Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Woke up on the Wrong Side of Rock Bottom

Same Trailer Different Park - Kacey Musgraves

Noel Gallagher, who wrote all the songs for Oasis, once said the first line of every song is the most important and what he spent the most time working on. By that philosophy, the fist line in the first song off your first album must be the most important in a singer’s career (maybe not so much for Gallagher who started with “I live my life in the city, there’s no easy way out”). Kacey Musgraves came up a line to start off her major label debut album Same Trailer Different Park that really sets the tone for the next forty minutes when she sings on the opening track Silver Lining, “Woke up on the wrong side of rock bottom.” Do you even need to ask after that if this is a country album?

The next couple songs start out with a couple dozies of their own: “Who needs a house up on a hill when you can have one on four wheels?” (My House) and “If you ain’t got two kids by 21 you’re probably gonna die alone.” (Merry Go Round) But she does not stop with writing a good first line, Merry Go Round can be taken as either a biting commentary about small time life or a lament of it depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you live with a chorus that goes, “Momma’s hooked on Mary Kay, bother’s hooked on Mary Jane” and if you guessed that “daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down” get yourself a cookie.

But the best written song on the album is Follow Your Arrow which also starts off with a very memorable opening line, “If you save yourself from marriage you’re a bore, if you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a (w)horrible person.” The be who you are anthem (“kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls if that is something you’re in to”) is much catchier and a lot less annoyingly pretentious than the annoying pop songs with the same message of recent years by Lady Gaga or Ke$ha.

Musically, Musgraves comes across like a early female Ryan Adams with more traditional country influences and a much better sense of humor than someone who would stop a concert cold because someone request he play Summer of 69. But where Adams excelled at what he would call “sad bastard” songs (It Is What It Is is the best of these songs on Same Trailer Different Park), Kacey is much more adept at barn burners like on Stupid and Blowin’ Smoke both which could be one of the better songs if they found their way into Miranda Lambert’s catalogue (Musgraves wrote Lambert’s current hit Mama's Broken Heart).

Though Same Trailer Different Park sticks mostly to traditional country, the sleepy Back of the Map is one of the few times Kacey goes for the adult contemporary track that many pop-country acts shoot for these days, and turns out to be one of the best songs on the album. When it comes down to it, Same Trailer Different Park may be the best country album I have listened to since the last American album Johnny Cash released when he was alive.

Song to Download – Stupid

Same Trailer Different Park gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

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