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Kacey Musgraves - Star-Crossed (Album Review)

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 Written by Alex Myles

Kacey Musgraves has always enjoyed ruffling feathers. Whether it has been through her candid portrayal of life in Bible belt America, her advocacy of recreational drugs, her support for marginalised groups, or even ditching banjos for vocoders, the country star–who operates, or more precisely used to operate, in a particularly conservative sector—has long made that streak work for her.

Detractors may have taken umbrage with 2018’s ‘Golden Hour’ due to its pop ambition, but it was a stunning achievement and brought deserved success and acclaim. ‘Star-Crossed’ ditches any country pretence even more brazenly, but it sadly doesn’t hit the heights its predecessor did. It’s passable rather than memorable and rewarding.

Thematically, ‘Star-Crossed’ is inspired by Musgraves’ divorce. Though she treats this thorny subject with maturity at times, with a few tongue-in-cheek wise cracks thrown in for good measure, it feels a tad indulgent when framed as a Shakespearean tragedy, with Musgraves taking the role as narrator in the highly melodramatic opening track. 

Musgraves’ astute writing skills are rarely evident here, with the obvious exception of the infectiously funky Breadwinner and What Doesn’t Kill Me, two songs that have some energy and character behind them. The rest almost morph into a rather bland semi-acoustic blob, apart from the ridiculous and incongruous There is a Light. 

Musgraves finds inspiration, at least sonically, from ‘00s acoustic pop. The weaker tracks could be cut and pasted from a Natasha Bedingfield or Dido project. Why an artist in possession of a unique and cultured sound of their own feels attracted to this brand of pop music is hard to understand. 

There are moments to enjoy on ‘Star-Crossed’—Cherry Blossom with its charming aesthetic and the short and sweet Simple Times, for example. Largely, though, the album stands as a rare misfire from a musician who can evidently do better.

Kacey Musgraves Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed January 19 2022 - SAINT PAUL Minnesota - Xcel Energy Center (USA)
Thu January 20 2022 - CHICAGO Illinois - United Center (USA)
Fri January 21 2022 - KANSAS CITY Missouri - T-Mobile Center (USA)
Sun January 23 2022 - CLEVELAND Ohio - Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (USA)
Mon January 24 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - Scotiabank Arena (Canada)
Wed January 26 2022 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Wells Fargo Center (USA)
Thu January 27 2022 - BOSTON Massachusetts - TD Garden (USA)
Thu February 03 2022 - WASHINGTON DC - Capital One Arena (USA)
Sat February 05 2022 - NEW YORK New York - Madison Square Garden (USA)
Wed February 09 2022 - ATLANTA Georgia - State Farm Arena (USA)
Fri February 11 2022 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Bridgestone Arena (USA)
Mon February 14 2022 - DALLAS Texas - American Airlines Center (USA)
Wed February 16 2022 - DENVER Colorado - Ball Arena (USA)
Sat February 19 2022 - OAKLAND California - Oakland Arena (USA)
Sun February 20 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Staples Center (USA)

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