Album Review: "star-crossed" by Kacey Musgraves
It has been three years since we have heard from Kacey Musgraves, taken a well-deserved time crunch to work on what to put out next after the critical acclaim, Golden Hour, really solidified her status as a country icon, after winning Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the 61st Grammy Awards.
A whole transformation occurred in Musgraves’ life after she swept awards for Golden Hour. The husband that album was written around was still able to be the muse for her latest release, titled star-crossed, but as a divorcee, trying to figure out how to remember life before him, and how to better herself through the process of healing.
One of the ways Musgraves’ takes us on this journey with her is with a whole genre switch from the country elements we are used to seeing. While those still sneak in there, this record is mostly pop, with incorporations of R&B, funk, and alternative. “justified” is one of those tracks that shows this shift in music. This upbeat track was co-written by Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, really shows Musgraves’ in a versatile state of mind that she can take these musical risks and still deliver the message she is wanting to get across.
Musgraves’ did not hold back for the promotion of this record and wanted to let the fans know she is back. An accompanying visual film was released in theatres for a one-night-only experience, as well as streaming on Paramount+. This film is very well thought out with a cohesive storyline that is not style over substance. Musgraves and guest stars take the idea of marriage and have a lot of fun with it, doing a humorous vintage ‘50s roleplay to give a visual to the song “good wife,” which touches on the former stereotypical ideals of what a good wife should be.
Star-crossed, however, has an underlying technique that may be perceived wrong. The prominent lyrics that Musgraves’ and others incorporated in this album are simple. Quotes that most can remember from hearing throughout their life are incorporated in the album such as “Tokyo wasn’t built in a day” and “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” These phrases, while familiar, also do an impactful job of tying into the healing message that this album wants to give out. It makes the songs able to relate to a general audience, which can be hard to do on an album that is so personal. It also adds to the imagery element that Musgraves can always successfully pull off.
Overall, star-crossed is a solid record and will go down as an essential divorce album that many will be able to add to their heartbreak playlists. When you have the pressure to follow up the album that put you on the public map, it is hard to find that right sound. Musgraves does this exactly right.