Kacey Musgraves previews third studio album ‘Golden Hour’ with two fantastic new singles ‘Space Cowboy’ and ‘Butterflies’
Kacey Musgraves has always managed to break conventions when creating her beloved country pop music. She’s a unique artist who crafts songs that manage to both combine her traditional Texan roots with forward-thinking opinions on modern issues such as LGBT.
After two critically acclaimed country albums and a well-received Christmas record, 2018 see’s Musgraves make a return with newly announced third record ‘Golden Hour’. Opting to launch with two singles simultaneously, a bold move, even more so when you factor in both singles don’t dramatically differ in tone or style.
Lead single ‘Space Cowboy’ is one of the most creative country-pop ballads in years, tonally it’s reminiscent of Taylor Swift at her ‘Speak Now’ creative peak. Musgraves goes a step further, taking the ‘lost in love’ concept to a higher level with her ingenious manipulation of metaphors and grammar. Such as when Musgraves sings “You can have your space, cowboy”, utilizing a clever lyrical device with the insertion of the comma. A trick I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen used in a song’s title or chorus before.
It’s also the first song of Musgraves in which I’ve truly felt the emotion behind her lyrics, for example, previous albums had a polished sheen that made joyful listens out of difficult topics, whereas ‘Space Cowboy’ see’s the production laid bare in comparison. It’s twangy ethereal guitars gently strum along leaving the focus purely on Musgraves vocals. When she sings of breaking apart from her love and giving the wild titular cowboy space to breathe, you can genuinely hear the tinge of regret and sigh of defeat in the way her voice drops after the comma. It’s evidence of stellar songwriting and a maturity beyond her years.
Second single ‘Butterflies’ is relatively upbeat in comparison, the twang in the guitars being replaced with a tiptoe piano melody. still similar to ‘Space Cowboy’ with the way each track has been produced to sound dreamy and light as a feather. It gives the listener a sense of coherence and familiarity that make it clear it’s part of a greater whole, that being the album of course.
The track also leaves the lyrics and vocals to be the centerpiece of the song. even more so than 'Space Cowboy' we’re treated to a masterclass in songwriting with ‘Butterflies’. This time we see Musgraves clearly besotted, not surprising considering the song was written only a week after meeting now-husband Ruston Kelly. She compares him to not just the traditional feeling of butterflies in your stomach but instead in a much more grandeur sense of how he’s helped her evolve personally from cocoon to butterfly, a theme that runs throughout the verses of the track.
When it comes to the vocals, you can hear that genuine ‘love at first sight’ feeling in the sound of her much lighter tones, this time full of hope and joy. ‘Butterflies’ also contains little clever elements such as the way the instrumental drops out completely, allowing for one powerful emotional punch towards the conclusion of the track, delivered of course by those earnest vocals.
These are without a doubt, the two strongest tracks of Musgraves career so far. Both are a combination of country-pop that is deeply personal yet completely relatable. Managing to grab the listener by building a deeper connection rather than relying on a catchy throwaway pop hook. Both tracks are signs of intelligent songwriting by Musgraves that leaves the listener waiting in anticipation of what ‘Golden Hour’ has in store come March 30th.
Listen to both tracks below via Spotify.