Unfortunately, this third offering from Kacey Musgraves ends up being just shy of 45 golden minutes. When the neatly packaged 13 tracks ended as I listened for the first time on Monday night through flaking headphones, I blinked as though waking from a dream… surely it couldn’t be over yet?
Now if you’re sitting there, having clicked on this and you’re not really sure who Kacey Musgraves is, I’m coming to your rescue but first of all, where have you been?!
OK, Kacey is a Texas-born country artist (I know, I know – you’re all like Hannah we get it, you love country music 🙄) whose on the nose commentary through sharp lyrics and catchy melodies about the truth of family life, growing up and some other things Nashville deems a tad controversial make her unlike anybody else, a rebel of sorts who claims to be no one but herself.
Anyway, Google will tell you everything you need to know about this country queen. Let’s get to unpacking this stellar multi-layered album…
TRACK 1: SLOW BURN
What a wonderous opening track. It’s soft and slow and kind of sounds like that space between when you’re still awake but you’re really close to falling asleep. Its rhythms are hypnotising, as though you’re actually mesmerised and warm, watching a fire as it actually slowly burns under the stairs or in your cosy living room when you’re snuggled under a blanket. Also, those first few lines of lyrics pack a punch especially “I can be hot. I can be cold. Grandma cried when I pierced my nose.” Relatable. My grandpa, if I recall correctly was not all that happy I got my ears pierced at age 10.
TRACK 2: LONELY WEEKEND
This song starts off with slightly slumped shoulders and pangs of loneliness. It’s accepting that being lonely is OK. And then it’s deciding to pull funny faces in the mirror, blasting tunes and having a solo dance party. This is a FOMO anthem. You know what? It’s OK to be alone on a Friday night and go to bed at 9:00. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s social media fun. I mean, sure it might hurt at first and you might glare daggers at your to-do list as it mocks you, but eventually, you will find beauty and freedom in being alone.
TRACK 3: BUTTERFLIES
If Cupid’s arrow had a theme song, this would be it. Butterflies is that spinning around your room, giddy with feelings heady rush of falling in love. It’s smiling at a text but trying to hide it from the people around you, because it’s new and exciting. It’s not being afraid to laugh with your head thrown back as you walk down the street. It’s thinking you knew all the colours the world could be painted in but realising there’s a whole spectrum you didn’t know about. Shimmery summer days where the sky is a brilliant shade of blue and everything feels light. I know they say you should learn to love yourself before you think about loving someone else but I don’t think that’s true. I think knowing that someone looks at you and doesn’t care what baggage you have but sees their forever makes you realise just how brilliant you are and that those things you’ve been trying to make yourself believe are actually true.
TRACK 4: OH, WHAT A WORLD
From little things, big things grow. Don’t take the world for granted. Recognise the magic in the small things. Be grateful for the people who make it easy to be yourself, the ones you feel like you’ve known forever. This is a really poignant reminder. Love, especially is not something you should take for granted but rather something I hope you see the wonder in, that we’re lucky enough to have our stars align.
TRACK 5: MOTHER
Such a sweet little gem of an interlude. To me, it’s almost a lullaby, stitched from memories and nostalgia. It sounds like the kind of song you’d listen to, when you get to the point in your life where you realise that you really didn’t know that much after all and that life is just a white-knuckled ride for everyone, because no one has done this before and they won’t again. It’s a one-shot situation. So, do me a favour. Hug your mother. Tell her you love her and don’t shy away from acknowledging all the sacrifices she more than likely made to help you to where you are.
TRACK 6: SPACE COWBOY
My heart stopped the first time I heard this song on an unassuming Friday. It left me breathless. I’ve had my fair share of trying to make people stay, when you’ve hit the impasse of the sunset fading. And even though you’re desperate, down on your knees at some point you have to stand up, slowly raise your hands and let them go. But then again, I’ve also been the space cowboy. The person who it was doing no good to stay. Sometimes you do have to close your eyes and run for your own sake, regardless of the pain you know you’re leaving the other person with. It’s OK to put yourself first. For me, this song is the embodiment of the idea that ‘if you love someone, you set them free and if they were meant to be yours, they’ll come back to you.’
TRACK 7: LOVE IS A WILD THING
The message in this one is simple. Love comes when you least expect it and once it comes for you, there’s no escaping it (not that I know anyone who would want to). I think that’s what makes it magic; its wild and unpredictable style. Not to mention, that once you have it, it’s precious and fragile and light. It helps you forget what life was like before you had it, in the first way. The metaphors here are accurate; it is like flowers in the concrete. Also, the FALSETTO VOCALS!!!
TRACK 8: HAPPY & SAD
I’m not going to lie. This one hit me hard. The line “I’m the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous when I’m having the time of my life” describes my brain perfectly. I think it could be because I feel things too deeply from wearing my heart on my sleeve. I really struggle to live in the moment. It happens a lot to me at concerts, for example. About halfway through the night, I start to feel a little sad because this moment that in the lead-up has brought me so much joy and is bringing me an indescribable happiness is soon going to be over, with only memories left. Maybe that’s a little fatalistic but it’s the way I feel.
TRACK 9: VELVET ELVIS
OK, first of all this is the cutest name for a song. Everyone has a sketch of what they hope their person will be like and what forever might look like with them. For Kacey, it’s Velvet Elvis. And who better than the high volume haired powder blue suit wearing pelvis-grinding king who in my humble opinion has one of the greatest romantic songs ever written in his catalogue to aspire for? I feel like the whole golden microphone vibe goes well with this daydream…
TRACK 10: WONDER WOMAN
Being on the same page with people is wonderful, isn’t it? Knowing they’ll love you for who you are, warts and all. You don’t need to be a superhero. You can laugh till you cry or snort and then maybe in the same breath even, drown in tears and snotty tissues. It doesn’t matter. You can talk about hard things and shatter perfection. You can grow. You can get way too excited over simple things. You can be whoever you are. Isn’t that liberating?
TRACK 11: HIGH HORSE
Now, I can hear y’all (yeah, I said y’all) saying you don’t like country music because it’s just too twee or whatever. To save myself from going blue in the face while I argue that country music is brilliant, let me just ask you to press play on this track. Tell me, did THAT sound like country music to you? Did you hear that dance beat with flecks of subtle banjo? You pushed the envelope Kace, and I love it. I think Shania, Taylor and Kelsea definitely approve. But, aside from all that, this song is relatable. Who doesn’t have people in their life that they wish would get off the high horse and stop thinking they’re better than everyone else? I know I do but I don’t kiss and tell so ssh…
TRACK 12: GOLDEN HOUR
Excuse me, while I float along dreamily on a cloud to this love song (: It’s so pretty. Such soft and warm vocals. I love that this is the title track because it means that the love she feels has infused every part of her life and that’s amazing. Ruston, thank you for inspiring such beautiful tunes. I hope we all experience a love story and married bliss like this.
TRACK 13: RAINBOW
I knew as soon as I saw the title that this song was going to hurt because it would strike a chord but also heal and boy, was I right. A lot of hard things are happening for me right now and to be truthful, without a hint of melodrama, they always kind of are go varying degrees whether they pulse in the background or slap me in the face. I don’t know if I can describe how hard I hope the idea “that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head” is true for me. I really want anyone who is struggling right now to listen to this one and know that it has to get better. Hope is the most powerful thing we have.
This album is overall beautifully brilliant. Hope you like my review
Hannah xo ❤ The Jukebox Junkie