Cowboy like Me

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"Cowboy like Me"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Evermore
Written2020
Recorded2020
Genre
Length4:35
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Aaron Dessner
Lyric video
"Cowboy like Me" on YouTube

"Cowboy like Me" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It is the eleventh track on Swift's ninth studio album, Evermore, which was released on December 11, 2020, through Republic Records. The song was written by Swift and Aaron Dessner, the latter of whom also produced the track. Backing vocals are also provided by Marcus Mumford, lead singer of the band Mumford & Sons.

Narrating the fictitious story of two rogue con artists from one of their perspectives, "Cowboy Like Me" has the characters fall in love while frequenting resorts to impress, deceive and scam rich beneficiaries of high society, whilst dealing with their own problems. Musically, the song blends alternative, blues, folk rock, and country, especially elements of West American music, using a lap steel, piano, harmonica, mandolin, hushed guitars and brushed drums. Upon the release of Evermore, the song charted in the United States and Canada, peaking at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart.

Background and release[edit]

Swift released her eighth studio album, Folklore, on July 24, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of it was produced by American producer Aaron Dessner. Swift continued to work with Dessner remotely even after releasing Folklore, who would send her his instrumental tracks, to which she would write the lyrics. These sessions spontaneously resulted in a set of songs that were a natural extension of Folklore.[1] One such song was "Cowboy like Me". Josh Kaufman played three instruments on the song, while Justin Vernon played drums.[2]

Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of English folk rock band Mumford and Sons, provided backing vocals on "Cowboy like Me".

Swift announced and released her ninth studio album in the same year, titled Evermore, her second product of remote collaboration and virtual communication after Folklore.[3] "Cowboy like Me" placed as the eleventh track on the record's track-listing. All of Evermore was recorded at Dessner's Long Pond studio, New York, during the making of Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, Swift's 2020 documentary,[4] except "Cowboy like Me", which was recorded at Scarlet Pimpernel Studios, a recording studio in the UK owned by Marcus Mumford, the frontman of English folk rock band Mumford & Sons. Mumford also contributed uncredited backing vocals to the song. Mumford had alluded to the collaboration in an Instagram post from inside the studio.[5][6]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Cowboy like Me" is a blues,[7] country,[8][9] alternative,[10] and folk rock[11] ballad[12] that contains a lap steel,[8] hushed guitars, harmonica, mandolin, piano,[13] upright bass and easy-brushed drums.[14] Lyrically, it is a melancholic and picaresque song.[15] Swift described "Cowboy like Me" as a fictional song "two young con artists who fall in love while hanging out at fancy resorts trying to score rich romantic beneficiaries".[5] In the song, two high-society scammers meet their match in each other and rejoice in having someone around who's able to see through the posturing,[16] all while dealing with "bandits" and "hustling".[14] Notably, the song begins with the word "and", indicating a happening in the song's extended storyline.[17] With a slow tempo of 68 beats per minute,[18] "Cowboy like Me" is set in a C major key. Swift's vocals range between E3 and G4.[19]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for Billboard, Jason Lipshutz ranked "Cowboy like Me" ninth among the 17 tracks from the deluxe edition of Evermore, deeming it "an ambitious mix of folk, sun-kissed alternative and a whiff of the country music that Swift was once rooted in".[13] Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky called the track "gorgeous", and one of the closest things to country music Swift had written in years.[6] Chris Willman of Variety praised Mumford's "lovely harmony vocal", opining that it "might count" as the second country track on the record — labelling "No Body, No Crime" as being the other country track — but stated that the song's narrative is "more determinedly Western than C&W".[8] In a piece for the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood praised the concept of the song, but said that its arrangement "never gets up and goes anywhere".[20]

Commercial performance[edit]

All of the tracks on Evermore debuted inside the top 75 of the Billboard Global 200 chart simultaneously; "Cowboy Like Me" was at number 62. In the US, the song opened at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 15 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.[21] The song reached number 43 on the Canadian Hot 100.[22]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Pitchfork.[23]

  • Taylor Swift − vocals, songwriting
  • Aaron Dessner − songwriting, production, recording, drum machine, percussion, synth bass, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Marcus Mumford − backing vocals
  • Josh Kaufman − lap steel, harmonica, mandolin
  • Justin Vernon − drum kit, electric guitar
  • Bryce Dessner − orchestration
  • Yuki Numata Resnick − orchestration
  • Clarice Jensen − orchestration
  • Robin Baynton − recording
  • Kyle Resnick − recording
  • Greg Calbi − mastering
  • Steve Fallone − mastering
  • Logan Coale − upright bass

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[24] 43
Global 200 (Billboard)[25] 62
UK Streaming (OCC)[26] 91
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 71
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[28] 15
US Rolling Stone Top 100[29] 50

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shaffer, Claire (December 18, 2020). "Aaron Dessner on How His Collaborative Chemistry With Taylor Swift Led to 'Evermore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Shaffer, Claire (December 18, 2020). "Aaron Dessner on How His Collaborative Chemistry With Taylor Swift Led to 'Evermore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Countryman, Eli (December 16, 2020). "Taylor Swift Opens Up About the Creation of 'Evermore'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Shaffer, Claire (December 18, 2020). "Aaron Dessner on How His Collaborative Chemistry With Taylor Swift Led to 'Evermore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Gutowitz, Jill (December 11, 2020). "So, What the Hell Folk Tales Is Taylor Swift Telling Now on evermore?". Vulture. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Sodomsky, Sam (December 15, 2020). "Taylor Swift- Evermore". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on December 15, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift's surprise new album 'Evermore' – the big talking points". NME. Retrieved May 5, 2021. The British folk-rock don appears on ‘Cowboy like Me’, a bluesy tune about two con artists falling in love, providing backing vocals.
  8. ^ a b c Willman, Chris (December 10, 2020). "Taylor Swift Has Her Second Great Album of 2020 With 'Evermore': Album Review". Variety. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  9. ^ Shaffer, Claire (December 18, 2020). "Aaron Dessner on How His Collaborative Chemistry With Taylor Swift Led to 'Evermore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021. It was really impressive to me that she could tell these stories as easily in something like “Closure” as she could in a country song like “Cowboy Like Me.”
  10. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (December 14, 2020). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's 'Evermore': Critic's Picks". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Wood, Mikael (December 10, 2020). "Review: Taylor Swift's surprise LP 'Evermore' is more — and less — 'Folklore'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (December 16, 2020). "Taylor Swift Could Use an Editor". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on April 14, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021. The sighing ballad “Cowboy Like Me” shows how Swift’s love for conspiratorial romances draws out her knack for detail and scenery.
  13. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (December 11, 2020). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's 'Evermore' Deluxe Edition: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Pierson-Hagger, Ellen (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Evermore is Folklore's darker, colder sister record". New Statesman. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  15. ^ Krieger, Deborah. "Taylor Swift Has Written the Best Music of Her Career with 'evermore' and 'folklore'". PopMatters. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  16. ^ Jenkins, Craig (December 14, 2020). "Taylor Swift Is Done Self-Mythologizing". Vulture. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  17. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (December 15, 2020). "Taylor Swift Could Use an Editor". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  18. ^ "Key & BPM for cowboy like me by Taylor Swift | Tunebat". tunebat.com. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  19. ^ Taylor, Swift; Aaron, Dessner; Taylor, Swift (December 11, 2020). "cowboy like me". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  20. ^ Wood, Mikael (December 10, 2021). "Review: Taylor Swift's surprise LP 'Evermore' is more — and less — 'Folklore'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  21. ^ "Taylor Swift – Hot Rock & Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  22. ^ "Taylor Swift – Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  23. ^ Minsker, Evan. "Taylor Swift Releases New Album evermore: Listen and Read the Full Credits". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on May 5, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  24. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  25. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  26. ^ "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  28. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 17, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2021.