Beyonce’s 'Cowboy Carter' review: How country does the diva go?

Modern soul and R&B star goes more than one step further.

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Even before Beyoncé’s new album Cowboy Carter hit the waves, there was talk of the town (and the music world in general, for that matter) that the modern soul and R&B star is taking another direction here - going into the realm of country music.

After all, country staple artists Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson were (and are) supposed to be on it, among others. The album cover and promo photos were also telling the same story. After listening to the album, two dilemmas are open - is it a country album, and, is it any good?

Let us handle the latter one first. No dilemma there - it is an absolutely great album and it ranks among Beyoncé’s (and most of the current modern artists ) best. Yet, what about it being a country album? Well, there is a dual answer there - it is, and it isn’t.

Reviewing Beyoncé’s new country album, Cowboy Carter

Yes, Beyoncé goes country here, she handles (with ease) staples like Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and a few others, but that seems not to be the key point here.

You see (and you can hear) Beyoncé handles the whole spectrum of modern American pop music today and its roots - from its country, soul, R&B roots (“Protector," for example), even the influence the British invasion had (a great cover of The Beatles’ “Blackbird”). And not only that but she gives her own take on it, injecting into the sprawling 27 tracks here new, imaginative touches, sometimes akin to what her sister Solange did on her previous few albums.

To add to it all, Beyoncé’s vocals are at her best, and the overall playing, arrangements, and production are as impeccable as ever. So, considering all this, the album cover comes to signify much more than Beyoncé going country - it is Beyonce doing modern American pop music on one album, and in a brilliant way too.

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