Jun 20, 2019

Golden Hour: Simply A Beautiful Gem of an Album From Kacey Musgraves

Well, there are country-sounding songs in this magnificent album of Kacey Musgraves called aptly Golden Hour. But, like many artists nowadays, their compunction to strictly follow the tenets of the genres they have been assigned to, are not followed at all and these artists simply do as they please. Sometimes, they bend those genres the way they want – infusing whoever influenced them in making their album - so don’t be surprised if I say some of her songs sounds like pop music. In her interviews for this album, Kacey mentioned her influences for this album to be Sade, Imogen Heap, the Bee Gees, Selena and the band Tame Impala. When I read it, I said “Oh, ok, why am I not surprised?” Anyhow, just like the verdict of the Recording Academy who has given this album the coveted Grammy award for 2019 Album of the Year, I daresay, I agree wholeheartedly with their decision (although I did say in an earlier narrative that I voted for Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer). This is simply, a beautiful album – if that simple adjective can encompass all the beauty and the lightness and the positivity and the sonic trip I took while listening to this gem. I was actually sitting in a café in a normally busy street right smack in the university belt of my home city. Since it was a Sunday morning, traffic was sparse and it took some time for that part of the city to wake up, being it a Sunday and all. As soon as I put my earphones and played this album, it was as if the hairs on my body started to stand like I was electrified! But this was not a rock album or a hard rock album for that matter. I think it was the smooth music (Sade), the harmonious vocals (Bee Gees), the interesting sonic-scape she created (Tame Impala), the youthful bounce of her supposedly country twanged music (Selena), and the intimate songwriting style (Imogen Heap) she has consistently been using since album #1 (this is album #3). If you noticed, I put where I think the influencers she mentioned in her previous interviews have influenced her – in what aspect. At least, that gives me a clearer understanding of her vision for this album.

Written by @tonyfabelous from Fabelousity
Jun 14, 2019

Pageant Material: Kacey Musgraves at Her Most Mainstream

No matter how many times I listen to this album, I’m always surprised by how little I learn about Kacey Musgraves as a person. For an album that on the surface seems fairly personal, it’s remarkably impersonal. It’s called Pageant Material, a satirical title in that Musgraves clearly emphasizes that she will never be ‘pageant material.’ But while you learn what Musgraves isn’t, you never truly learn what she is. But I think that’s okay. It’s essential to recognize that we hold country musicians who are male and female to very different standards when it comes to sharing their personal lives in their songs. Musicians who happen to be female are more expected to write as if they’re writing in their diary. I wouldn’t say this started with Taylor Swift, but she definitely elevated the presence of this expectation. Their songs have to be about their lives and their struggle. This is also a theme in all kinds of writing, where women are often expected to put a disproportioned amount of their life into their writing compared to men. Why do we not hold men to the same standard? Why do we look at Blake Shelton and say that it’s totally okay for him to sing songs that don’t relate to his life, yet we look at Kacey Musgraves and expect her to bare her soul in every song? Anyways, I just put my own feelings on blast, but that’s a pretty good description of how I feel about this album. It’s confusing, but also makes complete sense. It’s personal, but impersonal. It’s a contradiction in itself, making it a fascinating album to listen to closely and attempt to critically analyze.

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