Thoughts: Kacey's finest hour

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On the Golden Hour track "Love is a Wild Thing," Kacey Musgraves likens love to a plant growing  in places where it thrives and where it struggles, like a flower blooming through a crack in concrete. This not only describes her budding relationship with her new husband, but also the record's sound; Kacey's music has grown beyond its country roots to become something truly special.

On her first two records, Kacey established herself as a rebel of sorts in the conservative country scene, someone willing to be honest in her lyrics in contrast to her predictable Music City peers. On Golden Hour she extends this rebellion to the sonics, bringing in influences from the worlds of pop and dance. This is a soft rebellion, however, where nothing seems too out of place and meshes well with her past material. 

The songs explore love in all its forms, the beginnings and endings, the ups and downs. This is of course due to her current marital bliss, but it's not all blissful; pre-release single "Space Cowboy" is an excellent description of a bittersweet goodbye. On album highlight "Happy & Sad," Kacey puts into words that feeling of being extremely excited and extremely nervous about a blossoming love. It all feels honest and emotional in a way that she hasn't before.

The entire record has a consistent tone of melancholic sunlight. Even the lighter numbers like "Velvet Elvis" and "High Horse" don't veer too far from this golden mean, though they offer a wonderful contrast to the ballads like the aforementioned "Space Cowboy" and the ending piano piece "Rainbow." There are few words to describe the bliss I feel while listening to it, but I hope it has the same effect on you.

- Matt