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Kacey Musgraves examines her divorce, heartbreak on ‘Star-Crossed’

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 16, 2021

By Sophia McFarland The Spokesman Review

For what felt like the first time in a year of subpar music releases, Kacey Musgraves’ “Star-Crossed” exceeded expectations and provided an emotional recollection of her divorce.

The world was longing for a heartbreak record, so when Lorde and Billie Eilish’s albums didn’t elicit tears the way their previous work did, the eyes of pop culture turned to award-winning country singer-songwriter Musgraves.

Musgraves is one of few artists who appeals to an audience with diverse music tastes. Although she is at her core a country artist, her 2018 album “Golden Hour” solidified her spot as a performer for the people.

When gossip outlets leaked that Musgraves was filing for divorce from singer Ruston Kelly, her husband of three years, fans reacted with bittersweet sentiments. They were saddened by the news, but, “Wow, her album is going to be so good,” was echoed on Twitter.

And fortunately, or unfortunately if you don’t want to be reminded of a difficult breakup, “Star-Crossed” does exactly that.

The album’s opening title track, “Star-Crossed,” was not only written during Musgraves’ guided psychedelic (LSD) trip, but is a heart-wrenching description of the realization that her marriage lost its original love.

Musgraves repeats, “Don’t tell me it feels like love when it’s not / We’re not star-crossed lovers.”

And though Musgraves spends plenty of time reflecting on the difficulties in moving on from a marriage, “Good Wife” feels like her last attempt to salvage the relationship.

In the ballad, she asks God to make her an understanding partner because “he needs me.” This song pulls the heartstrings of all who’ve struggled in providing everything that their significant other needs. Musgraves’ smooth tone and harmonies make the song a top-tier track.

While the majority of the album is an emotional rendition of her divorce, “Justified” is an anthem that all can sympathize with – it’s written as if she’s speaking to Kelly. She sings that she tried to make her relationship work, but, at some point, she had every right to move on.

“Justified” tackles a common stereotype surrounding women. Whether or not she intended the deeper implication, Musgraves’ song corresponds with the double standard that follows the relationships of men and women.

Taylor Swift discussed the concept of men being praised for their relationships and multiple exes, while women, especially in the music industry, are shamed and looked down upon for the same.

Musgraves sings, “More time to deal with the fact that you should have treated me right then I’m more than just a little justified.”

My favorite song on the album is “Simple Times” purely because of the nostalgia it evokes. It reminds listeners to take time to let go of superficial stress and remind themselves of a time they were truly happy. She emphasizes the significance of stepping away to avoid “going insane.”

Musgraves has gifted country and noncountry listeners with a refreshing album that reflects upon life, love and moving on.

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