Award-winning album diversifies country genre
If I didn’t know Kacey Musgraves was a country artist, I never would’ve considered this a country album. Country is my least favorite genre, but I decided to give this one a try.
Slow Burn opens the album on a high note. It carries a lovely, sweet melody that will get stuck in your head all day. This was the perfect choice to open with.
Butterflies is a fantastic song. To a country purist, they might be disgusted. It uses many modern sounds and textures, along with a vocoder. Her country accent seems to be there to overcompensate for these. Every element supports the song, and it comes out as a weird country/pop hybrid, which I love.
“The shortest song on the album and maybe the most meaningful. One summer night, surfing waves of LSD and feeling nostalgic for everywhere and everyone all at once, I got a text from my mom,” Musgraves said. “It made me miss her. It made me think about her hands. Hands that carry out the vision her imagination brings on canvas with her beloved paints and brushes. Hands that find treasure in found junk. Hands dirtied by the East Texas soil. Hands that held me. And I found the thought of this cycle overwhelming, sad, and beautiful; me sitting there in Tennessee missing my mom in Texas who’s sitting there missing her mother who passed away several years ago. And it will go on and on. The tears were flowing and I wrote these words down and finished it the next day. Then sat by the piano while Ian played and just sang.”
A guitar resurrects your emotions and brings you back to life with the song Love Is A Wild Thing. This sweet romantic ballad shows the paradox of loving someone, and comes to the conclusion that love, is just a wild thing.
Then we get to the main course of the album. Everything else was just preluding to the incredible Space Cowboy. This song was my first time hearing Musgraves, and the title drew me in. When I heard the wordplay in the chorus, I was in awe. This ethereal track fills you with sadness, but in a beautiful way.
Velvet Elvis comes in at a weird length at two and a half minutes, because it’s a weird song. Not a fan of this song at all. Nothing is natural, everything is forced and rushed.
Wonder Woman is a weird song too, and doesn’t sit right with me. I think the chorus is clever, but I would not listen to this song voluntarily.
The album comes to a close with Rainbow. This piano ballad reminds me that I like the album, after listening to a stretch of five less-than mediocre songs.
Musgraves performed Rainbow on Late Night with Seth Meyers on September 16, 2018. She elaborated on the song after her performance.
“The song was my grandmother’s favorite before she passed away,” Musgraves said. “She passed away unexpectedly a several years ago, and it was the song I wrote last right before she passed. I would send her songs all the time and she, for some reason, really took a liking to that song. When she did pass, at her funeral, I thought it would be nice to play that song, so we did. That’s what it reminds me of,” Musgraves said.
In conclusion, this album is pretty good. Is it album of the year? No. Does it contain a few great tracks? Yes.
I would recommend this album to any casual pop or country listener. If you’re a country purist, go elsewhere to get your fix. This album is not dirt roads approved.
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