Kacey Musgraves ‘Pageant Material’ Album Review Roundup

June 21, 2015

Kacey Musgraves’ new album is ‘Pageant Material.’ Music critics have weighed in on the Grammy-winning country music artist’s new album. Expectations were running high after her breakthrough success with ‘Same Trailer Different Park,’ a stunning debut. Did she measure up to critics’ expectations? Check out a roundup of what they have to say.

Kacey Musgraves

Yes, Same Trailer Different Park, put Kacey Musgraves on the map and gave her an identity as an artist far removed from the ‘Nashville Star’ TV talent show that first brought her some recognition even though she did not win.

With the breakthrough major-label debut album, released on Mercury Nashville in 2013, she became a hot new country music artist, and deservedly so. It was refreshing both for fans and for critics to witness the emergence of a genuinely distinct and original country music vision, not one hatched in the studio by a full production team and then steamrolled onto the public consciousness with a massive marketing machine.

No Musgraves wrote all of the songs, some of which had some edgy subject matter and lyrics — notably “Merry Go ’Round,” (a denouncement of small-town life) and “Follow Your Arrow” (which did not shy away from celebrating LGBT rights and recreational weed), and were critically acclaimed all the more.

No, this was an artist with a vision and amply rewarded with album sales and two Grammy Awards including the much-coveted Best Country Album. And of course that sets up high expectations for the sophomore effort which already can be daunting even for an artist with only middling success.

For her part, Musgraves told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview, ““I would like to be known for my songwriting and be able to maintain some sort of relevancy and create what I want to create…But I don’t need to be in everybody’s face.”

So yes, expectations run high. We know that to be the case when The New York Times dubs her a “reluctant agitator” in our current country music climate in which female artists are still seen as having to prove themselves. Not so much unlike other facets of the entertainment industry, of course.

So now it’s time to see what do the critics have to say of Kacey Musgraves this time around with her sophomore effort? Here’s a roundup.

“….To prove her fealty to Nashville, she mentions Willie Nelson, the rodeo, “my hometown” — it’s just a pickup truck shy of being bro country. For anyone who loved her for being ­disruptive, it feels like her first ­dishonest step, an apology to the industry she had blown raspberries at. But everywhere else, this is an even better album than her last, with more consistency and variety….” — Billboard

“….Pageant Material adheres to the same winning formula of Same Trailer — almost too closely. Taken individually, the album’s 13 tracks serve as a master class on how to write a charmingly unique country song using smart metaphors that a fifth grader can grasp and that can make an octogenarian ache with recognition. Together, Musgraves and her dream team of co-writers (Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Luke Laird) draw from the well of folksy tales about letting your freak flag fly one too many times…..” — Consequence of Sound

“…. The ballads “Die Fun” and “Fine” rank as among Musgraves’ finest tunes to date, while “Biscuits,” the album’s centerpiece, is a particular highlight, in which she publicly shames nosy neighbors with a big, rousing chorus that goes, “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy.”…” — San Francisco Chronicle

“….There’s a cheerful rejection here of the male country establishment, a breezy tribute to family that blends exasperation and affection, and even her forays into the classic second album themes of fame and dislocation are delivered with a self-deprecating charm…..” — The Guardian

“….What “Pageant Material” has over her breakthrough “Same Trailer Different Park” album is its slightly wider variety of styles and slightly more direct lyrics. …” — Newsday

It’s just the beginning of what will surely be much buzz and discussion as the new album makes its official arrival, and becomes the second chapter in the unfolding story of a major country music artist in our midst. Meanwhile we can watch the quirky ‘Biscuits music video (below) which quickly went viral as we await the arrival of Kacey Musgraves ‘Pageant Material’ album!

Pictures: PR Photos

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