Kacey Musgraves
Same Trailer Different Park


4.0
excellent

Review

by timbo8 USER (49 Reviews)
February 5th, 2018 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kacey Musgraves stands out in 2010s pop country, leveling honest critiques of Middle American life and rejecting the social conservatism and ill-advised genre-bending of many of her peers.

It's 2018 and it's never been harder to picture yourself in a country song. At a time when so many of the biggest stars in pop country pedal in hard partying escapism, vague romantic melodrama or grunting nationalism, the genre eschews complication, insecurity, and mundanity: the very things of everyday life for most of us. Mainstream country never feels like it's playing it straight with you.

It's for these reasons that Kacey Musgraves is so often described as refreshing, honest, real. In a sweet, silvery voice, she sings about human-scale failings, lifestyle tolerance, recreational pot, and the quiet desperations of small town American life.

Same Trailer Different Park is Musgraves' 2013 major label debut, and at the time of this writing, she's followed it up with the similarly excellent Pageant Material in 2015 and is slated to release Golden Hour early this year. Her output has made her a peculiar figure in 2010s country: cutting against the grains of both conservative country ethos as well as the genre-bending, market-tested hit machine that's still printing money in Nashville. Her music is a most graceful cutting of mainstream country's bull***.

Musically, Musgraves may not deliver groundbreaking ideas in mid-tempo pop country, but she resists the worst of modern country's instincts like electronic beats and contrived, booming choruses. In this way, her music sounds like refreshing revisits of pop country from the '70s to the '90s (better times for the genre). Where Musgraves truly shines is in her lyrics, which set her apart from her vapid peers on the radio.

Same Trailer Different Park propelled her to this status largely on the strength of two songs in particular: "Merry Go 'Round" and "Follow Your Arrow." "Merry Go 'Round" is a beautiful coming-to-terms about the traditions of life in Middle America that leave so many in cycles of failure and dreams delayed. "If you don't a have two kids by 21/You're probably gonna die alone/At least that's what tradition told you," she begins, laying out the small-town expectations that are inevitably dashed by our imperfections. When she sings "And just like dust we settle in this town," Musgraves is disarming in her gently delivered but blunt honesty. For so many country fans, this is them in a country song.

"Follow Your Arrow" jubilantly steps out of the shadows of heartland social conservatism into, well, the 21st Century. Musgraves again tackles societal expectations, except at a more universal level, to say that the pressures to drink less or more, be skinnier or fatter, or be religious or not are just not worth listening to. At the end of the day, you have to do you, or you won't be happy. Her not-so-veiled acceptance of homosexuality in the chorus ("Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls, if that's what you're into") shouldn't be groundbreaking in this day and age, but for country music, and for the closeted young kids of conservative America who are short on familiar allies, it is a powerful statement.

The warm-hearted "Silver Lining" is another highlight, as is "Blowin' Smoke," a swaggering track of trash-talking waitresses just scraping by. But love lost is central to most of the rest of Same Trailer Different Park (at the end of the day, this is still a country album after all). But even here, Musgraves' direct lines and un-cluttered delivery set her apart from the booming, vain heartbreak songs that typically crack American Country Countdown nowadays. "Keep It To Yourself" is a beautiful song on the racing midnight thoughts after a breakup, and closer "It Is What It Is" is a surrender to a long-distance one night stand, whatever it means the morning after.

Same Trailer Different Park and her more recent work have netted Musgraves a Grammy for Best Country Album in 2013 as well as several CMA awards, but that doesn't mean the equation is changing all that much for pop country that dominates the charts in 2018. Bro-country still holds the field, and some of the biggest hits in country only signify "country" because of a singer's exaggerated southern twang.

But Musgraves is among a select few pop country artists who seem to understand that the most powerful drama, humor, and inspiration often comes from everyday life, and that the truth is often stranger, and more beautiful, than fiction. Whether its honesty in portraying Middle American sentiments or reconnecting with a simple country music sound without muddying its waters with the misguided influences of other Top 40 trends, Musgraves keeps things simple and real. And that truly is refreshing.




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user ratings (155)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

wait this didn't have a review yet? it's a great album

gryndstone
March 16th 2018


1652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened to this after hearing Space Cowboy, cool girl

DivergentThinking
April 7th 2018


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fantastic record

DivergentThinking
April 7th 2018


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review too. pos

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

“Silver lining” is so gorgeous

theBoneyKing
April 10th 2018


19169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just came here to say that “Merry Go Round” is a perfect song in pretty much every way.

Digging: Mercury Rev - Yerself Is Steam

Get Low
April 21st 2018


7630 Comments


This is the best country album I've ever heard (I've only heard about five country albums). This is a lot better than Golden Hour.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

it's great ! still play this record 5 years later. loving "dandelion" lately

Get Low
April 21st 2018


7630 Comments


Not a single bad track on here. Plus it gets bonus points because dem legs on the cover.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

this is probably dumb but like what is she even wearing? why is it so short

Get Low
April 21st 2018


7630 Comments


I'm like 85% sure they are high-waisted shorts. Def not complaining about the length, lol.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

ah hahaha yeah you like can't see they're shorts so it looks like...scandalous. nice

Get Low
April 21st 2018


7630 Comments


ikr, all the more reason to love this album

Funeralopolis
April 21st 2018


14402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good album

DoofusWainwright
April 21st 2018


19991 Comments


Same Trailer Different Pa...nties?

Get Low
May 15th 2018


7630 Comments


If you save yourself for marriage you're a bore
If you don't save yourself for marriage you're a whore

Get Low
August 23rd 2018


7630 Comments


-ible person

Get Low
December 6th 2018


7630 Comments


AOTY 2013

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2018


18758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I think I put it #5, and 2013 was the year where I listened to like 100 albums

theBoneyKing
December 6th 2018


19169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This would be top 15-20 for 2013 but that was also the best year of the decade.



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