Kacey Musgraves – “Butterflies” & “Space Cowboy”

Cult-favorite pop-country star and late-breaking Vampire Weekend inspiration Kacey Musgraves teased her third album Golden Hour late last year, and we named it one of our most anticipated releases of 2018. Today Musgraves has officially announced the project — her first since 2015’s Pageant Material, not counting 2016’s A Very Kacey Christmas — and shared two of its songs.

The new tracks find Musgraves leaning hard into the pop side of that pop-country descriptor without abandoning the sonic details that root her in the lineage of Americana. They’re certainly less distinctly country than “Biscuits,” the overtly boot-scootin’ lead single from Pageant Material.

“Space Cowboy” is a gorgeous, mildly twangy ballad that sounds like a dream. Its mastery of melody and wordplay (“You can have your space, cowboy”) remind me of Taylor Swift when she, too, was riding the borderline between Nashville and the mainstream, though Musgraves’ own bright, beaming voice hits with a gentle poise all her own.

She snaps back from mirage-like reverie to crisp clarity for “Butterflies,” a tune that trades the melancholia of “Space Cowboy” for lovestruck giddiness. Despite the differences in mood and production, the two songs feel very much of a piece — beautiful exercises in craftsmanship, complex in construction yet soft and lightweight in feel. They very much capture the essence of the album title Golden Hour. See what you think below.

TRACKLIST:
01 “Slow Burn”
02 “Lonely Weekend”
03 “Butterflies”
04 “Oh, What A World”
05 “Mother”
06 “Love Is A Wild Thing”
07 “Space Cowboy”
08 “Happy & Sad”
09 “Velvet Elvis”
10 “Wonder Woman”
11 “High Horse”
12 “Golden Hour”
13 “Rainbow”

Golden Hour is out 3/30 on MCA Nashville. Pre-order it here.