Kacey Musgraves - “star-crossed” Album Review

Story posted September 15, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by Cade Miller.

In the country music industry, breakups usually are followed closely with revenge. Whether it be burning their pictures to digging a key in the side of someone’s truck, female country artists have vengeance on their mind after a breakup.

In “star-crossed,” Kacey Musgraves seems to take an alternate route. In her newest album, Musgraves wanted her ex-partner to feel the pain she did during the breakup.

Her marriage with Ruston Kelly looked like a fairytale made in heaven, but they had their fans fooled. In this album, Musgraves takes the listeners through her whole story of love to divorce with many of the six stages of grief and what her latest relationship is now.

The first song is the title track, “star-crossed.” Right from the beginning she sings “Let me set the scene. Two lovers ripped right at the scene. They woke up from the perfect dream. And then, the darkness came.”

Listeners are thrown into the story right then and there. The tone is set and there’s no need for having to decipher through the lyrics looking for hidden meanings.

The very meaning of star-crossed means to not be written in the stars, or in the case of their relationship, bound to be a failure. And this song is the perfect definition.

Later, “simple times” reflects how during the relationship it seemed perfect and even a little fake. “Wish that I could put this game on pause,” missing the perfection of her love.

The track “simple times” shows that she really does miss her ex. Going through the stage of denial and isolation, being in the “game” takes her away from what really happened - the divorce.

After that song is “if this was a movie,” which is sort of her stage of bargaining. She reflects on her thoughts of him coming back to her. She just wants to fall back in place where they left off.

It seems this song fits the bargaining stage with a hint of denial and delusion. She pictures the exact way he pulls into her driveway, runs up to the door and they are both back to normal.

From here, the story is coming together like a puzzle. The perfect story is hard to come by, but Musgraves is doing great with it.

“Breadwinner” stands out as well. This is more of the anger stage. She sings to her ex’s next lover and how all he really wants is something/someone new with money. All he wants is her bread.

This is the closest song she gets to revenge, but really, it’s just a warning for his next girl.

The next stage, depression, comes in with the song “easier said.” She goes on to say it is difficult to love someone but it’s even more difficult to lose them.

The last two songs, “there is a light” and “gracias a la vida” are her acceptance songs. First, “There is a light” is giving her hope throughout the end of her relationship. She sees the light at the end of the tunnel and within her.

Right after her hopeful song, “gracias a la vida” is her final goodbye. This is her acceptance, and she is finally moving on.

Every artist hopes to make albums one whole story, each song being a chapter. Many fail with this goal. “star-crossed” is an album that other songwriters should take note from. This album is a complete story, beginning to end and no interrupting random songs.

The album is not just lyrically incredible, but also instrumentally. One song that stands out is “gracias a la vida.” Musgraves uses original songwriter and performer Mercedes Sosa’s retro version that sounds old and very rustic.

Later, Musgraves comes in with a clearer sound still singing the same song. At the end, she added a very unique sound and vocals.

But throughout “star-crossed”, Musgraves sticks to her country roots. In most songs, the acoustic guitar is the main source of sound, just like country does. There were banjos, tambourines and some slight moans of an old blues harp that made an appearance at times.

Within the many songs, there is a very Hispanic sound to it, which many country songs tend to get inspiration from, and clearly, as does Musgraves.

The whole album is a wonderful piece of work. She is clear about her story and the sound is amazing. She outdoes herself from her 2018 Grammy winning album, “Golden Hour.”

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “gracias a la vida”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “good wife”


Cade Miller is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email cam7095@psu.edu.