Learning how to recover from a bad situation is always difficult. Music often helps us find those answers, or at leasts directs us towards one. Kacey Musgraves does so in her writing, attempting to understand her own feelings about love and herself. Kacey Musgraves learns to move on in Golden Hour, her new album that takes a very personal direction.
Country music isn't my forte, but if anything can be said about it, it's that it speaks to the performer's soul. Granted, a lot of the time those ideas end up sounding the same and the themes become overused, but when used effectively, the country sound can be very effective, which is wholly the case on Golden Hour. Musgraves combines her classic country sound with elements of chamber pop, creating a sound similar to Taylor Swift's RED. All the stories are told relatively simply, but that helps them come off so well. There isn't much to 'Space Cowboy,' for example, but that's where its power comes from. It's a sweet song about saying goodbye in an understanding way, Musgraves simply singing, "I know my place, and it ain't with you / Well sunsets fade, and love does too / Yeah, we had our day in the sun." Many of her messages are driven by these simple but effective hooks, like in 'Wonder Woman,' where she explains that you can't do it all by assuring "You don't know how to fly, no / That's okay, neither do I," and in the short and sweet 'Mother' where she states "I'm just sitting here thinking 'bout the time that's slipping / And missing my mother, mother."
The fusion of pop and country on this album definitely helps separate it from the typical beer, trucks, and girls stereotype. Opening track 'Slow Burn' brings the album to a very peaceful start, and throws a modern take on a traditionally folk delivery. The melodies of 'Love Is A Wild Thing' and 'High Horse' really bring them out, while its the optimism in the face of loneliness that makes 'Lonely Weekend' so relatable. There's tragedy even in the happier moments on the album; 'Butterflies' feels so somberly joyful, ready to embrace something new but still all too aware of the past. Closing track 'Rainbow' brings the album to a pretty and uplifting ending, Musgraves saying that even on the darkest days, "there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head."
Kacey Musgraves learns to move on in Golden Hour, looking back and ahead to understand the person she is in the present. It's simple, but beautiful all the same, telling stories and admitting intimate thoughts while being relatable at once. Music always has a way of helping us find the answers, even when it's the sounds we make ourselves.
Favorite Tracks: Butterflies, Space Cowboy, Lonely Weekend, Rainbow
Least Favorite Track: Velvet Elvis
Rating: 85 / 100
Stream or buy Golden Hour on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist: