Living in the Golden Hour: Kacey Musgraves and Perfection, Motherhood, and Love
Golden Hour and A Rhinestone Review
3 years ago, my best friend and I went to see Kacey Musgraves in Columbus. We had been listening to Pageant Material on repeat. Fun fact, her merch is on point. We each got five dollar tiaras and had a ball. My best friend almost passed out and was rescued by none other than the opening act Langhorne Slim. My sister wore the Kacey Musgraves crown at her bridal shower and I wore it at my baby shower. Apparently, there was a bet at my shower to see how long I’d wear it. If you guessed all night, you’d be right. Pageant Material seemed perfect for me. Biscuits, Dime Store Cowgirl, and Pageant Material hit me in the feels during 2015 and 2016.
The past few years have been so busy and strange. I’ve really struggled with pessimism and nihilism. Most women I know who have given since 2017 have struggled with postpartum anxiety. Every day it seems like you get hit with awful soul-shaking news. I get panic attacks where I can’t feel my hands reading climate news. I actually have to block it on my phone. I had to cut my hard news consumption (I’m an investigative journalism/ hard nonfiction reader) to only the least biased of sources. I’m a librarian so I have to curate what I read and I like to be discerning in my media consumption. But it’s overwhelming. On top of this, I have a small child and it seems like there is news to break my heart. I want the best for him and I’ve been reading a lot of fiction. I read the Count of Monte Cristo and the moral was “Wait and Hope.” It wasn’t cheesy or fake. It talked about life and how hard it can be. I almost want to get tattoos on my wrists that say “Patience and Time” (Tolstoy) and “Wait and Hope” (Dumas). These are truisms and I am searching for positive things every day. One of my absolute joys is music and my best friend Emily is a huge fan of alt-country. She grew up with it and introduced me to the introspective gorgeous music of Ryan Adams and Kacey Musgraves. I’m not a traditional country fan and I have a hard time liking even acclaimed artists. I like the attitude of Outlaw Country but I’m not someone who listens to country music radio. However, I love Kacey Musgraves because it reminds me of the music of my youth. Even though she’s from Texas a lot of her songs remind me of Wisconsin and the town my Mom’s family is from. I’ve been trying to consume music that’s authentic and not whiney for no reason. Before Louis C.K.’s huge fall from grace, my husband tried to get me to watch his new show which was “dark” and I couldn’t listen to it. I can’t really escape into dark stuff because I feel like things are so topsy turvy right now. So I read some really amazing reviews of Kacey Musgraves album “Golden Hour” and it said it was overwhelmingly positive. So I went to her show in Columbus on Tuesday and prepped for a good time.
First things first about Kacey, her aesthetic is on point. She has an amazing look and her shows are unabashedly feminine and arty. Even the cover of her album has amazing tone and composition. My best friend and I bought tiaras again and just sang songs. To be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with the album before I went in. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. Sometimes when people tell you to like things you are like “whatever. You don’t know me.” I didn’t want to be disappointed. Well, it did not disappoint. When we saw her she was wearing this amazing striped suit. She looked gorgeous. Her voice is so delicate and beautiful. She reminds me of Allison Krauss and Joni Mitchell in a way. I’ve talked about “cooking music” before, it’s ideal for cooking music. You can sing along and just escape. The other thing about live music is that it’s a collective experience but you can get lost in your thoughts. For a while, I would cry, no matter what show I was at. Spoon. The Books. Ra Ra Riot. I don’t know why I got so emotional. Since I’ve moved to Columbus and gotten older if I go see shows they tend to be bigger and at bigger venues. The polar vortex had reared it’s ugly head last Tuesday and I was debating going because I was tired and overwhelmed. I was reading the New Yorker and they said: “Kacey Musgraves was not to be missed.” It was a sign. I’m so glad I went.
This time listening to her music I didn’t think about really sad things, I mostly thought about my son and how being a mother had changed me in so many ways I can’t even articulate. Her song Love is a Wild Thing reminded me of my son because he’s such a joy and a wild thing. One of his favorite books is “Where the Wild Things Are.” Here’s the lyric that really got me:
I mean I love that little boy something fierce. He’s also brought so much joy back into my family’s life. When I was pregnant with him a wise woman told me that we had lost some joy and we were going to get it back. He’s my wild thing who “is coming through the wilderness when the night bird sings.” He is just awesome. Also cue “Golden Hour” and “Rainbow.” How can you not think of your deepest loves when you hear the line:
“Velvet Elvis” cracked me up because the line “Knew it as soon as I felt it” was my life with my husband. I always knew when I really fell in love it would take about 8 seconds. I don’t really do anything moderately. We got engaged within a year of dating and we were talking marriage four months into the relationship. I love “Butterflies” because it’s so true when you really fall hard for someone. It’s also really scary. I mean my husband and I can disagree a lot but we do really love each other on a base level. Also, “Wonder Woman” is so being married. I also can relate to it being a working mom and I feel I am stretched so thin. “Happy and Sad” is so real too. I have this fear of everything going right mainly because of tragedies in my life. After my bridal shower on the drive home, I cried the whole time because I felt things were going too well. It was the end of an era of the four of us in my nuclear family. People don’t talk about the family aspects of marriage and losing your childhood. I can’t explain it. It’s just a deep feeling that you don’t hear people sing about it.
Oh What A World
I know people are talking about “Oh What a World” as being psychedelic. It’s just stunning but I love how Kacey just talked about the beauty in the world. I also love the bridge of “These are real things” because there are awful things in the world. However, there are so many beautiful real things too. Like physics, nature, animals, and deep love. Her songs are an escape but so earnest. It’s like a beautiful true thing. It’s like when you read a book that just sticks with you and haunts you in the best way. The highest compliment I can give a work of art that isn’t a book is that it’s like literature. I’m biased OK? This is album is like a beautiful book. I can’t say enough good things about it. I would recommend it to everyone I love and it’s an absolutely perfect album. I wish I could have listened to it when I was younger because I would have just escaped into it. I’ve been singing it to my son and he loves it when I sing. His new thing is to clap when I’m done singing. I was singing “Slow Burn” to him in the bath and he did the sign for “more.” I am tipping my tiara to Kacey and I think you should check her out.