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Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

April 8, 2018

I have been vaguely aware of Kacey Musgraves since her debut Same Trailer Different Park (2013). All I knew is that she was a bit sassy and not conforming to Nashville standards. I listened to that album when it came out, but it never hooked me.

Golden Hour has received plenty of prerelease hype suggesting Musgraves was going to fly the country bird-cage and go full-on pop. I gave it a quick listen and was instantly hooked.

Golden Hour sounds more Laurel Canyon than Nashville. As she heads down the pop road, Kacey is taking her cues from Jenny Lewis vs. Taylor Swift. This is a near perfect synthesis of pop and country. The arrangements are pop with just a sprinkle of country. Similarly, the vocals are pop with a touch of twang. Lyrically, this is pure country. Musgraves has an easy and authentic style.

There is not a bad track on the album. A highlight for me is the opening cut “Slow Burn.” The song is about as country sounding as this album is going to get: acoustic guitars, banjo picking and a slight twang in Kacey’s voice. It has some great lines like:

Texas is hot, I can be cold
Grandma cried when I pierced my nose
Good in a glass, good on green
Good when you’re putting your hands all over me

Another highlight is “Space Cowboy.” The content took me by surprise based on the title. I assumed it was going to be about a stoner boyfriend, but it is a classic country song about a man with commitment issues. With clever phrasing, Kacey releases her man by saying “you can have your space, cowboy” with a powerful pause between “space” and “cowboy.”

You can have your space, cowboy
I ain’t gonna fence you in
Go on, ride away in your Silverado
I’ll see you around again
‘Cause I know my place, and it ain’t with you
Sunsets fade, and love does too
Though we had our day in the sun
When a horse wants to run, ain’t no sense in closing the gate

Warning: this is sweet country pop, but the sweetener is cane sugar not saccharin.

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From → Music Reviews

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