Country star Kacey Musgraves released her fifth studio album titled “Star-Crossed” on Sept. 10.
Its predecessor, “Golden Hour,” swept the 2019 Grammy Awards, winning best country album and album of the year. It raised Musgraves to fame, and she became known for her authenticity, creating her own music genre somewhere in between country, pop and indie.
Needless to say, Musgraves’ fans and music lovers alike have been waiting for this next chapter for quite some time.
Unfortunately, “Star-Crossed” is not the happy ending fans were hoping for following “Golden Hour.” Instead, it is a quintessential divorce album filled with regret, loss, anger and hope. Musgraves’ classic introspection and brute honesty live on in “Star-Crossed,” creating a tragic story album.
Musgraves chronicles her frustration, pain and desperation at the beginning of a relationship’s end in tracks like “Good Wife” and “Simple Times,” followed by the regret that comes after in the songs “If This Was a Movie..,” “Angel” and “Hookup Scene.”
The end of the album embodies Musgraves’ feelings of strength and hope for the future, with a dash of disco in the songs “Keep Lookin’ Up,” “What Doesn’t Kill Me” and “There Is a Light.”
The album closes with what might be Musgraves’ boldest experimentation.
The final track, “Gracias a la Vida,” is a simple and haunting ballad that seems to pour right out of the singer’s soul. She thanks life for the beauty and ugliness it brings, ending the story with a sense of peace.
The song is entirely in Spanish, which is complemented nicely by the bits of Ranchera influence sprinkled throughout the rest of the album.
“Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto / Los dos materiales que forman mi canto / Y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto / Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto,” Musgraves sings.
These lyrics translate as: “This is how I distinguish happiness from brokenness / The two materials that make up my song / And your song that is the same song / And everyone’s song that is my own song.”
Due to its experimentation, I do not expect “Star-Crossed” to do as well with awards as “Golden Hour.” And though I can’t say the new album has the former beat just yet, it has a chance, as it does seem to get better every time I hear it.
Musgraves undoubtedly delivered another bold and seamless album. It’s a great listen whether you are a fan or not. But fans beware: “Star-Crossed” may make “Golden Hour” a much sadder story.