Fri. May 24th, 2024

Why Beyoncé’s new country album is controversial

By ki0nk Mar30,2024

In spite of the fact that the song “Cowboy Carter” has reached number one on the charts, country radio and the Nashville industry are not enthusiastically welcoming Queen B’s new album, which is scheduled to be published on March 29.

Even if you go by the name Beyoncé, you will still encounter closed doors. Cowboy Carter, Queen B’s eighth studio album, was released this past Friday. Following the release of Renaissance, which was a tribute to the soul roots of house music, Queen B delves into the world of country music. In addition, even if the track “Texas Hold ‘Em” were to reach the top of the charts, radio stations in the conservative American South would not truly pull out the red carpet for Beyoncé.

According to Alice Randall, a professor of African-American studies at Vanderbilt University and a co-writer of multiple country singles in the 1990s, cultural segregation is not something that has recently emerged. “This industry has always offered fewer opportunities to women, particularly black women,” she claims. “This is especially true for black women.”

In her explanation, Beyoncé stated that Cowboy Carter “was born out of an experience [she] had numerous years ago.” My impression was that I was not welcome…In addition, it was very evident that I was not.”

What exactly is she talking about? The song “Daddy Lessons,” which was published in 2016 on the album Lemonade, is considered to be his first attempt at experimenting with the genre. On the stage of the Country Music Association Awards, she received a standing ovation for her performance of the song with the members of the band that was still known as the Dixie Chicks at the time.

However, fans of the genre are taking to the internet to express their disapproval of a musician whom they feel to be, at best, “not country” and, at worst, “who does not believe in America and does not support its police officers.” Beyoncé’s performance at halftime of the Super Bowl, in which she paid respect to the Black Panthers and indicated her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, has been the subject of a debate that is a reaction to the much more significant commitment that she made that year.

The United States of America is more fractured than it has ever been before as a result of political divides and the culture war.

At the beginning of February, a local station in Oklahoma responded to a listener by saying, “we don’t play Beyoncé on KYKC because we’re a country radio station.” This decision resulted in the station refusing to play the song “Texas Hold ‘Em.” This decision sparked charges of racism.

The community of the singer’s admirers, known as the beyhive, is getting ready to take action. In spite of the fact that it had received hundreds of calls and letters, the radio station asserted that it had denied the request before it had even listened to “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and it eventually added the title to its rotation.

If, on the other hand, the track is successful in streaming and succeeds in climbing to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, it will reach its highest place on the Country Airplay charts, which is the ranking of the titles that are played the most on specialised radio stations. According to a survey conducted by SongData, out of the 11,000 songs that were played on country stations between the years 2002 and 2020, two out of every three were performed by male musicians, and 97% of the songs were performed by white singers. Beyoncé is not a unique occurrence.

When asked about this somewhat chilly reception, John Schneider, who starred in the sitcom Sheriff, Scare Me in the 1980s and released several country records, made a mistake on the channel One American News, which is closely associated with the Trump administration.

At the same time that the presenter is furious with these “left” singers, such as Beyoncé, who touch on a genre that is still considered to be the domain of conservatives, he answers by saying, “They need to mark their territory like a dog in the park.” It was a metaphor that was not in good taste, and Beyoncé chose to ignore it.

According to Schneider, did Beyoncé, a Texan from Houston, seize her cowboy spurs out of a sense of opportunism? This is a ridiculous statement, according to Alice Randall: “Country would not be country if it were not for the influences of African and evangelical Christian music; it would be folk music.”

According to the scholar, the ancestor of the banjo “was brought from Africa by slaves.” This information is included in his book, My Black Country, which was published by Simon & Schuster and will be available in the United States on April 9th. While working with Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé also brings attention to other African-American musicians, such as Rhiannon Giddens, who is featured on the song “Texas Hold ‘Em” playing the banjo.

According to Alice Randall, the following is a summary of the themes that are prevalent in country music: “Life is difficult, God exists, the road, whisky, and family are important, and the past is better than the present.”

Beyoncé’s first three singles contain a significant amount of all of these elements. We are going to add to his list, just like Zac Brown Band did in the song “Fried Chiken,” which says, “fried chicken, a cold beer on a Friday night, and a pair of jeans in the perfect size.”

However, the vocalist of “Single Ladies” is not the first pop musician to be successful in crossing over into the country music genre. But if you want to be dubbed in Nashville, you have to obey the conventions and traditions that are in place there. For example, you have to collaborate with local producers and avoid being too politically offensive.

Except for the fact that Beyoncé, who is currently the most powerful artist of the moment, along with Taylor Swift, who is coming off of a monster tour that generated nearly $600 million in revenue and holds the record for wins at the Grammy Awards (32), did not require these “gatekeepers” (also known as “guardians of the temple”) “to reach a global audience” because of streaming, judges Randall says.

Additionally, Jay-Z’s partner had been the one to make the announcement: “It’s not a country record. This album is a Beyoncé release. She sings a cover of “Blackbird” by the Beatles, then she asks Miley Cyrus and Post Malone to perform “II Most Wanted” and “Levi’s Jeans,” respectively. Queen B is satisfied with Beyoncé’s actions.

The evidence is provided by “Jolene,” which she continues to perform with the approval of her godmother, Dolly Parton… A half-century later, she altered the lyrics of the song. “Beg” Jolene not to take her boyfriend is not something that she does. This is the “warning” that she gives him: “I’m a Creole bitch (from) Louisiana/You don’t want me to smoke you/ I’m a queen Jolene.” Even now, the queen has not been dethroned.

If you are under the impression that the aesthetic of country music is pervasive in today’s music scene, you are not mistaken. The Western attire that is becoming increasingly popular is being seen on some of the most important cultural venues, and country music is making its way into an increasing number of playlists on Spotify.

In January, Pharrell Williams, a music guru and the recently appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton, presented a silhouette that was inspired by cowboys for the fall 2024 menswear collection that was designed by Vuitton.

The collection was presented during Paris Fashion Week. Beyoncé made an appearance at the Grammy Awards wearing a white cowboy hat and a jacket that was crafted just for her from the collection. Duet of Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs of Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which soared to the top of the Billboard charts in the previous year thanks to Combs’ reimagined country interpretation of the song, was one of the acts that garnered the most attention during the Grammy Awards ceremony.


By ki0nk

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