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We Need to Talk about Kacey Musgraves’ New Album: star-crossed

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a southern girl, I have always been a huge fan of Kacey Musgraves. I gravitate towards her music because she sings about experiences I can relate to and have been through myself. Her use of sound and modern references makes her stand out against the more traditional style of country music, and I truly believe she has become a trailblazer for artists to come. After releasing Golden Hour, I truly thought she would never be able to top it. That album can’t be explained in words, which is evident by its Album of the Year win at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

I was proven wrong though last week when Kacey released, star-crossed. She did it again.

This album is soooo good. The lead single and title of the album, “star-crossed”, is the first song on the record and serves as an introduction to the story Musgraves tells with the help of the succeeding fourteen songs. Having just gone through a divorce, she uses this album to tell her side of the story and the rush of emotions that come with such a monumental life event. This album shows the progression of a relationship where the two slowly realize that they don’t have everything together like they once thought they did. As the songs progress, she questions why things didn’t work and who was responsible for the end of the marriage. Kacey makes multiple references on this album to her divorce by singing about giving back a name or signing the papers and walking away.

Many were devastated by the announcement of her divorce, as it put in perspective the incredible romance she wrote about on Golden Hour, wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. I think this switch in tone between the two albums is what makes her so relatable, as this is something that so many can resonate with. She even makes a reference to this on the track “what doesn’t kill me” by singing, “Golden hour faded black.” Hearing this felt like the end of a chapter, one that a lot of her fans didn’t see coming.

The album uses the Shakespearean idea of star-crossed lovers, a love that is fated by the alignment of the stars. But, like we learned in “Romeo and Juliet”, these stories of love that are designed to be greater than us all always lead to destruction. This relationship was no exception. The songs convey this message that some things are out of your control and are simply fated to be, no matter what you do.

My favorite song is “breadwinner”, mostly because I am a sucker for a good feminist anthem but also because the song conveys a message that was always instilled in me by my mother. The chorus projects the idea that there are men who will never be comfortable with the woman that he is with making more money than him or being more successful. However, Kacey Musgraves reminds us in this track that it is not your responsibility to heal the holes and wounds his insecurities have left in him.

“He wants a bread winner

He wants your dinner

Until he ain’t hungry anymore

He wants your shimmer

To make him feel bigger

Until he starts feeling insecure”

Kacey Musgraves, “breadwinner”, star-crossed

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this album is the imagery Kacey Musgraves was able to convey thanks to the special-feature movie that she released alongside the album. Star-crossed: the film, was released and promoted at the same time as the singles and album and serves as another mirage of the themes and topics that each song represents. The film provided a unique spin on the listening experience as you could see the visualizations that went into making each track and the message it represents.

A few other notable mentions off the album are “justified”, “keep lookin’ up”, and “simple times”, which also add to the theme and story she was telling through her music.

There is no way I would ever be able to summarize this incredible album in a single article. I can’t express enough the genius songwriting and creativity that went into star-crossed. It truly is something you can only understand if you listen for yourself, so go on Spotify and press play.

Andi Baker is a Campus Correspondent and Senior at Purdue University, majoring in Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics with minors in Management and Art and Studio Design. Originally from Manila, Arkansas, Andi loves to drink sweet tea, read, and make art. You can follow her on Instagram @andibaker
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