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What If Beyoncé Already Made Her Rock Album?

We dig into Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’, going track by track, and ponder rumors of a rock album to come… as well as the idea that in some ways, this already is that album



On Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé mixes R&B, country, and some hard-hitting guitars, among many other elements, and as the artist herself is well aware, there used to be a name for that kind of American melange: rock & roll. She slyly acknowledges that fact with two Chuck Berry moments on the album, including a segment of “Maybellene,” his first hit, in which a Black genius helped invent rock & roll via revved-up country.

So, there’s an argument that Cowboy Carter — which the artist has made clear is a “Beyoncé album” rather than the country effort many expected — is as much of a rock album as anything else. Tracks like the Prince-meets-Sheryl Crow pop-rock gem “Bodyguard” and the spectacular Tina Turner-style anthem “Ya Ya” only support that thesis, as do the proggy touches on the Jon Batiste-assisted opening track, “American Requiiem,” not to mention the album’s nods to Berry, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and even Buffalo Springfield.

But Cowboy Carter is many things at once, and with 27 often wildly disparate tracks, it isn’t an easy work to pin down. On the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, we go through many of the tracks, with Larisha Paul joining host Brian Hiatt for the in-depth discussion. Paul also goes through the evidence that Beyoncé’s follow-up to Cowboy Carter, the third in the trilogy that began with Renaissance, will be a full-fledged, official rock album. To hear the full episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, go here for the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.

Elsewhere in the episode, one of the album’s many guest stars, country singer and former X-Factor contestant Willie Jones, weighs in on the thrill of singing with one of his biggest inspirations on the ballad “Just for Fun.” “I’m just excited to be on the album, man,” he says. “It’s actually insane…having the biggest, bestest, most busiest, honorable artist in the industry recognize not only myself, but Shaboozey and Linda Martell and Stoney Edwards.”

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone‘s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth interviews with Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Questlove, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, and Gary Clark Jr. And look for dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

From Rolling Stone US