Kacey Musgraves – Star-Crossed
Written by Tomas Ayala on October 4, 2021
Written By: Tomas Ayala
Kacey Musgraves as an American song writer and singer is widely successful in country music. Her 2018 project golden hours was her big transition into the pop space, and she received incredible success from that. So, her 2021 album Star-crossed, which came out on September 10th, she picks up exactly where she left off. This album is extremely personal and much of the lyrics deal with the emotions that come and go with heartbreak. Of course, this stems from Kacey going through a divorce with fellow song writer Ruston Kelly. This being my first time listening to a country project all the way through I was delighted to see a clear focus on catchy hooks and interesting uses of instrumentation.
The opening track, “star-crossed” wastes no time to set the mode for the album. The production was magical with a stringy non overbearing guitar, and a use of synths to convey her emotions. The ability to make such a cinematic track while talking about signing divorce papers was impressive to say the least. The rest of the album continues with these subtle built-up instrumentals that has a lot of synths and are complemented with Kacey’s catchy hooks. Kacey’s songwriting ability shines through on songs like “angel” where she expresses wishing she was perfect so that she could have saved her ex-lover and saved the marriage or on “breadwinner” where she shows her resonant towards her ex for being insecure about how much success she has found. The instrumentals on the second half resembles much more of her country routes on some songs like “keep looking up” and although that may be familiar too many of her listeners, the transition ruins the feeling of the album and makes the album feel very messy.
one thing that stays consistent throughout the project is her performance. Kacey seems very comfortable throughout the album even while singing about such personal things. This does not mean there is a lack of emotion on the album because she lets the production and lyrics carry the emotions for her. This works extremely well in Kacey’s favor because she never comes off as an emotional mess like many others who deal with topics like these on songs but rather a smart woman who is recalling all of these emotions. The biggest issue I have lies within the mastering and or mixing of the project. From the very first track to the last something is extremely off with how her voice fits in with the instrumentals. At first, I thought it might have been her delivery, but it seems like her calm collected performance is tampered with to be too overbearing on many tracks or all together just feels completely disconnected from the track. This is not too large of an issue but was super noticeable. Thankfully, all the other elements distracted me from this flaw for much of the album.
I personally think the album was enjoyable from start to finish. It was incredibly impressive how personal she got and hoe genuine she stayed. No lyrics felt fabricated, and the instrumentals worked wonderfully to set the vibe for how emotional the lyrics were. For my first time listening to a country album, I’m shocked by how much I enjoyed it and if the flaws of the mixing could have been worked out, this would be something I would listen to constantly. Still the fact that I’ll be putting some of these songs in my rotation is impressive.
Favorite tracks: “star-crossed” and “angel”