By emily Croft, Staff Writer
Kacey Musgraves gifted the public her jaw-dropping album Star-Crossed, consisting of 15 songs that follow the emotions with which Musgraves grappled in her recent divorce from singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly.
The album, dropped on Sept. 10, is 47 minutes and 32 seconds of sheer heartbreak. It begins with the title track, “Star-Crossed,” which had been released before the album as a single.
The harmony and lyrics invite the listener to join Musgraves on a journey as she casts light upon the realities of divorce. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Musgraves performed this song and lit the stage on fire — literally. A heart outline was set on fire behind her as she sang the opening song.
The first part of the album discusses the pressures Musgraves felt within her marriage, including the role of being a good wife or a breadwinner. In her song “Simple Times,” Musgraves escapes from these pressures and dwells dreamily on a time when her only care in the world was going to the mall with her friends.
The song offers a sense of nostalgia while displaying her need to escape from the box she was put in during her marriage.
The album then transitions into the mourning that comes with loss.
Perhaps the most emotion-evoking song of the album is “Camera Roll.” This song makes you want to throw away your entire phone or delete every photo you have with any ex-significant other. Musgraves untangles her conflicting emotions of wanting to delete photos that only reveal the happiness of an old relationship. In the end, though, it is too soon to press the trash can icon sitting in the corner of the screen.
Musgraves polishes off the album with a positive outlook on the future. The final songs send the message that she has overcome this calamity and is ready to focus on the good in what she has now. “What Doesn’t Kill Me” embodies the idea of overcoming these hardships.
She is back and better than ever, even though she has reached one of the lowest points she has ever experienced in her life. A true girl boss moment, if you will.
The album as a whole is an extreme contrast to her previous album, Golden Hour, which illuminates the happiest parts of a marriage and her initial falling for Kelly.
Musgraves said in an interview with ELLE Magazine, “Golden Hour was, in a lot of senses, escapism. It was fantasy. It was rose-colored glasses.” Star-Crossed, on the other hand, “is realism.”
The album is accompanied by a film that assists the songs in telling the story of falling out of love with your partner. Director Bardia Zeinali worked with Musgraves to produce a film that properly paralleled the album, with the film streaming on Paramount+.
Watching the film and listening to the album over the last few days has made me feel like I went through an entire divorce by the age of 19.
Musgraves has truly outdone herself with this album. Her songwriting and harmony have the ability to invoke emotions in every listener, no matter where they are in terms of their love-life cycle.