Album: Same Trailer Different Park
Artist: Kacey Musgraves
Details: 12 songs; 41 minutes
Who’s Choice: Deliberate Obfuscation
I find myself all over the place with this album. At different listens, I think, “man, I really like that song,” and the very next time I listen to it, I put the same song in the “eh, not so much” column. I picked this album because it got a lot of NPR music love. During this listening week, I’ve avoided reading too much about Kacey. I knew she was on some country American Idol-type show where she did well. I also know that she plays guitar, banjo and harmonica on this album. Points for that, girl!
It is funny that Dan and I shared some of the same prejudices about this album. He, however, comes at it from a slightly different perspective. I think in the end, we both come to the same place. Here is what he says about it.
So what is my problem? This is not a revelation by any means, but I believe that men have an easier time of it in music. I think that lots of women singers get pigeon-holed as a “pretty voice.” Certainly, having a pretty voice is not a bad thing. It can, however, reduce the artist’s chances that the consumer will stay beyond a superficial listen. I am guilty of that. For me, when a country sound is added to that pretty voice, I am even a less likely to stick around and listen more. Kacey Musgraves has a very pretty voice and she definitely has a country sound. As a whole, however, I like this album, and I am glad I took time with it.
Coming off of last week’s Jay-Z, this choice had the benefit of easily understood lyrics. Nicely, as well, the whole album has a theme of acceptance of different lifestyle choices which seems a little outside the country genre. Kasey sings story songs and she spins them with clever and memorable phrasing. Just the name of the album gives you the sense of what she does. She tells stories of small town life, and for me, it is recognizable. That was my life for many of my formative years. That line in Merry Go Round – “just like dust we settle in this town” – kills me. As a personal aside, her vocal range is similar to mine. This means that after having listened to this many times during the week, I can sing along to some of this. Should there be a karaoke in my future, I think I could give “Follow Your Arrow” some justice.
I doubt that all of the experiences that she sings about are her experiences, and that is okay. I think she gets the tone mostly right. My favorite songs are two that seem personal and make me think they are actually her story. Kacey says her grandma calls It Is What It Is (video included) her slut song. It talks about hooking up again – maybe out of love – maybe out of boredom. Miss You describes seemingly having it all but missing the one who no longer is there. These are really good songs.
There are lots of “that reminds me of …” songs on this album. The spirit of Follow Your Arrow reminds me of Kelly Clarkson. The song Blowin Smoke is all Dolly Parton…Working Girl … 9-5 … complete with clanging diner dish noises. Some songs remind me of Shawn Colvin. I don’t really know Taylor Swift well, but there a couple times that I think that things probably sound Swifty.
I am glad I got a week to get to know Kacey Musgraves, and it has gotten me thinking about my own music prejudices. I am sure I will be working on them some more during this year that Dan and I listen together.Click here to see Dan’s opinion of this week’s listen.
Next up: Gone Mild’s Pick: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue