The first time I heard Kacey Musgraves’ name, my supervisor at 106.1 WNGC was adding it to the night playlist. I didn’t have a clue who she was, and I’d never heard her debut single, “Merry Go ‘Round.” But, as soon as I did hear that first single of hers, I was hooked.
Her first album was released on March 19th, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. Lately I’ve been using Spotify quite often, and it took me probably only one stream all the way through the album to recognize that it was definitely worth the buy on iTunes.
“Merry Go ‘Round” is a new perspective on small-town life, and boy is it honest and true. One-horse towns tend to be romanticized often in country music, but Kacey tells it like it is– teenage pregnancy, drugs, and trailer parks. The album title comes from a line in this song: “Same hurt in every heart; same trailer, different park.” The music video is also worth a watch:
But that first single isn’t the only gem on this record– in fact, they’re all wonderful. Kacey herself has a writing credit on every song on the album, and though she shares credit with other big names in country songwriting, her honesty is the common thread of this album.
“It Is What It Is” is an obvious continuation of the raw statement of fact she gave in “Merry Go ‘Round,” and the rest of the album continues with its realizations and messages about life, sans any semblance of a sugar coating. “Blowin’ Smoke” and “Stupid” are particularly catchy and upbeat songs about talking smack over cigarettes and looking like a fool because of love, respectively. “Follow Your Arrow” is a peppy song with a positive message encouraging the listener to do what their heart desires and not care what people think of your actions.
“My House” follows suit with a picture of a life on the road where happiness is the people you’re with. She makes it obvious that friends and relationships are far more important than a fancy house: “No matter where we go, we’ll never be alone. Anywhere beside you is the place that I’ll call home.”
One song I can’t get enough of is “Step Off.” The sound of the song is relaxed and content, but the music itself almost has some sass to it. I almost don’t want to say this for fear of putting Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves on the same plane when they’re very different artists… but this song is almost a more direct version of Taylor’s “Mean.” It’s a song for those people who can’t stand to see you succeed, and as a college kid trying to figure out how to make a name for myself in a highly competitive world, I can completely relate to “Step Off” and its warning to eternal pessimists who want nothing more than to undermine everyone but themselves.
“Silver Lining” speaks to the fact that rewards don’t come without risk and hard work, and “I Miss You” is a testament of exactly what can come of risking comfort for success. “I Miss You” is a nostalgic tune about someone who was left behind in a rise to success. Even though leaving a familiar life to chase a dream can be incredibly rewarding, especially for someone as talented Kacey Musgraves, it still requires sacrificing, and sometimes that brings the bittersweet reality of a fading friendship or relationship.
“Keep It to Yourself,” “Back on the Map,” and “Dandelion” are the more personal tracks on this album. “Dandelion” is a sad comparison between a weedy flower and a relationship that always leaves a painful mark. “Keep It to Yourself” tells the story of someone who’s ready to move on after a love broke their heart, but its tune has just enough of a mellow sadness to still carry a little bit of sadness toward that ended relationship. “Back on the Map” first looks back on a past mistake, then has a hopeful tone to it as Kacey sings about looking for someone to pull her out of a low period and help her get back on her feet emotionally. Overall, I love this album. As a songwriter myself, I respect Kacey’s ability to be honest and still write something that sticks in a listener’s mind. She’s previously written for other artists, and in fact, she penned “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which is on Miranda Lambert’s album Four the Record, and it’s at the top of the charts at the time of this post. Kacey’s version of the song is a little less “in-your-face” than Miranda’s, but it definitely deserves to be heard, even though it isn’t on Same Trailer Different Park.
The honesty of these songs is a big draw for me personally, as is the acoustic-driven, occasionally folk-rock influenced sound sprinkled throughout Same Trailer Different Park. With a debut album as humble and excellent as this, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kacey Musgraves.
Keep talkin’ twangy!
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