Music Review: Kacey Musgraves’s “Same Trailer Different Park”

Same Trailer Different Park, the major label debut by singer and songwriter Kacey Musgraves, is everything you could ever want or expect from a country album in 2013. It is impeccably produced by veterans Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, masterfully written and sung by Musgraves herself, and clocks in with a lean twelve tracks. Yet its impeccable sheen does not detract from its homegrown charm; nowhere on this album does Musgraves’s voice disappear into a haze of overproduction. For an example, check “Silver Lining,” this excellent album’s opening track. The song is lush and gorgeous but never overbearing, and the lyrics of this album’s always-charismatic frontwoman shine through: “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining / It’s gotta be a cloudy day / If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning / You’re gonna have to stand in the rain.” kacey-musgraves-same-trailer-different-park-countrymusicrocks-net-1363034665

That essentially goes for the rest of the album, which never really lets up in quality. First single “Merry Go ‘Round” is especially striking, another heavily- but not over-produced track that finds Kacey–who, if it may be noted, looks a lot like Rashida Jones–singing lines like “If you ain’t got two kids by 21 / You’re probably gonna die alone,” all to a deceptively sweet musical backdrop. This dichotomy between sweet and sour also informs the delectable “Blowin’ Smoke,” a song made effective by how knowingly silly it is. Compare this with, say, Ashley Monroe’s Like a Rose, another major label debut released this year but one infinitely less self-aware and thus less easily enjoyable. Of course, self-consciousness is not typically the key to a great country album. But with fresh and intelligent songs like “Step Off” and especially closer “It Is What It Is,” Kacey proves that we might have set our standards too low for a genre often pigeonholed into brainless drinking songs.

Even the simpler, more modest moments on this album work perfectly, establishing a fine foil for the more substantial tracks. “My House” in particular comes to mind, its melody and instrumentation simple but effective in their evocation of a specific feeling. That feeling is, of course, one of being home: “Water and electric and a place to drain the septic / Any KOA is A-OK as long as I’m with you.” That track leads into “Merry Go ‘Round,” and then we’re off again, Kacey never quite letting up with her songwriting or her smarts. This is one of the more masterful country albums to come out this decade–and it’ll only cost you 40 minutes.

–Alex Robertson, Editor-in-Chief

Posted by on April 4, 2013. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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