REVIEW: Kacey Musgraves dives into the world of heartbreak with her new release 'star-crossed'
Through lyrics that evoke confusion, pain and nostalgia, Musgraves journeys through the many emotions she felt in processing her divorce
From twangy country albums to upbeat pop and Christmas records, Kacey Musgraves has a versatile discography and her latest release is no different. Her fifth studio album “star-crossed” dives into songwriting in a way that no other release of hers has: through the lens of heartbreak.
Musgraves first entered the country-music scene in 2013 with her debut album “Same Trailer Different Park,” but she soared to success in 2019 when her fourth studio album “Golden Hour” won the coveted Grammy for album of the year. She has won six Grammys in total throughout her career.
While “Golden Hour” is filled with love songs about fellow country singer Ruston Kelly, her newest release is filled with songs about heartbreak following the couple’s divorce. Musgraves and Kelly announced their separation in July 2020 in a statement saying “It simply just didn’t work.” A year later, Musgraves released a 15-track album detailing the confusing and painful experience.
While Musgraves began her career as a country artist, her last few releases have shifted to a more pop sound mixed with country twang. “star-crossed” is the farthest from country music she has released to date.
The opening and title track “Star-Crossed” sets the scene for the listener when Musgraves sings, “I signed the papers yesterday/ You came and took your things away/ I moved out of the home we made/ And gave you back your name.” The next track, “Good Wife,” notes the pressure to be the ideal spouse that she felt during her marriage.
Many of the following tracks detail the different emotions Musgraves felt while grieving the relationship, from the nostalgia of looking back on past memories in “Camera Roll,” to dreaming of the relationship working out in another life in “Angel” and “If This Was a Movie.” She delves into the confusion of moving on, singing that “healing doesn’t happen in a straight line” in the album’s second single “Justified.” Musgraves’ lyrics evoke the many different stages of heartbreak.
However, Musgraves does take a break from discussing heartache in a few of her tracks. “Simple Times” details her desire to return to the younger years and go to 7-Eleven with her friends and talk on her pager because “being grown-up kinda sucks.” She also makes a statement with her eighth track “Breadwinner” which looks at men who say they want an independent partner, but then end up not being able to handle her success.
Although this is a divorce album, Musgraves’ lyrics become more hopeful in the final tracks of the album. “What Doesn’t Kill Me,” “There Is a Light” and “Gracias a la Vida,” describe the light within her and how she is thankful for the life she was given.
Overall, “star-crossed” is another hit record under Musgraves’ belt. Through her lyrics, she takes listeners on a journey into the world of heartbreak and the many emotions that come along with it, proving that she is able to take her pain and create something beautiful.