By Amy Hanna, Production/Radio Promo Coordinator
Happy Monday, 6/8 Music followers, and welcome back to Mood Ring Music! To those who are new here, or those who need a refresher, Mood Ring Music is 6/8 Music’s weekly new music feature wherein I, Amy Hanna, local synesthete, select some of the best new songs from the past week and assign them a color and a mood, based on my color perceptions of the song upon first listen. Mood Ring Music is a place to lift up artists of all backgrounds and creeds — and many of them, at that. But this week, we’re doing things a little differently.
So much of this feature rests upon my own senses and feelings (like I said earlier, I see colors when I listen to music. It’s cool and I like it). I listen to a lot of music. I love a lot of music. I’m not a huge fan of constraining myself with genres or other limiting descriptors, which means my tastes are pretty vast, thus my recommendations span across the board. And I like that! I like for my recommendations to be wide-spanning and a little all over the place.
However, this week, one new album bewitched me, mind and soul and spirit. I have not been able to listen to anything other than this album from Thursday night to just this moment. Already, countless hours of my free time, and hours spent with my friends and loved ones, have been soundtracked by this album. I feel like it’s in my DNA now, or something. This was an amazing week for new releases; however, I cannot imagine writing about, or heartily recommending, anything beyond the songs from this album. So instead of the usual Mood Ring Music format, I will be selecting four of my very favorite songs from this album, talking about why I love them so much, and, as always, telling you their colors.
So without further adieu…
Colors of Golden Hour: A Synesthete’s Thoughts on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour
(I figured a fun title would be appropriate.)
“Slow Burn” opens Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, and acts as a manifesto of sorts for the album, and for Kacey herself. The song beautifully captures small autobiographical snapshots (“Grandma cried when I pierced my nose” is my favorite of them, for sure). Minimalism is the name of the game here: just acoustic guitar, banjo, a bit of light percussion, those trademark sweet vocals, and the truth. Kacey’s voice scratches and soars over syrupy slow sonics and it’s so apt, it’s so perfect that a song called “Slow Burn” would pass through the ears and into the soul like a glass of red wine. This song, more than just delightful experience, just a glass of red wine, is a lesson that stands the test of time. Something I’ve noticed listening to country music from women ever since I was young, is that women in country always have something valuable to teach us. I learned so much from Dolly, Reba, and Shania growing up, and with “Slow Burn” from Kacey Musgraves, I feel like I received a brand new lesson: it’s best to go slow.
Kacey Musgraves’ “Slow Burn” is wine red for honest.
“High Horse” is perhaps the highest energy song from Kacey Musgraves’ new album, which is kind of a chuckle in and of itself because it’s not a particularly frenetic song in any way. Still, the song stacks up with just how fresh and infectious it is. I can say with all honesty that I’ve never heard a country song quite like this one. The song is drenched in style, pulsing with a four-to-the-floor beat and lending itself to a little bit of grandeur with the old-style guitar flourishes. “High Horse” is stylish and cool, a little melodramatic, yet understated in a very Kacey Musgraves sort of way. Lots of lower-fi artists try their hand at a catchy club song and kind of miss the mark, but with “High Horse”, Kacey hit the bullseye on catchiness while holding firm to her individual spark.
Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse” is bright purple for confident.
“Mother” acts a bit like an interlude at the middle of Golden Hour. Clocking in at less than a minute and a half, this song is the story of Kacey coming down from an acid trip and thinking about her mother, who was thinking about her mother. The songwriting is so arresting here; it takes just a few seconds for Kacey to completely knock the listener out with emotion. The song’s richness makes it a standout favorite for me. The tinkling piano, the aching smallness of Kacey’s voice, contrasting with the power vested in generations: all of it is perfect.
Kacey Musgraves’ “Mother” is lilac for vulnerable.
I think dedicating an entire blog post to Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour is testament enough to how much I adore this album. However, of all its songs, of all the refreshingly clever, perfectly sweet offerings on this album, “Oh, What A World” is by far my favorite (which is why it will be the only addition to our official Mood Ring Music Spotify playlist. We have to draw the line somewhere). The song begins with the crunch of vocoder harmonies, and blooms into an introspective lullaby that encompasses so many intricacies of the human experience. Songs like this–so painstakingly simple, so warm, so relatable on the simplest, most human level–only come once in a while. When I listened to this song for the first time, I felt like I was listening to a song that would etch itself into my own history. That’s how deeply it resonated with me from the start. As I continue to live with this song as my own soundtrack, even when the radical optimism of “Oh, What A World” doesn’t relate to my own experiences in the moment, even if the magic Kacey sings about feels far away, I feel like this song has some kind of supernatural ability to pull me back to its warmth.
Kacey Musgraves’ “Oh, What A World” is sunset gold for happy.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below (including this week’s addition of “Oh What a World” by Kacey Musgraves), or by clicking here.
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