Kacey Musgraves’ ’star-crossed’ Is More Than a Break-Up Album

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Photo: Adrienne Raquel

Kacey Musgraves has had a whirlwind career and life, all of which is reflected on her latest album, star-crossed. Directly inspired by her divorce from singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, is expectedly a noted departure from her previous work. According to Musgraves, her previous album, Golden Hour, was her "highlight reel" and star-crossed showcases the other side of her.

Opening the album with the titular "star-crossed," Musgraves sings a heartbreaking tale about two lovers who failed to make their relationship work despite the countless attempts to save it. With a melancholic guitar lead, this song sets the tone for what is to follow. 

The biggest standout track arrives in the form of "breadwinner." The beginning notes are pop-forward and make you bop along to the melody, but the lyrics are very cutthroat, almost anthemic. As one of the most candid tracks on the record, Musgraves takes this moment to address his future partner directly, voicing her personal experiences and hardships of sharing overlapping careers, from growing insecurities to competitive tendencies.

The song that directly follows "breadwinner" is "camera roll." This break-up song is one of the shortest tracks on the album, standing just over the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Unlike "breadwinner," it is more melancholic in nature, reminiscent of laying in bed, overthinking past relationships. The lone acoustic guitar supporting Kacey's pleas to herself not go through her camera roll and break her heart all over again make this a deeply personal yet painfully relatable listen.

The closing track, "gracias la vida," a cover originally written and recorded by Chilean artist Violeta Parra, may at first glance appear out of place, but upon repeated listens, it begins to connect. Its inclusion speak to the notion of how our inspirations continue to endure and inspire through heartbreak and what else may come.

star-crossed is more than a break-up album. It is about heartbreak and loneliness, growth and change, all told in a beautifully-written and recorded package.

Listen to star-crossed below:

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