Photo Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves is a country pop album released back in 2018 with a very interesting character to it. Calling the album Golden Hour is an understatement to the aura that it projects onto the listener. This album features strings, multiple vocal synths and tons of reverb. To keep the country element, there are stereo-channeled banjos and acoustic guitar.
The combination of the modern pop elements and the country vibes are paired decently well together but can be disjointing at times. The track “Space Cowboy” goes through several different genre characteristic timbres and it proves to be fairly distracting. While her melody was pretty and flowing, this track’s backing makes it hard to focus on only the melody.
The third track, “Butterflies”, is a simple tune with more of some minimalist instrumentation. This sound is where the album definitely excels rather than the thicker harmony and more crowded instrumentation. Sometimes, busier isn’t always better and this album speaks volumes of that statement. The melody is catchy on this track and the light vocal synth is tasteful. The lyrical content is a bit generic about having that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling from falling in love with someone. It’s not a crazy original idea and follows a lot of tropes that have been done to death while translating the topic of being in love through music.
One of the deeper songs on the album is actually an interlude. Track 5 is entitled, “Mother” and speaks about how Musgraves misses her mother due to living so far away. This idea is pretty relatable and well executed in the lyrical department and melodically. This track does a fantastic job of successfully connecting emotionally to the listener.
Another stand out track is the title track, “Golden Hour”. This tune is also pretty minimalist in regards to instruments, which is nice. The melody is catchy and there is a lot of imagery in the vocal and lyrical content. The reverb and stereo elements to the track add to the visualization of a golden sky during the hour or so before a sunset. The descending intervals in the chords during the bridge make a good separation from the chorus and verse cycle. This song was enjoyable to listen to and is absolutely a worthy title track.
All in all, for the most part, this album is consistently enjoyable and every track fits the overall vibe. Don’t let the label of country on this country pop album scare you into not giving Golden Hour a listen. This album is very easy to wrap your ear around and get a feel for the genre if you give it a chance. That being said, diehard country fans may not enjoy this project as much because of the fact that it breaks away from many of the formalities of the genre for a more “pop centric” sound. Whatever the case may be, Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves is a worthy addition to any low-key vibes playlist on anyone’s Spotify or Apple Music account.