If you know me, you know that I tend to resent country music. This isn’t to say I haven’t loved it growing up. I was a big Tim McGraw and Keith Urban fan in my younger days. But then I grew up. I found that my ears needed more visceral entertainment. I ventured into things like drum and bass, math rock, and other unclassifiable music. This about describes my music taste. I like exploring music that is uncomfortable for those who typically get their dosage of sounds from algorithms and not from manually searching for it.
However, the algorithm seems to know that there is one country anomaly that I enjoy very much. This would be Kacey Musgraves. I remember listening to Golden Hour during my sophomore year of college and remember saying something to the effect of “this is the ONLY country album I will listen to consistently”. Well, except for Devin Townsend’s gloomy country album Casualties of Cool, which is interesting since Townsend is usually a metalhead.
But now, I’m at a new crossroads. I have graduated college and settled back into suburban life a little bit. Things I value haven’t precisely changed, but I think I understand the human condition a bit better. And that is precisely what star-crossed illuminates. I don't want to dig into Musgraves’ personal history too much, but I know creating this album was very demanding and could very easily help to create some personal catharsis.
This is a breakup album, but it is cinematic in its construction. Not quite a musical and not superficial in many ways. In my view, many albums produced with corporate record labels seem to have a few throwaway songs that are made as cash grabs. This album has none of that. It has the same spirit as Happier Than Ever and really dives into our human deficiencies that we all experience in relation to love.
And don’t even get me started on the production. Ever since Golden Hour, Kacey has been pushing the country playbook. Wild synths serve as a fantastic foundation for songs that you want to just drool at for their perfect composition. If you want an album that will very much make you consider the dynamics of human relationships and the complexities that such entails, then this is an album for you. If you are a music lover, I would highly recommend this too. It hits different, and it’s all due to Kacey’s genuine storytelling.