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Kelsea Ballerini’s ‘Cowboys Cry Too’ Addresses Toxic Masculinity

Kelsea Ballerini’s ‘Cowboys Cry Too’ Addresses Toxic Masculinity

Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan release collaborative single "Cowboys Cry Too"

Country music artist Kelsea Ballerini released a new single with Noah Kahan on June 28, titled “Cowboys Cry Too.” The song, which came right at the end of Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, talks about showing emotion in a society that encourages men to hide their feelings.

Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan working on 'Cowboys Cry Too'

“In a world that says ‘saddle up and be a man’, I hope this song finds you in your humanness,” Ballerini wrote on Instagram.

In the post, Ballerini shared a screenshot of a text message she sent to Kahan asking for his collaboration on the song. She said the song “could evolve into a true duet” and that “having both sides could be really special.”

The duet starts with Ballerini’s verse, talking about her partner and noting his outer toughness, and her surprise to find out that he has emotions he often hides. The chorus ends with “I never knew / Cowboys cry too.”

When Kahan enters in the second verse, he gives the perspective of a man who grew up watching his dad hold his emotions in and wanting to do the same. In the context of the relationship these two artists have created, Kahan says, “I’m afraid you’ll walk away when the tears start running.”

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Kelsea Ballerini wrote a draft for "Cowboys Cry Too"

“In our world and culture and echo chamber of highlight reels and pretty things, sometimes real feelings start to feel like something you just set aside or push down to keep up,” Ballerini said in a press release announcing the collaboration. “Especially the way so many men grow up, that kind of toxic masculinity mindset of ‘saddle up, brush it off.'”

In the press release, Kahan said he was inspired by songwriters who were willing to sing about hard or awkward topics, and he was interested in writing with Ballerini on something he believed in. In an attempt to reject the idea of toxic masculinity, Kahan said, “‘Cowboys Cry Too’ is everything I believed our collaboration could be.”

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