Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Follow Your Arrow Wherever it Points

If you aren't listening to Kacey Musgraves yet, you need to go start.
The twenty-five year old Texas native won Nashville Star in 2007, but she's just starting to make a real splash on country radio. This year she's opening for Lady Antebellum on tour, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be headlining her own soon. Below, just a handful of reasons her and her album are worth a listen or fifty.

Her songs give great life advice
"Silver Lining" is full of inspiration, with the chorus reminding you that "If you're ever gonna find a four leaf clover, you gotta get a little dirt on your hands." It's that positive attitude that I've come to love in my country music that makes Musgraves a great listen on a rough day- it's musical encouragement. If you want the good, you have to get through the bad.

She says what I'm thinking
Sometimes it feels like everyone around you is settling down, getting jobs, getting married, and turning into their parents, and then there's you, still figuring things out. Musgraves gets it perfectly in her hit single "Merry Go Round." She scoffs at the traditional path, letting us know that it's perfectly perfect to veer off of it. Favorite lines would have to include, "If you ain't got two kids by 21 you're probably gonna die alone, at least that's what tradition told you." It's that biting criticism of the "normal" way of doing business that makes Musgraves so likable, and different from a lot of other country artists.

She can be vulnerable
Sometimes artists can get so into the ass-kicking persona that it's hard to remember they have emotions just like the rest of us. With "I Miss You," Musgraves perfectly articulates what it's like to be perfectly happy in life but still wish you had the person you love back in it to share the experience with you. It's a reminder that it's okay to miss someone, even if you know you shouldn't be with them (a sentiment that's reiterated with "It Is What It Is"). 

She will get you through that break-up
Sometimes, a song perfectly encapsulates what you're feeling. For me, it's the sad but powerful "Keep it to Yourself." It's about that feeling after a break-up where you both may be missing each other, but you know it's for the best to be apart. It's about regaining your strength and saying no when someone wants to rekindle something you know isn't good for you.

She's just really fun to listen to 
I haven't really met a Kacey Musgraves song I don't like, but "Stupid" has to be one of my favorite on the album. Seriously, if you only have time to listen to one song, this should probably be it. It's up-tempo, fun, and empowering. And it's about a universally relatable feeling- how damn stupid we get when we're in love.

She's not here to judge your choices
Sometimes country music has a tendency to spout a lot of values that aren't quite in line with my own. Musgraves, on the other hand, seems to be pretty progressive for a country star. "Follow Your Arrow," in addition to just being a really fun song to listen to, encourages us all to do what it is we want to do, because we're the ones dealing with our decisions at the end of the day. To give you an idea of her message, here's the chorus:

Make lots of noise,
Kiss lots of boys, 
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's what you're into.
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint (or don't)
Just follow your arrow wherever it points.

Clearly, Kacey Musgraves is a new kind of country star. So do yourself a favor and get to listening to all the links I so handily posted in the descriptions. You can thank me later. 

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