Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
The phrase "it's like (blank) on acid" is one of the most played out descriptions, the problem is it actually applies to this new album from Kacey Musgraves perfectly. Newly married, newly settled Kacey has found new beauty in world through the use of the psychedelic with her husband on the couch. It's a beautiful scene to imagine, two lovers fully entranced with each other, pen and paper in hand and swirling colors all around them. Kacey has never been shy about her casual drug use, I mean hell she tours with fucking Willie Nelson, but here the music has taken on a more beautifully rich and colorful shape. Her songs have always felt personal and honest but on this album they feel soul opening. Her first album was firmly set in leaving the trailer park and giving her modest upbringing some needed levity, while her second Pageant Material was more about coming to terms with her new stardom and the places she was lacking. Golden Hour is different because she's never been more comfortable, more patient and more confident that she can bare her soul instead of protecting it. For those of you who scoff at country music, I'm with you, but this is certainly not that. The instrumentation may often be the same but this is not an album about fucking trucks or cracking a cold one by the lake, this is honest lovely sentiments track after track. She even throws some heavy auto tune at the beginning of "Oh, What a World" almost daring the hardcore country fans who would call that sound "absolute shit" to not like it here. The album swirls and moves almost like it's floating on a cloud perfectly paced for a summer weekend standing outside and looking at the clouds.
"Mother" written when Kacey's mom called her during an acid trip feels so open and honest. The song only features Kacey's vocal and a piano and only runs just over a minute but it feels so pointed. For the first time in awhile this feels like an album that is unconcerned with the world around it, it exists in it's own world where maybe things can be better and we don't have to get into the shit that has been dividing us for the past few years. Musgraves has always been a fantastic songwriter, but on this record she takes it to the next level. "Space Cowboy" could have been so mundane, but the way she turns it into giving space to her cowboy is surprising and slick as hell. "Happy & Sad" is the one track that feels a bit like a drag and is one of the weaker tracks on the record. Just in case you were worried that the classic Musgraves kitsch was absent never fear "Velvet Elvis" is here to save you. Kacey wouldn't make an album without bringing a little bit of the trailer park with her. It is the lightness that permeates Musgraves writing that makes it so endearing. Even on "High Horse" which is an attack on people who always seem to have the fucking snarky answer to everything there is a sense of levity and not letting these assholes get to you. Golden Hour is truly a splendid record from an artist who just keeps getting better. I've likely gushed enough at this point, but when you listen you can't help but fall into her color soaked world, and you're better for it.
9.2 out of 10