HomeUncategorizedThe Western Films That Inspired the Album

The Western Films That Inspired the Album

Beyoncé’s new album, Cowboy Country, is out in the wild. In a press release, Beyoncé provided extensive insight into the making of the album and its variety of influences.

Each Song Was Inspired by a Western Film

Notably, each song is its own version of a reimagined Western film, including Michael Matthews’ Five Fingers For Marseilles; James Bridges’ Urban Cowboy; Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight; Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys; Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall; and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Often times, they films were playing on a screen during the recording process.

Additionally, some aspects of the album’s percussion were inspired by the Coen Brothers’ ‘O  Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Beyoncé also found inspiration in traditional country, R&B, blues, zydeco, and Black folk music, as well as from her childhood trips to the Houston Rodeo.

Big Name Collaborators

Cowboy Carter features collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, and Shaboozey, while Dolly PartonWillie Nelson, and Linda Martell each take turning serving as a DJ on a fictional radio station that’s playing the album.

Other contributors included Stevie Wonder, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, Nile Rodgers, Robert Randolph, Gary Clark, Jr., Willie Jones, and Brittney Spencer, plus The-Dream, Pharrell Williams, NO I.D., Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Tedder, Ryan Beatty, Swizz Beatz, Nova Wav, and JAY-Z.

Beyoncé Used Real, Organic Instruments

The album features accordion, harmonica, washboard, acoustic guitar, bass ukulele, pedal steel guitar, a Vibra-Slap, the mandolin, fiddle, Hammond B3 organ, tack piano, and the banjos.

“The joy of creating music is that there are no rules,” Beyoncé said. “The more I see the world evolving the more I felt a deeper connection to purity. With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones. I didn’t want some layers of instruments like strings, especially guitars, and organs perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw and leaned into folk. All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature.”

Cowboy Carter Predates Renaissance

Beyoncé revealed that Cowboy Carter actually predates its predecessor, Renaissance. “This album took over five years,” she explained. “It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put Cowboy Carter out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

The Significance of the Album Title

The album’s title and character, Cowboy Carter was inspired by the original Black cowboys of the American West. As a press release explains, “the word cowboy itself was used in a derogatory way to describe the former slaves as ‘boys,’ who were the most skilled and had the hardest jobs of handling horses and cattle, alike. In destroying the negative connotation, what remains is the strength and resiliency of these men who were the true definition of Western fortitude.”

What Else Beyoncé Has to Say About Cowboy Carter?

“My process is that I typically have to experiment,” Beyoncé said. “I enjoy being open to have the freedom to get all aspects of things I love out and so I worked on many songs.  I recorded probably 100 songs. Once that is done, I am able to put the puzzle together and realize the consistencies and the common themes, and then create a solid body of work.”

I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects,” she added, “but it’s the best music I’ve ever made.”

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