Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour - 2018 Country - Clear Vinyl LP
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
MCA Nashville – B0027921-01, MCA Records – B0027921-01
Vinyl, LP, Album, Clear
30 Mar 2018
Pop, Folk, World, & Country
A1 Slow Burn
A2 Lonely Weekend
A4 Oh, What A World
A6 Love Is A Wild Thing
B1 Space Cowboy
B2 Happy & Sad
B3 Velvet Elvis
B4 Wonder Woman
B5 High Horse
B6 Golden Hour
Record Company – Universal Music
Lacquer Cut At – Nashville Record Productions
Pressed By – United Record Pressing
Art Direction – Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Christine Sutton
"Musgraves’ most accessible record and her most ambitious, a magnetic, comfortable culmination of her pop and country instincts. While dynamic enough to house both the stirring, alone-at-the-piano fragment “Mother” and a full-on country-disco kiss-off in “High Horse,” Golden Hour is alluringly cohesive, both lyrically and musically. In “Wonder Woman,” she confronts a partner’s unrealistic expectations and gives a simple counter: “All I need’s a place to land.” Throughout these songs, she finds one.
Despite the grandeur of its music, Golden Hour offers Musgraves’ most understated songwriting, a refreshing evolution as stars like Justin Timberlake and Lady Gagaaccidentally turn Americana-pop into grim satire. In the stunning single “Space Cowboy,” she weaves in at least a dozen genre tropes without drawing any attention to them. Instead, you’re left dazzled by the way her bold, drawling voice can cut through simple ideas—“Sunsets fade/And love does too”—like she’s the first person to notice, and you’re the first one she’s telling.
Sometimes, that familiarity belies the complexity of these songs. Tracks like “Love Is a Wild Thing” and “Oh, What a World” swirl around the positive messages in their titles in a state of euphoria. Musgraves includes precious few of the subtle details that made her 2013 breakthrough, Same Trailer Different Park, feel so instantly familiar. On a previous record, she might have provided a tour of the neighborhood that landlocks the star-crossed home-bodies in “Lonely Weekend,” or cracked a stoner joke about the “plants that grow and open your mind” in “Oh, What a World.” In the places where you’d expect Musgraves to land her punches, she sometimes offers just a wistful sigh.
But if the tension in her earlier work came from her sharp observations and underdog spirit, there’s something more complicated at play here. “Is there a word for the way that I’m feeling tonight,” she asks in “Happy & Sad,” attempting to pinpoint the creeping melancholy undercutting an otherwise blissful evening. Golden Hour is an album-length ode to not having the right words, to being overcome by the moment and surrendering to it.
Musgraves’ songwriting melts seamlessly between celebration—in heart-eyed-emoji anthems like “Butterflies” and “Velvet Elvis”—and elegies for when those feelings start to dim. The cinematic arrangements rarely distinguish between those two modes, coating the album in a pristine, sepia glow that makes tales of solitude like “Lonely Weekend” seem downright inviting. There’s a subtle awareness throughout these songs of what happens as soon as the golden hour ends, how quickly that burst of light can fade without a trace. In the title track, Musgraves compares her contentment to a temporary trick of the light: “All that I know,” she admits, “Is you caught me at the right time.”
Less concerned with outside forces than internal balance, Golden Hour stands as an assured, artful snapshot of a particular rush of feelings, but its wisdom speaks volumes to Musgraves’ ongoing evolution. “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining,” she sang in the first track on her major label debut, “It’s gotta be a cloudy day.” Even then, she suspected that ecstasy is most rewarding when it’s hard-won. On Golden Hour, she wears the sunlight well." ( Pitchfork)