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Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Is All Hat And No Cattle

Beyonce wearing a cowboy hat
Image CreditiHeartRadio/Youtube

It’s hard to resist bopping along to ‘Texas Hold ‘Em,’ but when I pay attention, I have absolutely no clue what I’m singing about.

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Since the left is challenged to define something as distinct and scientific as “woman,” it should come as no surprise that the guardians of popular culture struggle to categorize music into specific genres. While music lacks distinct biological constraints, there are some characteristics that traditionally define specific categories. Just look at Spotify or iTunes — these platforms create entire algorithms based on such parameters. 

Some talented artists, such as Elvis, can draw influence from multiple styles and create something completely new. But for all her talent and popularity, Beyoncé is no Elvis — and her latest album, “Cowboy Carter,” is anything but country. 

From Johnny Cash to LOCASH — one element crucial to country music is a straightforward storytelling style that speaks to the heart with simple, relatable lyrics, whether it’s George Strait crooning about oceanfront property in Arizona or Garth Brooks sending his love down to Baton Rouge. Although country music itself has changed as a genre over time and there might be disagreement among fans as to what can be classified as “real” country, I think it is fair to say that part of the genre’s appeal lies in the absence of abstractness and cryptic messages. I know many people who don’t love country music but still appreciate the honest, unpretentious story that country music always seems to convey. No complicated plot lines. No confusing lyrics. 

It’s hard to resist bopping along to Beyoncé’s first hit of her new album, “Texas Hold ‘Em,” but when I pay attention to the lyrics, I have absolutely no clue what I’m singing about. Maybe I’m naïve, but I’m pretty sure it’s nothing wholesome like “Breaking Up In a Small Town” or “Buy(ing) Dirt.”

It’s hard to shoot a BB gun and not hit a country song talking about mommas and pick-ups and back roads. But, Beyoncé insists on hammering us with “b-tches” and Lexuses and the 405. 

Probably the most egregious offense against country music on Beyoncé’s album is her depiction of women. Contemporary country music typically admires women rather than denigrating them, albeit maybe in a simplistic, sometimes out-of-touch way. But I don’t believe I’ve ever heard country lyrics refer to a woman as a “f-cking animal” or a “f-cking centerfold.” Lovely. 

In contrast, let’s review one of my favorite new country songs by Morgan Wallen, accompanied by the legend Eric Church, “Man Made a Bar:” 

God made the world in seven short days

He said it was good, I bet it was great

And God made a man, the man got lonely

He said, ‘Please, Lord, if I could only

Have an angel to hold in my arms’ 

So God made a girl, his best work of art

Oh, but he didn’t make no place to go when she breaks your heart… 

So man made a bar.

Compare that chorus to Beyoncé’s new song “Spaghetti”:

I ain’t in no gang, but I got shooter and I bang, bang

At the snap of my fingers, I’m Thanos, damn it, damn it

And I’m still on your head, cornrows, damn it, damn it

They call me the captain, the catwalk assassin

When they know it’s slappin’, then here come the yappin’

All of the snithcin’, and all of this b-tchin’ 

Just a fishin’ expedition, dumb admission.

And people were upset with Jason Aldean. 

I’m not saying the country boys singing these songs today are saints. Morgan Wallen’s behavior in the recent past is evidence they are most certainly not. But they write songs that make us believe good men and love — the kind of romantic love that moves mountains — still exist. Even if that love ends in heartbreak

Not one of the songs on Beyoncé’s album makes my heart break or, to be honest, drums up anything but irritation. Her overly affected voice is too dramatic to be equated with country music’s simple, straightforward tone. Her trills and forced intonations in every song are tired.

It’s hard to tell if Beyoncé understands most women’s experience of feeling at times insecure and fragile. She seems more concerned with being the elite mega-pop and rap star that she is. There’s no trace of vulnerability in her songs. She even managed to turn the protagonist in Dolly Parton’s iconic “Jolene” from a vulnerable woman pleading for her man into a threatening, vengeful “queen” who is still a “Creole banjee b-tch (of course) from Louisiane.” 

The only song on the album I could listen to from start to finish was not Beyoncé’s — it was the Beatles. And while “Blackbird” is arguably one of the most beautiful songs ever written, no one would classify it as country. 

Chaps and a cowboy hat do not a country song make. No more than putting on makeup and a skirt or a sports bra makes a man a woman. And singing, “Have mercy on me” and “Amen” once or twice does not save this album from being about as country as Joe Biden is Catholic. 

Of course, lefties are fawning over Queen Bey and drowning her in effusive praise for “busting stereotypes” and “breaking boundaries” — this from people who wouldn’t know a boundary if they ran into it. There are no limitations or barriers in the progressive world. Labels are too restrictive and binding. Reality is something created, not dealt with.

I was a huge fan of Destiny’s Child, and in my fierce feminist days, I was one of the first to “put my hands up” when Beyoncé directed men to “put a ring on it.” I proudly sang “Single Ladies” at the top of my lungs. As a former dancer, the catchy rhythms in “Crazy in Love,” “Love on Top,” and “Run the World” provided endless inspiration for some fun and innovative choreography. 

I understand the need to explore various stages of life identities through art and the desire to reinvent yourself. I do not contest Beyoncé’s talent. But what I find myself in strong opposition to is her taste — something that is lacking in “Cowboy Carter,” no matter what genre they call it. 


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