I never thought I’d be featuring country music on this site but when you are fan of good music, sticking to genres becomes boring and irrelevant. Kacey Musgraves is the artist that has made me waive my no country preference and when you hear your music you’ll understand why. Known for her conversational way of crafting a song, Musgraves music feels so authentic. Instead of embracing the genre’s trend of adding edm sounding beats to songs about beer, tractors and beautiful women, Kacey opts to tell stories and share her views on the world in her songs. Hearing Musgrave’s southern voice remix Miguel’s sensual “Waves” is something you don’t know you need in your life until you hear it but that chill crooner made me want to take a listen to the country star’s latest album Pageant Material.
The album starts on “High Time”, an upbeat opening number that has Musgraves wanting to return to the simple good ol’ days of her roots. The nostalgia in Musgraves voice resonates with you and she comes out the gate with honest lyrics, “Been missing my roots / I’m getting rid of the flash / Nobody needs a thousand-dollar suit just to take out the trash.” The next set of songs have become favorites that I return to when I’m not giving the album a full listen. “Dimestore Cowgirl” is about reflecting on the past and embracing who you really are. “Late To The Party” makes me imagine how I’d feel if I had special someone on those nights I want to turn up. Going out is fun but sharing that experience is even better and Musgraves demonstrates that sometimes you only need two people to have a good time.
The title track has some of my favorite lines on the album as Musgraves lets you know you won’t catch her on a lit stage wearing a swimsuit and asking questions about world peace anytime soon. I mean the chorus alone is gold, “l ain’t pageant material / I’m always higher than my hair / and it ain’t that I don’t care about world peace / but I don’t see how I can fix fix it in a swimsuit on a stage.” Or the last part where she says “I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t,” ponder those lines the next time you’re watching another beauty pageant sponsored by our potential president Trump (God helps us).
Pageant Material rolls along with truth about small town living in “This Town”. You can’t have an honest southern record without politely telling off critics that like to get in your business and “Biscuits” definitely does the trick. Even though most of the songs are slow burners, the album manages to move nicely as you zero in on some of Musgraves accurate notes of southern living and the people who inhabit those sunny states. “Somebody To Love” and “Miserable” are solid but don’t strike as hard as the first half of the album does.
“Die Fun” brings my interest back up as Musgraves reminds us that life is fleeting, so truly experience everything it has to offer, “We can’t do it over / They say it’s now or never and all we’re ever gettin’ is older / Before we get to heaven, baby let’s give ’em hell / We might as well / Cause we don’t know when we’re done / So let’s love hard, live fast, die fun.” “Family Is Family” is pleasant, reminding us to love our families no matter how dysfunctional or horrible they can be.
As Pageant Material comes to an end with “Good Ol’ Boys Club” and “Cup of Tea” I can’t be place these songs at the filler category but Kacey finishes up strong with the melancholy feel of “Fine”. There’s is also a hidden bonus track called “Are You Sure” featuring a deut with Willie Nelson. The song sounds nice and if you’re a fan of Willie it probably resonates with you more but I wouldn’t come back to this song beyond playing the album.
Kacey Musgraves gained a lot of fans with this album and you can definitely include me to the list. Even though you will catch very little country in my music library, the quality I always appreciated about the genre is it’s authenticity. Real feelings being sung over real instruments and while you hear a lot of country songs that sound like they could easily belong on the Top 40 charts, I admire the artists that can incorporate old school country elements with modern themes to keep the genre fresh. After listening to Pageant Material I have Kacey Musgraves debut album Same Trailer Different Park and it was also a solid listen, I’d recommend if you are a fan of country artists or appreciate great story telling. Now that I’m on board the Musgraves train it’ll be nice to hear how she evolves with the third album but I predict more blunt lyrics, infectious production and beautiful songs from the Texas entertainer.
Score: 5/5 Biscuits
Must Hear Tracks: “Pageant Material”, “Biscuits”, “Fine”, “Late To The Party” “Dimestore Cowgirl”
What do you think of Kacey Musgrave’s sophomore album Pageant Material? Let me know in the comments!
Buy Pageant Material on iTunes: HERE