Movie Songs

Okay, so which Cowboy Carter song is based on Clint Eastwood “old astronauts” movie Space Cowboys?

March 30, 20243 Mins Read

Beyoncé is, obviously, the woman of the weekend: Her new country-inspired album, Cowboy Carter, is exploding Spotify records, catching huge amounts of attention, and proving that Beyoncé is maybe the one person on the planet capable of getting Dolly Parton’s full blessing to turn “Jolene” from an anthem of heartbreak and failure, into an aggressive warning to the Beckys With The Good Hair of the world to back the fuck off.

Amidst it all, Beyoncé’s team released an official press statement about Cowboy Carter that is going to be messing with our heads for a minute. Most of it is pretty standard album release stuff, charting some of the influences on the 27-track album, naming guest artists, revealing that Cowboy was originally supposed to come out before 2022’s Renaissance.(“But with the pandemic,” the release quotes Beyoncé, “There was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance.”)

But the release also presents one hell of a puzzle for cinephiles/Beyoncé fans, namely: Which song or songs on Cowboy Carter was inspired by the 2000 “Tommy Lee Jones and Clint Eastwood are old astronauts who go into space” movie Space Cowboys?

Because, as it turns out, each song on Cowboy Carter apparently “Is its own version of a reimagined Western film.” It’s not 100 percent clear that every song on the album is a 1 to 1 with a movie—it’s possible that Beyoncé is just saying each song should be seen as its own self-contained movie, although it’s a lot easier to read it the other way. But the connection to the Eastwood-directed Old Astronauts movie is explicit. Per the release: “She took inspiration from films like Five Fingers For Marseilles,Urban Cowboy,The Hateful Eight, Space Cowboys,The Harder They Fall, and Killers Of The Flower Moon.” (A nice mix of new and old films, of which Space Cowboys is by far the weirdest pick.) The release also says Beyoncé frequently had the films on during the recording process for the album, and for some reason, there’s something very funny about one of the biggest albums of 2024 being recorded while Jones and Eastwood have a dick-measuring contest about who can stand more G-forces.

Sadly, a listen to the album—and a scan of the lyrics—hasn’t allowed us to discern even a trace of James Garner in Cowboy Carter; we can only hope that more senior members of the BeyHive can tease out how the album incorporates elements of a movie that (spoilers) ends on the reveal that Tommy Lee Jones has successfully become the first human being to die on the moon, which is a fairly weird vibe for this otherwise triumphant release.

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