Beyoncé's Country Revolution: What's Behind the Breakthrough

Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Post Malone: ​​the country revival, explained

The most talked about song of the moment, in the US and in the UK? It is set in a bar in a small town in western Virginia, Woodbridge, where “everyone is getting drunk”, while a little further on, in the center, people are partying. Shaboozey sings the lyrics to “A bar song (Tipsy)” on a triumph of acoustic guitars and violins. On TikTok amount to more 1 million the clips in which the hit plays in the background of images of girls showing off cowgirl looksBetween hats And leather boots. In the last week alone the song has scored on Spotify 38.9 million streams. Since its release in early April, the single has racked up in all

311 million listeners worldwide. Collins Obinna Chibueze, this is the real name of the 29-year-old American rapper, who mixes hip hop and acoustic guitars, is only the latest to have decided to ride a trend, the one linked to the revival of country, which is already has become something more than just a market trend.

After all, there is nothing so new. Shania Twain in the 90s he made the genre pop, selling with “The woman in me” 20 million copies worldwide (with “Boots don't” the singer-songwriter will be among the protagonists of the soundtrack of the film “Twisters” by Lee Isaac Chungsequel to Jan de Bont's 1996 cult film of the “disaster movie” genre, about the power of tornadoes, released on July 19, 2024). Madonna with “Don't tell me” in 2000 he won a bet that was not a winner regardless, not even for a Queen with a history like hers. Lady Gaga in 2016 with “Joanne” came back down to earth after fantasizing a little too much in his “Artpop” era, while Miley Cyrus with “Younger now” of 2017 cleaned up its image after a few too many excesses. Nevertheless never before have so many pop stars been simultaneously rediscovering their fascination for this genre, born a century ago in the southern United States of America. Playing, why not, even with all the clichés of the case.

When Beyoncé last February he announced during the Super Bowl the imminent release of his album dedicated to the genre, he did it via a video in which he drove a vintage car in a wasteland, tuning into a country music radio station. “Cowboy Carter”, which finally arrived in March, represented something more for the former Destiny's Child than a simple country breakthrough, like those of Gaga and Cyrus: with this recording operation Beyoncé, originally from Houston, Texaswanted to somehow reappropriate a genre that is not the prerogative of American culture of Western origin. Before her – and before Shaboozey, who Bey enlisted in “Spaghettii”, one of the tracks contained in “Cowboy Carter” – she had thought about reiterating the black roots of country in 2018

Lil Nas with “Old Town road”, enlisting a (white) icon of the genre like Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley's father: six years later he has 1.5 billion plays on Spotify. With the single “Texad hold 'em”, the pop diva became the first black artist to top Billboard's country chart: “The criticisms I have received since I approached this genre have pushed me to go beyond the limits that were imposed on me,” said she, who on the album interpreted the famous “Jolene” by Dolly Parton and paid homage to Willie Nelson .

Nelson, 90, was also drafted by Orville Peck in his “Stampede Vol. 1”, together with – among others – Elton John, Noah Cyrus: together with the country star the mysterious masked singer, who in the USA has conquered the public, the critics and even colleagues such as Lady Gaga (who wanted him at her side in the country remake of the hit “Born this way”, in 2021), Shania Twain herself (who agreed to record “Legends never die” with him) and Kylie Minogue (who together with Diplo appears in the single “Midnight laughs”), recorded a cover of the classic “Cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other”.

“.Has country become the new pop? I always thought so, because I love country music. It is the American musical genre par excellence. It was created by the meeting of very different cultures. It has roots in black instruments, in the gospel of black culture. But it also has roots in Latin and European culture. It's like a sort of melting pot of many different cultures and in this it's pop, even if sometimes people don't think it is”, he said in our interview on the occasion of the launch of a talent show dedicated to the genre, ” My kind of country” on Apple TV. Who knows what it will mean to try his hand at country music for a pop star like that Lana Del Rey, always a singer of nostalgia for the American dream (and for this reason often branded as a conservative republican, even if she has always denied sympathy for the right). The album is titled “Period” (i.e. “lasso”, or cowboy rope) and will arrive in September: “In case you haven't already figured it out from award winners and performers, the music business is taking a country turn.”he said.

He knows something about it Dua Lipawhich last May surprised fans of the genre by making a surprise appearance at the Academy of Country Music Awardsthe “Grammys of country”, duetting with Chris Stapleton on “Think I'm in love with you”, then released as a single. For some, country music has never lost its appeal. Morgan Wallen for several seasons now he has been the greatest exponent in the American charts of the genre that marked Taylor Swift's debut, before the latter began to flirt with electropop (getting closer to her roots with “Folklore” and “Evermore”): her songs, starting with “Last night”,

922 million streams on Spotify and dozens of records broken in the USA, are one precise and romantic cross-section of the most rural, ancestral, authentic America, that of Tennessee, between bars, fishing, provincial roads, boots, the Bible always on the bedside table, pub crawls. With the 31-year-old singer-songwriter – who in 2021 risked seeing his empire crumble after indulging in some racist insults outside the house at the end of an evening with a high level of alcohol, also immortalized by videos circulating on social media – he recently wanted to join forces also Post Malone: their “I had some help” is among the ten most streamed songs on Spotify in the last week, with 38.9 million listeners.