'Star-Cross' review: Kacey Musgraves' divorce time

Much has been said about Musgraves’ experimentation on the borders of country music. But praise for her omnivore has often been interpre...


Much has been said about Musgraves’ experimentation on the borders of country music. But praise for her omnivore has often been interpreted as exasperation at the supposed limitations of the genre from which she is seen to be moving away. Sometimes those who advocate for change from outside the genre are just as conservative as those who clash over boundaries from within.

It was still a false head. Musgraves has established herself as a traditionalist, and even when she laughs at orthodoxy, she is at least lightly invested in heritage: on this album, “Keep looking” is a beautiful country song. That Musgraves arrived in Nashville during one of its most restrictive times is not his fault; its closest analogue is Sturgill Simpson, who also retreated into mellow psychedelia in reaction to what everyone within earshot was doing.

“Star-Crossed” isn’t quite as elaborate, in terms of production, as “Golden Hour,” which might sound too giddy. (She worked with the same team here, writers and producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk). Easier Said ”nods to“ Drive ”by the Cars, and the melancholy“ Angel ”, with a veritable rainstorm coming in halfway, feels nonchalantly indebted to Jim Croce’s“ Time in a Bottle ”. .

These relatively minor gestures of production speak loudly because Musgraves comes from a world in which they are seen as more radical than they actually are. (That said, this album is indeed more comfortable with, say, Phoebe Bridgers or Japanese Breakfast.) But they also sound so loud because Musgraves lets them say things his voice doesn’t.

She never seems to sing to convince you – her voice, of modest scale but deadly precision, connotes the power of unease and exhaustion. It is regret embodied.

Sometimes – and often on this album – Musgraves’ resignation seems to extend to the very act of singing. When it is bubbling, it is calm. When she is calm, she is on the verge of boredom. Sometimes at the end of a relationship, you’ve just said all there is to say. To give more would be to give too much.

Kacey musgraves
“Crossed by stars”
(Interscope / UMG Nashville)

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Newsrust - US Top News: 'Star-Cross' review: Kacey Musgraves' divorce time
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