Album Review: Same Trailer Different Park by Kacey Musgraves
Exceptionally Good, Based on 8 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
"Merry Go 'Round," the spectacular gut-punch single from 24-year-old Texan country singer Kacey Musgraves, dropped out of the clear blue sky in September. Same Trailer Different Park proves Musgraves is for real. Although she sings just fine, she doesn't have a powerful voice; like all Nashville bands, hers can play, but the music is careful, meticulous, midtempo.
Female country stars are such a rarity these days that some people may be inclined to compare Kacey Musgraves, one of the most dynamic new voices to come along in years, to her few contemporaries, like Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. The truth is, the 24-year-old doesn’t need their reflected shine; she’s already penned songs for ABC’s Nashville and co-written Lambert’s current single, ”Mama’s Broken Heart” — and she garnered her own top 10 hit with ”Merry Go ‘Round,” a gothic lament-slash-ode to small-town America. On her confident, melodic major-label debut, Musgraves’ vocals are pleasingly agile, but what Same Trailer Different Park continually showcases is her writing prowess.
Kacey Musgraves, 23, sings unvarnished truths about being hooked on “Mary Kay, Mary Jane and Mary down the block,” but she’s maintained the sunniness that is the right of the young. Even surveying the stationary “Merry Go Round,” she shines. It’s a real world the pragmatic singer/songwriter lives in. “It Is What It Is” is a “making do with what you know ‘til you find something better” love song for a post-modern kid-of-divorce kinda reality.
Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer, Different Park(Mercury Nashville)4.5 out of 5 Stars It takes only a glance at the title of Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer, Different Park to get a sense of the depressed misfortune and relentless boredom that commands and often dictates the 24 year-old Texas singer’s debut album. That sense of being trapped, of feeling stuck with a relationship, home, or job that refuse to live up to their promise, is best conveyed in “Merry Go Round,” Musgraves’ debut single released last fall that served as a warning call, a way for Nashville to tell the rest of the country about its brightest new star. Musgraves’ middle-American melancholy avoids big-picture moralizing and small-town stereotyping .
I’ve always loved Lurleen Lumpkin’s country music, so I was happily surprised to hear her voice come out of my speakers with a whole new batch of mobile home songs. What, you say that’s not Lurleen; that it’s some gal named Kacey whose main claim to fame was coming in number seven on television’s Nashville Star? Oh well, same trailer, different park. Actually, it literally is the album entitled Same Trailer Different Park.
Twenty-four-year-old Texan Kacey Musgraves has been hailed as part of a new wave of forthright female country singers; not since the emergence of Taylor Swift has there been as much buzz in the genre about a young artist's crossover potential. Like Swift, Musgraves is a gifted songwriter – though her route to the mainstream is likely to come via audiences other than teenpop. She sings with an affectless detachment reminiscent of, say, Aimee Mann, and uses it to cut sharply through the lies people tell themselves: "We get bored, so we get married/ Just like dust, we settle in this town," she sighs on Merry Go 'Round.
Kacey Musgraves could easily be contemporary country's next big thing. She's a sharp, detailed songwriter with a little bit of an edge, and while it's tempting to think of her as another coming of Taylor Swift, say, she's got the kind of relaxed sureness about what she's doing as a songwriter and performer that puts her closer to a Miranda Lambert. On her first nationally distributed album, Same Trailer Different Park, she definitely sounds more on the Lambert side of things, with a sparse, airy sound that lets her lyrics shine, and she'd as soon use a banjo in her arrangements as a snarling Stratocaster.
Country music fearmongers in the mid-2000s had their choice of invading bêtes noires. From one direction Taylor Swift arrived, a pop-friendly ingénue with sparkling songs and a killer instinct. From another, Miranda Lambert was stomping in, full of vitriol and skepticism, an alpha answering to no ….