Kacey Musgraves arrives in a music scene that’s focusing more on shock factors in order to get somewhere and growingly dumbed down lyrics to appeal to the masses. The louder music gets, the sillier the things it says, the more successful an artist becomes. There’s almost a linear relation there.
Same Trailer Different Park is Kacey Musgraves’ first album though she has offered country music many songs as a songwriter, many of which turned out to be big hits.
The musical style on her first album is understated, smooth, folk-like and breathy, even the stompy songs such as “Stupid.” Musgraves’ style is detached from what you’d normally expect, even among country artists.
Her vocal delivery is simple as well as effortless. She doesn’t belt out notes like fellow country female singers such as Carrie Underwood. Her style aims solely at delivering the music she wrote in the best way possible. She creates a niche for herself with a very distinctive voiceless delivery.
The strongest suit of this 12-songs collection, however, isn’t the music. It’s Musgraves’ lyrics which challenge the basic foundation of her conservative country audience. “Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys or kiss lots of girls of that’s what you’re into,” she sings on the brilliant Follow Your Arrow. You can already see heads turning if that line ever comes on their radio.
She doesn’t glamorize rural life which country music usually loves to love. On the album’s first single and standout offering “Merry Go Round,” she sings, in non-autobiographical fashion, about all those people who settle down like dust on a broken merry go round, who think their first time is good enough so they stick with their high school love and end up like the parents, happy in their shoes while their “mama’s hooked on Mary Kay, brother’s hooked on Mary Jane and daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down.”
She sings about one night stands “but I ain’t got no one to sleep in with me, and you ain’t got nowhere that you need to be. Maybe I love you, maybe I’m just kind of bored. It is what it is till it ain’t anymore.”
Even the more optimistic songs on Same Trailer Different Park, such as the opening song Silver Lining that’s about trying to look at the brighter side, are rooted in a sense of realism that makes their overall effect quite haunting.
On songs like “Keep It To Yourself,” Musgraves talks to an old lover who’s still asking about her with the simplest yet eloquently-woven lyrics: “You turn on the light then you turn it back off cause sleeping alone, it ain’t what you thought. It’s the drip of the sink, it’s the click of the clock and you’re wondering if I’m sleeping. You heard from your friends that I’m doing okay and you’re thinking maybe you made a mistake and you want me to know but I don’t wanna know how you’re feeling… when you’re drunk and it’s late and you’re sad and you hate going home alone cause you’re missing me like hell, keep it to yourself.”
The young Musgraves also sings about the small things you think you’d change but it’s all simply “Blowin’ Smoke” or simply telling someone to “Step Off” with all their negativity from your life and off the throne they build for themselves by stepping on other people or about having “My House” on four wheels that you can take wherever the wind blows.
Same Trailer Different Park is an A-class music album that offers a beyond credible alternative to the music we’ve grown accustomed to by an artist who might be the best thing to happen to country music, and music in general, in a long time. Whether she’s singing about a long-gone love or about how life is in the heart of Bible-belt America, Kacey Musgraves takes you on a ride on a perfectly fine merry go round. And you can’t wait to know what comes next.
Download: Merry Go Round, Keep It To Yourself, Follow Your Arrow.