The last time listeners heard from Kacey Musgraves she had just married her husband and released the critically acclaimed galactic country album, Golden Hour. Fast forward a few years later and newly divorced, Musgraves has released star-crossed. An album whose theme is one of a “modern tragedy”. Co-produced and written with the same Golden Hour team of Ian Fitchuck and Daniel Tashian, star-crossed is a well crafted album of modern country that adds soul and R+B to the mix.
A flamenco style acoustic guitar is heard on the title track, one that describes a relationship like listening to an audio play where Musgraves “moved out of the home we made and gave you back your name”. Flashbacks abound on songs like “Good Wife” that rewinds the relationship story and adds a dose of soul in the chorus. “Camera Roll” sees Musgraves looking back at old photos but not wanting to delete them. A theme of wishing things were different pops up several times including on the acoustic lead “Angel” but on tracks like “Justified”, Musgraves turns the tables that she acted the way she did based on the circumstances.
star-crossed is a finely tuned album for dopamine pop hits but there is a little something in each track that makes it standout. It’s only a handful of songs, like third single “Simple Times” that sound like they were tailor written to be a radio hit which ends up sounding like many other artists. It’s on tracks like the slinky R+B of “Breadwinner” and the jazz flute solo of “There Is A Light” that really sets Musgraves apart. The album closes with the Spanish language classic, “Gracias a la Vida” where the team adds scratchy record effects to make it sound like it was released in the 1960s. While it will be hard to top the success of Golden Hour, on star-crossed Kacey Musgraves continues to experiment while not forgetting her pop country roots.