Kacey Musgraves’ Second Album, “Star-Crossed”

Album cover from Interscope, UMG Nashvile 2021.

Album cover from Interscope, UMG Nashvile 2021.

 Kacey Musgraves labeled her second album Star-Crossed in an interview with Zane Lowe as the right blend of current country and pop, but after just one listen, it’s clear that it’s much more. 

   Kacey said, “There are certain aspects of this record that sound a little bit more country, I guess than Golden Hour… but it had more of a foot in country music than Star-Crossed.” 

   Golden Hour, her debut album, didn’t have the typical country sound that most people are used to hearing in today’s music. Fans were concerned that Musgraves would leave her prior country-pop sound when she claimed it would be less country than her previous album.. 

   I anticipate her sophomore album will have a significant impact on the image of country music since it is one of the most progressive, creative, and pro-women albums I’ve heard this year. 

   Kacey’s divorce from her fellow songwriter ex-husband is reflected in Star-Crossed. She pours into the intricacies of their fading marriage, including all of the good and bad that came with it, and the listeners are vulnerable with her. We go through the process of Kacey discovering herself as a single woman, as well as supporting others in identifying themselves outside of their relationships.

    Musgraves does an amazing job illustrating the false narratives that come with relationships, such as how women often feel inferior to their partners and question their roles. “How can I be a better woman or a wife?” she asks in “Good Wife.”

   The problem isn’t her role in the marriage or her ability to be a decent wife; it’s their emotional disconnection. You can reminisce about broken relationships and the long-term impact of poor communication through her music.

   “Star-Crossed,” the album’s title track, portrays the painful story of two lovers who, despite their best efforts, were unable to save their relationship. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album with a melancholy guitar lead.

   “Breadwinner” is certainly one of the album’s best tracks. The opening notes are more pop than country, giving the impression that this is a cheerful tune, but the lyrics reveal a different narrative. Musgraves takes time to speak directly to her next partner, laying out the expectations she has for her future relationships.

   Tracks like “Camera Roll” and “Simple Times” prove that Kacey Musgraves is a very pleasant vocalist. She can convey legitimate sounding emotions. Though, I suppose it would be difficult to not show some powerful sentiment here considering the album’s backstory. Nonetheless, Musgraves manages to hit all of the right notes and confidently carry the record along. 

   If you enjoy pop, psychedelic, folk, and even a bit of R&B, Star-Crossed is a must-listen. Whether it’s the Spanish guitar in “Gracias a la Vida” or the current R&B instrumental in “If This Was a Movie…”, Musgraves has proven that she can produce in any genre.

   This is a strong album because it has some really interesting sonic experimentation from Musgraves. As a pop-country singer, it’s amazing to see her show vulnerability not just in her lyrics but also in her music style.