Album: Same Trailer, Different Park-Kacey Musgraves (Mercury)

The woman tells the truth. That’s the mark of a truly gifted. When one can tell the truth AND find a way to put a hook in it, it’s a thing of beauty. Kacey does it many times on her exceptionally wonderful first album. She is the voice of Young Woman, a woman about ten or a dozen years older (and wiser) than today’s Taylor Swift fans. She’s a woman grown who’s now has experience with life’s vagaries and is grudgingly coming to terms with it all. There’s a whole society in her songs. Everybody who gets her album is going to find two, maybe even four more on it that they really, really like. The songs here are thoughts and observations on realities of our time. Taken as a whole, they present a movie about the lives of the declining middle class. Kacey’s heroines are tough and vulnerable and energetic and dejected and cautiously optimistic, as in Follow Your Arrow. The Arrow would be the perfect follow-up single to Smoke. Here’s my thinking: Smoke is gallows humor. Arrow comes back the next morning with a self-reliant optimistic view. Silver Linings is first track on the album and before I’d heard the rest, I was pretty sure it’d be the next single. While it’s not about the same things as the hugely popular movie, the synchronicity of this song being on the radio right about now would be a fine thing. This album is an event.