Kate Picone ’22
The woman who made us believe in love with her hit 2018 album Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves, has just dropped star-crossed—a new album that tells the story of how the sun has set on her marriage. It is hard to believe that the relationship that inspired “Butterflies” and “Golden Hour” could ever have come to an end, but Musgraves has used her pain to inspire new and beautifully tragic songs to explain why it is over. Unlike other break-up albums filled with anger and spitefulness, star-crossed is more of a reflection of how desperately she tried to make her marriage work, but in the end, she and her husband just could not salvage it.
The album begins with the song for which it is named, “star-crossed.” Its first lyric, “Let me set the scene/Two lovers ripped right at the seams,” instantly tells listeners that she will be explaining the fall of her marriage. The lyric implies that at first she and her husband were so connected it was almost as if they were sewn together, but this is no longer the case.
During an interview with Elle Magazine in May, Musgraves admitted that in recent years she felt like her career was taking off, but her personal life was in disarray. She said, “I felt like I was dying inside. I was crumbling. I was sad. I felt lonely. I felt broken.” Musgraves went on to add that it was the pandemic that prompted her to reflect on her relationship, and she started writing her album then.
The artist said that she “could have coasted for another couple of years” in the relationship, which she expresses throughout the album. One clear example of this is the song “good wife,” in which Musgraves expresses that she strives to be a good wife so badly, but she cannot seem to figure out how to do so. In spite of this, however, the lyrics also suggest that she still loves her husband and wants to make their marriage work.
While there is a melancholy tone to most of the songs, it would not be “Spacey Kacey” without a couple tracks about her strength. The song that showcases this inner power most clearly is “what doesn’t kill me.” As a strong woman, she makes sure it is known that “What doesn’t kill me/Better run.” It is a very inspirational track, especially for people who have been kicked down by life and are trying to get back up stronger than ever. She even pays homage to her last album with the lyric, “I’ve been to hell and back/Golden hour faded black.” Since that album is about her falling in love with her now ex-husband, it is only fitting to incorporate it in this way.
Musgraves ends the album with the song “gracias a la vida,” which was originally by Violeta Parra, a composer who committed suicide shortly after writing the song. The translation of the title is, “Thanks to Life.” By including this track, Musgraves thanks all the good and bad that has happened in her marriage, even though the relationship ultimately had to come to an end. This song features autotuned effects that first make it sound like it is an old record with static, but then switches into her usual soft pop motif. This is the perfect way for Musgraves to end this album about the highs and lows of her relationship and to say “thank you” to her ex-husband for everything they have been through together.
Kacey Musgraves’ star-crossed is now available for streaming on all music platforms.