Kacey Musgraves’ Album of the Year Win Was Very Much Deserved

Not going to lie—I didn’t expect much going into this year’s Grammy awards. I’ve already written at length about how, despite their new “diverse” attitude after last year’s disastrous, sexist ceremony, the Grammys still continue to ignore women with guitars. So you can imagine my delight/shock when one of my favorite artists, the guitar-wielding, bedazzled president of the yee yee club herself, Kacey Musgraves walked away with four awards, including Album of the Year for 2018’s Golden Hour.

I saw Kacey three times last year, opening for Harry Styles on his North American tour (yes I went to three shows, okay!) and though I admittedly had little prior knowledge of her and her music (beforehand I was not a country listener—at all), I immediately became a fan. Golden Hour became a daily listen, a no-skips record that is just as enjoyable as it is emotional; a psychedelic country-rock-folk-pop phenom that really refuses to be confined to just one definition. It’s an affirming album, one that Marissa R. Moss suggests “presents a different breed of protest song: one where there’s protest in kindness, in the appreciation of beauty and a sense of being grateful about the world.” Kacey’s very outspoken about her liberal politics (the kind that can kill a country music career), but on the album, despite its many references to LSD, the devil’s lettuce, etc., she finds her real resistance in love and kindness, much like her tourmate Harry.

“Slow Burn” was one of my absolute favorite songs released last year, and will be one of my favorite songs forever. Its lyrics are simple sentiments: “Texas is hot / I can be cold / Grandma cried when I pierced my nose,” but they pack a stun gun shot that forces you to have the same kind of slow burn she does in the song, “Taking my time / Let the world turn.” It’s full of lush strings and psych-pop sounds that create a world that’s entirely Golden Hour’s. “Oh, What A World” is another one of those—an atmospheric musing on northern lights and neon fish that begins with a trippy vocal effect and continues with the twangy guitar of '60s and '70s country songs of yore.

“Space Cowboy” is a masterpiece: one that not only makes me want to unironically stand on my fictional porch in a Reformation dress as a beautiful but ill-fated man rides away from me on his horse, but a gorgeous reflection on love and loss. “High Horse” is the second song on the album in which Kacey asks a man to please get on his horse and ride away, but after listening to Golden Hour I realized you can never have too many of those. It’s the real jam of the album, a glittery disco number that I imagine Kacey wrote thinking about all the '70s jumpsuits she could wear while performing it. The music video is perfect too—Kacey lassos the grimy men (and one patriarchy-upholding woman!) in her '70s office job and knows when it’s time to take her wicker bag and go!

Golden Hour was a surprise win at the awards next to bigger names, but it was MY album of the year, which is ultimately what awards shows should reflect. Jokes aside, Kacey’s win was well-deserved—Golden Hour was not only boldly experimental but perfectly executed, all while remaining true to her identity as an artist. It was a win that made me feel, like Kacey sings on the album’s title track, that “I know, I know everything’s gonna be alright.”