Words of Wisdom from Kacey Musgraves

It’s no secret that country music tends to get a bad rap. The twangy music, the cringe-worthy lyrics, and the loudness of it all—trust me, I get it. But there is one country singer out there who is incredibly down to earth and is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be “country,” and her name is Kacey Musgraves. Her lyrics, while still wrapped in the country genre, challenge it and seem to have the answers to all your life problems. Here are a few examples of lyrical moments when Kacey proved she’s just like the rest of us and said exactly what we were all thinking.

1. “Follow your arrow wherever it points.”

The song “Follow Your Arrow” was my first experience with Musgraves, and I became completely obsessed. This is a great song for collegiettes like me who are looking to break out of their bubble and become who they want to be. Musgraves starts the song by naming off double standards for women such as, “If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore; if you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a ‘whore-able’ person,” and then tells you to do whatever you want because you’ll never please everyone. The namesake line, “follow your arrow,” is awesome because it puts you in charge of your own fate—you’re completely in charge of your own arrow in that you get to choose where to aim and where to shoot. In the end, Musgraves reminds you to choose carefully because “you only live once.”

2. “You can’t be everybody’s cup of tea.”

This sweet little song off of her new album, Pageant Material, has saved me on several occasions.  As someone who cares way too much about what other people think, I constantly try and defend every little thing about myself and every little thing I do that someone else thinks is weird, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. Listening to this song is such a breath of fresh air, and when I’m stressing over that rude thing she said or what they think of me, hearing the words “Nobody’s everybody’s favorite so you might as well just make it how you please,” is exactly what I need.

3. “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”

In a world where everyone knows everything about everybody, we all tend to get a little too involved in the business of others and to care way too much about what others think about us. This song has not only helped me let go of anger and negativity surrounding others’ judgments of me, but it has also been a great reminder for me to mind my own business. As Kacey sings, “pourin’ salt in my sugar won’t make yours any sweeter,” so the next time you find yourself gossiping, take a minute to remind yourself that nothing good comes from rudeness, and to live a happy life, you’re going to have to let other people do the same, even if they’re living in a way that’s different than you.

4. “Family is family”

Let’s face it: family can be annoying. Having people to constantly explain to and defend your decisions in front of can be exhausting, especially when it seems everyone’s got an opinion on how you should be living, but at the end of the day, they are your family, and all of those petty feuds and emphasized eye-rolls are pretty ridiculous at the end of the day. Yes, some people have really messed up situations and it may be healthier for them to keep a distance from their family. However, for most of us, embarrassing or not, family is family, and just because they can be a little crazy sometimes doesn’t mean you don’t support them. As Kacey sings, “you don’t get to pick ‘em…but you love ‘em.”

5. “I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t.”

In her newest album’s namesake song, Pageant Material, Kacey encourages us all to love our differences and imperfections, even if they don’t fit within what’s “proper” or normal. She specifically criticizes the originally southern tradition of beauty pageants, though the song reaches a much broader audience as it discusses the complexity and contradictions of what it means to be a “girl.” “Who’s to say I’m a 9.5 or a 4.0 if you don’t even know me,” Kacey asks, asking you to think about yourself for more than a number or someone’s shallow perception of who you are. In the end, she’d rather be happy with herself and hated by everyone else than to have everyone like a lie.

6. “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining, it’s got to be a cloudy day.”

When you’re having a bad day, it can be hard to realize everything you have to be grateful for.  With school, work, friends, and family, sometimes it’s all just too much. I cant tell you how many times I’ve found myself crying over a failure or a mistake, but in the end, your experiences shape who you are. You can’t have the good without the bad, or as Kacey puts it, “if you want the honey, you can’t be scared of the bees.” In the end, it’s up to you to take your bad days and use them as fuel for the good ones.

Kacey Musgraves takes big ideas and puts them into simple little rhymes that feel like the advice you’d get from your parents. Her lyrics are sweet without being cheesy and turns one listen into an unintended life lesson. She unapologetically says what you wish you could in almost every situation, and helps you recognize that you’re human—imperfections and all—and you shouldn’t take things so seriously all of the time. Her country simplicity makes you realize that life shouldn’t be as hard as you make it out to be and asks you to appreciate the little things, all while telling you that it’s okay to break tradition. Country music may not be your favorite, but for Kacey Musgraves, it’s well worth a listen.