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Elizabeth is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, and author. Her first book “Beyond Black and White” is available now. She is an old soul who's young at heart, a human jukebox, and a corgi lady in training. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @ElizabethThe.

Album Review: Kacey Musgraves Glows on ‘Golden Hour’

Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour

Image Credit: MCA Nashville

Kacey Musgraves, country music’s golden girl from Golden, Texas, has entered her golden hour.

The “golden hour” refers to that brief period of time after sunrise or before sunset during which the daylight is at the height of its vividness and warmth. It’s a phenomenon that provides the perfect metaphor for the transformative personal experiences and deepened state of mind that influenced the making of Musgraves’ latest album, Golden Hour.

In the follow-up to her game-changing albums Same Trailer, Different Park and Pageant Material, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter, who both co-produced Golden Hour and co-wrote all 13 songs on the record, reveals new sides to her artistry that are equal parts familiar and fresh. Musgraves, who made a name for herself with her bitingly frank and progressively-minded commentary, critiquing the country music industry, small town life, and the conventional lifestyle, expands on her ‘cosmic country hippie’ brand with this dreamy and introspective offering. Golden Hour explores those moments in one’s timeline when things feel like they’re finally coming into fruition, including the finding love and happiness, living life in the present, and learning to witness and appreciate the beauty of the universe around you.

As a standard element of Musgraves’ writing, the album includes the storyteller’s honest commentary on universally felt social situations and emotional sensations, driven home by mellow and soothing sounds of light acoustic guitar and airy synthesizers. In the opener “Slow Burn,” the perpetually late to the party songstress declares her preference for living in the moment and taking her time to let life unfold at its own pace, singing “I’m all right with a slow burn / Taking my time, let the world turn.” Addressing the fear of missing out (FOMO), “Lonely Weekend” speaks to the longing and loneliness that comes with the void of companionship and the eventual peace that comes with learning to enjoy being your own company. The all too real “Happy & Sad” unpacks that conflicting feeling of experiencing sadness during one’s high moments due to the anticipation of seeing everything eventually come crashing down. The line “I’m the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous / When I’m having the time of my life” aptly summarizes the whole idea that nothing gold can stay while bracing one’s self for that deadline. With the psychedelic “Oh, What a World,” Musgraves crafts an ode to the magical wonders of the world, from the northern lights to her newfound love.

Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour

Image Credit: MCA Nashville

What’s new in Golden Hour is that Musgraves, who was not one known to put out happy relationship songs, has now released a handful of beautiful love songs inspired by her own love story. Written one week after meeting her now-husband, fellow singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, the blossoming “Butterflies” is a dreamy track that swoons over the unexpected experience of entering into a state of love that sets you free. As she croons, “you’re lifting me up instead of holding me down / Stealing my heart instead of stealing my crown / Untangled all the strings ’round my wings that were tied.” “Love Is A Wild Thing” has Musgraves marvelling over the power of love and its natural tendencies to find you no matter where you are, such as “coming through the melody when the night bird sings.” “Wonder Woman” is about two partners recognizing each other’s imperfections, but letting that be a natural part of the relationship, as they don’t need to be Wonder Woman nor Superman to make things work. On the title track “Golden Hour,” Musgraves captures the glowing feeling of finding the light in your life through the one who has won your heart and your love.

Although tonally lighter and happier, Golden Hour isn’t absent of Musgraves’ trademarks of wordplay, wit, sass, and playfulness. On the lead single “Space Cowboy,” she bittersweetly sings “you can have your space, cowboy / I ain’t gonna fence you in” in an effort to make peace with letting go of someone who no longer has a place in her life. In an experimental foray into electronica, the upbeat disco jam “High Horse” presents a clever way of telling someone to put the reigns on their ego show and gallop away: “Why don’t you giddy up, giddy up / And ride straight out of this town.” The groovy and flirtatious “Velvet Elvis” plays upon country-kitsch stereotypes with a track inspired by the King, Elvis Presley: “I need a Graceland kind of man who’s always on my mind.”

In her mastery of expressing beautiful sadness, Musgraves has produced two standout songs that belong among her collection of her finest work to date. The touching and short (clocking in at one minute and twenty seconds in length) “Mother” was written stream-of-consciousness style while Kacey was under the influence of LSD. Tapping into her raw emotions, she wistfully sings about the matriarchal love that is passed down through the generations from grandmother to mother to daughter, reflecting on missing her mom and feeling time slipping away. The anthemic closing track “Rainbow” is a piano ballad intended to motivate one to weather through the storms to get to the better days yet to come. The challenges of life can make it hard to find the beauty around you, but Musgraves seeks to be that encouraging voice to remind you of the rainbow up ahead.

With beautiful imagery and metaphors of butterflies, songbirds, rainbows, and endless sunlight, Golden Hour gives off a warmth that is the perfect way to ring in the spring season. Even more, the record offers a sense of shimmering positivity and radiant hope which is just what listeners need in these trying (and oftentimes dark) times. Kacey’s time in the golden sun is a gentle reminder that love and inspiration is all around us. It’s nothing but blue skies from here on out for this darling country rebel in this Golden Hour and beyond.

Golden Hour is available now to download or stream. See Kacey live on tour with Little Big Town this spring, Harry Styles this summer, and on the European Golden Hour tour this fall. For the full list of concert dates, visit kaceymusgraves.com

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  1. Kacey Musgraves Glows on ‘Golden Hour’ – Elizabeth Rosalyn - April 2, 2018

    […] Continue reading on The Hudsucker… […]

  2. Our Top Picks for the Best Albums of 2018 | The Hudsucker - December 28, 2018

    […] Tania Hussain: One of my favorite records from the past year comes from First Aid Kit with their fourth studio album, Ruins. In what might be their best yet, Ruins brilliantly blends elements of folk with a melodramatic ’50s/’60s country pop, while tapping into the genre’s dark, gritty and moody dynamics. Musical duo and sisters, Klara and Johanna Soderbergh, have created a record that really challenges their sound as well and lifts them to harmonic new heights in a 10-track record that details a disintegrating relationship with a cool intelligence backed by strong emotion. With beautifully harmonic voices that balance out the sound and feeling that counters the loneliness felt in every one of the lyrics, each track showcases a sharp sentiment with nostalgia-soaked sounds and stylization. It’s incredibly underappreciated and something you must hear. Honorable mention goes to my second most-listened to record of this year, Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour. […]

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