Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Star-Crossed’ turns ‘Golden Hour’ into divorce hour

Country music artist Kacey Musgraves comes out with her third studio album. Photo courtesy of Taste of Country.

By Tori Templet | Staff Writer

It’s been three years since Kacey Musgraves released her well-known album “Golden Hour,” but her newest album, “Star-Crossed,” brings a different sound and lyricism to her artistry.

Musgraves is known for the blend of pop and country throughout her music, but “Star-Crossed” definitely brings on a new side that we have not really heard from her. Compared to her songs like “High Horse,” “Golden Hour” and “Velvet Elvis” on her previous album, “Star-Crossed” brings out a more mellow side to Musgraves’ discography.

In summary, this album is sad. Musgraves’ lyrics show the hurt and pain within relationships she has gone through. In this case, she is most likely referring to her recent divorce that can be recognized in her first single for the album and title song “Star-Crossed.” Many people have mixed reviews of this album because, in short, it just might not be for everyone. It has an essence of post-breakup that you may just want to sit in your car and cry to.

Her most upbeat song on the album, and my personal favorite, “Breadwinner,” focuses on how she was the successful one in the relationship and the man fed off her success until he saw his own insecurity and would choose to leave her. Many other songs on “Star-Crossed” seem to show different stages of grief when going through a breakup with a partner, like “Camera Roll,” “If this was a movie…” and “Angel.”

While her previous album shined a light on her wonderful marriage, “Star-Crossed” shines a light on the darkness of her divorce. Musgraves makes it known that this album is different from her others. In “What doesn’t kill me,” one of her last songs on the album, she says “golden hour faded black, say that it ain’t coming back.” Whether focusing on her relationship or her music, this could be interpreted in different ways.

Golden Hour” set high bars for Musgraves that were difficult to top. Her title song peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts for 161 weeks straight. No other song of hers has met that goal. However, I do not think Musgraves’ ultimate purpose for the “Star-Crossed” album was to reach what “Golden Hour” had achieved.

I think we can hear Musgraves’ intention of changing things up throughout this album. As her lyrics have more depth, so does her sound. “Star-Crossed” does not necessarily fall away from her well-known, pop-country blend though. While still carrying that acoustic guitar base, we seem to find heavy synths fused together with Musgraves’ airy vocals to create a new, yet familiar sound.

This album is different, but I knew that going in for that first listen. Is it show-stopping? No, but it seems to be a vulnerable piece of Musgraves to showcase lyricism and differentiation, and I wholeheartedly respect her for that after the last few years she has been through.