Arts

The Golden Hour of Pop-Country Has Finally Arrived

Kacey Musgraves describes her newest album as “replenishingly transformational.”

By: Brielle Sparacino

Credit: stereogum.com

Kacey Musgraves has been a staple in the country music scene for years, but it seems her career has picked up even more speed upon the release of her latest album, Golden Hour.

Musgraves, a born-and-raised Texan, got her first taste of Nashville, Tennessee after placing seventh on Nashville Star, the country version of American Idol, back in 2007. She signed to Universal Music Group Nashville in 2012 and released her first single “Merry Go ‘Round” shortly after.

“Merry Go ‘Round” belonged to Musgraves’s upcoming first album, Same Trailer, Different Park which would debut in 2013. Both the single and its counterpart would go on to win Grammys, as well as receiving even more awards from the Academy of Country Music, and the Country Music Association, according to an interview with Musgraves on texasmonthly.com.

Since then, Musgraves has penned two more LP’s and opened for prominent country music acts like Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town; she’s even opening for Harry Styles on the North American leg of his world tour in June.

Golden Hour is Musgraves’s fourth album and possibly her most unique one yet. In her previous albums, she’s alluded to more controversial topics like smoking pot and same-sex relationships- topics that aren’t as popular in country music.

This time around, she’s settled into the topic of love quite nicely, as well as the magic of the world we live in. As with her previous albums, she’s served as a co-writer throughout the entirety of her new LP, but without further adieu, here are some of the best songs on Golden Hour, though one could argue that every song tells its own version of Musgraves’s personal story.  

“Space Cowboy” was Musgraves’s first single off of this album and this song, along with every other, takes you to a different world. With her buttery vocals and a simple acoustic/percussion accompaniment, Musgraves reminds her listener that they can’t make a relationship work if both people aren’t in it.

A true lyricist, Musgraves sings, “sunsets fade, and love does too” on this record, showcasing her 90’s angst vibes through and through.

“Butterflies” was Musgraves’s second single off Golden Hour, and was written about her current husband, Ruston Kelly, when they first met back in 2016. In the article on Musgraves from texasmonthly.com, she describes opening the door of her home to greet him for their first songwriting date.

“It was just like when Dorothy opens a door in the Wizard of Oz, and the world turns into color from black and white,” said Musgraves.

“Slow Burn” is the opening track for Golden Hour. On her Instagram, Musgraves calls this mellow record “one of [her] most autobiographical songs,” and with lyrics like “Born in a hurry/Always late/Haven’t been early since ‘88,” we get an unapologetically intimate glimpse into Musgraves’s life.

“Mother,” according to Musgraves herself, is “the shortest song on the album and maybe the most meaningful.” While this record only lasts a little over a minute, the lyric and melodic minimalism speaks for itself.

Musgraves croons, “I’m just sitting here thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping/And missing my mother, mother/And she’s probably sitting there/Thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping/And missing her mother, mother,” and it makes you want to call your own mother just to tell her you love her.

Last but certainly not least is the album’s title track, “Golden Hour.” In her album’s opening notes, she writes “There are different masks that we all wear to represent different sides of ourselves. None of them are solely us and yet they all are.”

“There’s the lonely girl – the blissful girl – the new wife – the daughter missing her mother – the hopeful girl – the selfish girl – the sarcastic, rhinestoned Texan – the shy girl and the life of the party – the winner and the loser.”

“They are all characters on this record. None of them alone are me and yet they all are. The golden hour is when all the masks come together as one and you can see, in perfect light, the whole picture of me.

It is on this song in particular that we see a softer, more vulnerable version of Musgraves declaring her love in the most poetic way: “You’re my golden hour/The color of my sky/You’ve set my world on fire/And I know, I know everything’s gonna be alright.”

While the album’s genre is classified as country, Musgraves has created a compilation of songs that speak to every soul. This album projects warmth, love, a little sadness and a lot of gratitude towards the mere fact that we all even exist.

Golden Hour is an existential, magical masterpiece that makes you want to believe in good again. Here’s hoping that it will be nominated for the 2019 Grammy Awards.

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