I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; country music is not my thing. But, with that being said, I do have to admit there are some instances where although it isn’t my preferred genre, I find certain aspects of it to be extremely captivating. Truthfully, I kind of like being taken by surprise like that, where I don’t expect to like a certain record or artist and then have them end up on my most listened list on Spotify at the end of the year. I have a feeling that’s going to be the case with Kacey Musgraves. I’ve heard of her before but never took a listen, specifically because I figured her music was just wasn’t for me. I thought her music was just going to be acoustic based songs about dirt roads and simple country living, but oh man was I wrong. I decided to listen to her debut, Same Trailer Different Park, and one thing that especially was a little startling was how honestly and bluntly it was written. “Merry Go ‘Round” outlines a few of life’s misconceptions as straightforward as possible when the opening lines say “If you ain’t got two kids by 21 / You’re probably gonna die alone / At least that’s what tradition told you”, while in a song like “Dandelion” she compares her love to a weed without trying to be overly metaphorical, and other tracks from “”I Miss You” to “Blowin’ Smoke” tell stories in a way where the simplicity doesn’t overshadow the entertainment factor. To make it even better though, the musical portion of this record is outstanding as well. The entire instrumental is deeply acoustic country based but each song has such interesting embellishments, whether it be harmonicas, extra strings, or prominent drums, they’re all layered so beautifully and are a treat to listen to. And even though I could write a full fledged discussion on this album, I’ve decided to only highlight a few songs that I might have enjoyed more than the others.
“Follow Your Arrow”
An easy going song about living your life to the fullest and not giving into societies conflicting rules. This one is upbeat and cheery, encouraging and wonderfully produced, making even the most hectic days feel alright.
As a former emo kid, hearing this album open up with the line “Woke up on the wrong side of rock bottom” reminded me of all of my former self deprecating and un-enthusiastic music from my teens. But this song, instead of staying along the pessimistic track the entire way through, it instead encourages listeners to go out and live life to the fullest, to not be afraid of making mistakes and always get up when you fall. I know it’s corny and it’s been said a million times but it’s written in a way that doesn’t sound like every optimistic song out there and when the instrumental is this pretty and lighthearted, it’s impossible not to feel marvelous after hearing it.
“Back On The Map”
This is probably my favorite song on here out of them all because the acoustic riffs are lovely, along with the other guitar pieces and such a wonderful chorus melody. It’s incredibly addictive and relatable, and I love the way the lyrics coincide with the music to create the overall feel it’s trying to convey.