The 2019 GRAMMY Award ceremony that went down this past weekend is still on the minds of many, mainly due to the Recording Academy righting their wrongs from last year’s near shut-out of acknowledging women with awards.
This year was a complete contrast, with female musicians pretty much dominating in a handful of the main categories — “Best R&B Album,” “Best New Artist,” “Best R&B Song,” “Best Pop Vocal Album” and “Best Rap Album” were awarded to H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Ariana Grande and Cardi B, respectively. Other categories saw the same trend, including “Best Gospel Album” (Tori Kelly, Hiding Place), “Best Jazz Vocal Album” (Cécile McLorin Salvant, The Window), “Best Latin Pop Album” (Claudia Brant, Sincera) and even “Best Americana Album” (Brandi Carlile, By The Way, I Forgive You ). However, the real shining star of the night ended up being country music sensation Kacey Musgraves, winner of “Best Country Album” and the highly-coveted “Album of the Year” amongst other awards she was nominated for.
While it would be the easy route for us as a leading Hip-Hop publication to lament about why Kendrick Lamar rightfully deserved the win for rapping on, arranging and executive producing the Black Panther soundtrack overall, or even why it should’ve went to a woman of color since H.E.R. and Cardi were nominated as well, the truth is that Kacey really did craft up one outstanding album and rightfully deserved the recognition.
As a special HERSource shoutout to the southern belle with the golden pipes, here’s a track-by-track breakdown of why Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour got everything it deserved at the 61st GRAMMY Awards:
The album opener really sets up the sound of the album overall — light, easy listening and rooted in southern charm. Kacey’s vocals are light as a feather on the background, but she can definitely add conviction to the song when it calls for it. Anyone who appreciates a slow-paced lifestyle will love this song.
Whether you’re happily single or need a tune to belt our your lonesome woes to, this album cut is sure to get you in your feelings. The MCA Nashville songstress sings this tune with all the experience that her 30 years on this Earth have provided, going from crooning about a barely-there lover on the first verse to experiencing serious FOMO by verse two with a transitional ease. Definitely one of the most chill tracks on the whole LP.
The song that won her “Best Country Solo Performance” this year as well, “Butterflies” is the quintessential country tune about being caught up in the strings of love with metamorphosis references heard throughout (“I was hiding in doubt ’til you brought me out of my chrysalis / And I came out new all because of you”) to bring the title of the song full-circle.
“Oh, What a World”
It’s the song that inspired her current “world” tour of the same name — for obvious reasons, of course — but in itself track 4 makes for a relatable four-minute audio experience that reflects how we all feel about the sometimes unbelievable occurrences of the planet we live on. It’s an all-around song about loving and celebrating life, which we’re sure she’s reveling in right about now.
Clocking in at barely over a minute, and backed simply by the sound of a piano, “Mother” is one of the core moments on the album where you really get to see Kacey’s personal touches included in the mix. Although the song is a dedication to her own matriarch in specific, Texas-based artist Karen Musgraves, the sincerity in her vocals can be applied to anyone who just misses good ol’ mama.
“Love Is a Wild Thing”
Another song that plays to the roots of country music, “Love Is a Wild Thing” uses all the references in the thesaurus to depict the notion that no one is impervious to love, even if you “try to hide it” as she calmly laments from the beginning.
Winner of “Best Country Song” — she ended up winning four trophies in total at the awards ceremony — this song isn’t as lighthearted or optimistic as the bulk of the album, but it does hit to the melancholy symphonies that’ve become a staple in the genre of country music. The guitar riffs in the background spell out the grief in perfect totality.
“Happy & Sad”
Ever felt both on the top of the world, but also nervous AF about whether the feeling will ultimately last? Here you go — the perfect song to describe those up & down emo vibes.
Every album has a bit of a low point, or at the very least a song that isn’t as strong as the others in the set. “Velvet Elvis” is that for Golden Hour, but it isn’t bad enough to completely stop listening or even skip. It’s just — well, if you’ve heard one love song to Elvis Presley throughout the years, it’s a good chance you’ve pretty much heard ’em all.
Sometimes being a strong woman includes admitting that you aren’t exactly perfect, which Kacey finds a way to describe on this song with an understanding that comes off very relatable for the listener. We’re sure Gal Gadot would agree, too.
The most danceable track on the entire album, “High Horse” is Kacey’s attempt at catching crossover appeal that rides the wave between dance-pop, country and funk for sure. Disco diva, ftw!
It’s pretty well-known that the title track has to embody something special. It doesn’t always have to be the best song on the album, but it at the very least has to be the premiere deep cut on the entire project. With “Golden Hour,” Kacey accomplishes that with ease, making a track that’s equal doses of best-beach-day-ever and perfect car music when taking the scenic route.
Released just a day before her big night at the GRAMMYs, the video for “Rainbow” and the song itself is a perfect reflection of why Golden Hour is so revered: the Texas-bred songstress finds an emotional lane to tackle that literally anyone can relate to because, well, we all go through rough patches in life. Overall, it’s songs like “Rainbow” that remind us that life will always shine a light towards better days, where even a sweet-voiced girl from a town of less than 200 can drop the most celebrated album of the year.
Stream Golden Hour, the 2019 GRAMMY Award-winning Album of the Year by Kacey Musgraves, right now on all streaming platforms, and find her on tour by visiting her official website.