published: 18 /
Emotive and adventurous new album from Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves which was inspired by her recent marriage break-up and divorce
The follow-up to the Texas singer Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning album ‘Golden Hour’ has just been released. ‘Star-Crossed’, which Musgraves called a “modern tragedy”, is a bold foray into new musical territory. This fifth album, characterised by its ballads, deeply influenced by her divorce from Tennessee musician Ruston Kelly, is a kaleidoscope of sound and emotion, featuring ambient guitars, flamenco flourishes and electronics and carried by Musgraves’ clear, melodious vocals. As well as being a post-divorce album, it is “full of a lot of love and gratitude for that person, for Ruston, for my life and my ability to explore all the emotions as a songwriter.”
Created in Nashville, co-written and co- produced by American musicians Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who collaborated on her previous album, ’Star-Crossed’ follows a three-act narrative – exposition, downfall and resolution - driven by Musgraves’ trenchant lyrics, as in the catchy breadwinner’: “He wants a breadwinner/He wants your dinner/Until he ain’t hungry any more” with ultimately the over-riding sentiment the wish to move on, a feeling of optimism marking the final section of the album. With an accompanying 50-minute film, preceded by three singles – the title track, ‘Justified’ and ‘Simple Times’ - the fifteen tracks of ‘Star-Crossed’ successfully cross different genres - from pop through folk, dance, rock, R&B and country.
Tracks to look out for include: the contemplative, stripped-back opener and title track with its poignant lyrics about the end of the relationship – “Let me set the scene/Two lovers ripped right at the seams/They woke up from the perfect dream” - Latin guitar strings building the pathos into a haunting harmony; the pop-inspired ‘Good Wife’, written prior to the divorce; the upbeat oriental-styled ‘Cherry Blossom’ ; the catchy ‘Justified’ with its lyrics resonating with the mess of emotions churned up by the break-up: “If I cry just a little/And then laugh in the middle/If I hate you then I love you/Then I change my mind”; the acoustic self-empowering ballad ‘Keep Lookin’ Up’; the 90s pop ‘What Doesn’t Kill Me’; and ‘There Is A Light’, an electronic dance track with a Balearic feel and an unexpected jazzy flute solo.
Cathartic and adventurous, ‘Star-Crossed’ is likely to win Musgraves a new and different audience.
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