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Kacey Musgraves Saved 2024: A Review Of ‘Deeper Well’

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Emerging from the same soil as Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Lorde’s Solar Power like a red lupine, Kacey Musgraves’ fifth album Deeper Well enriched the world this March. Succeeding Golden Hour’s love-struck endearment and star-crossed’s vengeance, Deeper Well finds us looking inward and seeking solace in rose-adorned front yards, desert canyons, the glow of June’s fireflies and symbols of songbirds. 

Honesty has been underscoring Musgraves’ music since 2013 when she released her single “Merry Go ‘Round.” This Same Trailer Different Park staple challenges traditional southern values like starting a family young, attending church every Sunday, partaking in overconsumption and “settling down” in general. “Step Off,” “Follow Your Arrow,” “Pageant Material,” “Cup of Tea,” “Slow Burn” and “breadwinner” lended “Merry Go ‘Round”’s message longevity across Musgraves’ music career, and Deeper Well transformed it. This time, instead of critiquing societal norms through witty jabs and callouts, Musgraves lets her honesty flourish through confession and liberation. In title track “Deeper Well,” she declares she’s “saying goodbye to the [people/habits] that [she] [feels] are real good at wasting [her] time,” putting the agency for change back in her court. What a perfect sentiment just in time for spring. 

While each track is vital to the comprehensive portrait of Musgraves’ healing journey, there are some standouts. “Sway,” a reflective meditation on resilience and adaptability, serves as the older sister to Golden Hour’s beloved closing track “Rainbow.”

“Maybe someday, I’ll learn how to sway / Like a palm tree in the wind, I won’t break, I’ll just bend,” Musgraves promises herself, as if she’s looking back toward a younger version of herself who was certain of things she’s not so certain of now. Both songs draw on images of storms to illuminate feelings of uncertainty and worry, which are resolved through visions of either wielding an umbrella or learning to move with the wind. On Golden Hour, Musgraves reassures listeners that “it’ll all be alright,” and on Deeper Well, she reassures herself. 

Another one of my favorites, “The Architect,” acknowledges and harbors all the heaviness the world’s been beneath the past few years. In this track, Musgraves wonders whether apples, canyons, insecurity, destruction and love share an origin or follow a blueprint, and if our lives are “random or fate.” I liken this track to something John Prine, John Denver or Willie Nelson would have written; it interrogates an abstract, existential question largely absent from pop music, and Musgraves’ sweet voice and meditative lyrics soar alongside a stripped-back, temperate guitar. The song’s origin, though, is not so sweet; the message behind “The Architect” found its footing following the incineration of a friend’s house and the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that occurred in March 2023. 

“Nashville felt so dark there for a while. We sat down and we were like, ‘God, what do we even wanna talk about or write about?’,” she said in an interview with Willie Geist following the album’s release. “It feels superfluous to be creating something lighthearted while something just insane happened here. But anyways, I pulled out the title ‘The Architect’ and I was like, do you think – you know – maybe is there something here?”

Lighthearted is hardly a word you could use to describe Deeper Well. It feels more like a thoughtful intersection of gratitude, grief and grandeur, propelling listeners toward a realization of how small each of us are in a world so big. I’m guilty of having made fulsome statements about other albums like “this album changed me” or “I don’t know how I ever lived without this album,” and, while bold, I actually mean it this time. I’m a sucker for art that shines light on the mundane and reflects everlasting, universal hope, and that’s exactly what Deeper Well does.

Sydney is a contributing writer and editor for Her Campus (CU Boulder). She joined Her Campus during her first semester of freshman year and has enjoyed writing about entertainment, issues uniting the nation and personal experiences. She loves getting to empower women to explore their voices and contribute their insights. Sydney is currently a junior majoring in strategic communication and pursuing minors in journalism and creative writing. She is a Norlin Scholar, an active member of PRSSA and interned with Renewable Energy Systems' marketing department over the summer. Following undergrad, she hopes to combine her passions for creative writing, public relations strategy and clean energy to ensure a brighter future for upcoming generations. While she's not writing or studying, you can find her playing music, attending concerts around Denver, shooting senior portraits, hiking at Chautauqua or spending time with her family. She hopes to publish a novel someday.