various themes are present, both upbeat and emotional, invoking multiple sensations. The album features legendary ninety-year-old country artist Wille Nelson, pop and country artists Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, and a rendition of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. Beyond musicality, some songs contain deeper meanings; a rendition of the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” serves as an ode to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The fourth song on the album, “PROTECTOR,” features her six-year-old daughter and stands as a love song to her children, adding another layer of personal significance to the album.

COWBOY CARTER has raised some essential questions within the music industry; What is country music? What does it represent? Who gets to define it? Who gets to make it? Beyoncé asks on the track “SPAGHETTI,” “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?… In theory, they have a simple definition that’s easy to understand. But in practice, well, some may feel confined.” Through this album, Beyoncé has further proven that music knows no bounds. For some reason, this feels less of a genre production, and more of an evolution of country music. As Beyoncé herself put it, “This ain’t a country album. This is a Beyoncé album.”

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