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Celebrating Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour and the Reinvention of Modern Country Music

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Celebrating Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour and the Reinvention of Modern Country Music

Photo courtesy of Spin

Photo courtesy of Spin

Photo courtesy of Spin

Photo courtesy of Spin

Johanna Zenn, Web staffer

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The most cliché answer to the question “what kind of music do you like?” that a person can think of is probably, “anything except rap or country.” The former is ridiculous of a multitude of reasons, and may be rooted into some sort of implicit, unexamined racism while the latter offers the conundrum of having to break down all of the subsets of country music in order to determine which types are “valid” and which types are not. For awhile, mainstream country music has been wrapped up in a sort of conservative, All-American male fantasy that combines a John Wayne-style swagger and the effortless simplicity of drinking beer in a pickup truck. While uplifting this narrative of a “simpler life,” there is an argument to be had that modern country music has been reactionary in the way that it has tried to suppress voices from those with different beliefs, especially political views that may contradict its central themes of the “good ol’ days.” Since then, more folk/alt-country artists have broken out of that mold, but it’s hard to say that many have been able to break into the mainstream the way that Blake Shelton or Luke Bryan have.
Enter Kacey Musgraves.
The 30-year-old Grammy Award-winner first started making waves in 2013 after the release of her single “Follow Your Arrow.” It is a fun, carefree tune that celebrates being who you are and explicitly states to love who you love, a point-of-view that country music desperately needed at the time. Not only are her lyrics and messages a refreshing take for the genre, but the way her sound has progressed over time has also transcended genre and reinvigorated traditional sounds to adapt to 2019. In Golden Hour, her latest album that just won her Album of the Year at the Grammys, she uses so many different influences across pop, electronic music, and disco to create a new blend of music that really reflects how the younger generation can breathe new life into country music and make it their own. In “Oh, What a World,” a beautiful piece about celebrating the complexity and mystery of life, she uses electronic sounds to create something that sounds like Dolly Parton meets Daft Punk, creating a feeling that is just as inexplicable as the subject she’s singing about. A perfect mix of profound and light-hearted, Kacey shows that she is the natural legacy to artists like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, grounding the genre back into its roots in a way that has not reached the mainstream in a long time. Another track, “High Horse,” sounds like something you would find at a disco-hoedown hybrid party, and if it isn’t the most fun thing you’ve ever heard, then I don’t know what possibly could be.

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Celebrating Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour and the Reinvention of Modern Country Music