When Kacey Musgraves was awarded Album of the Year last night at the 2019 Grammys, the Twittersphere erupted and rained down negativity.
The main point of contention, albeit a valid one, was that people believed Janelle Monáe was more deserving of the award than a white country singer from Texas. Let me be clear: Dirty Computer was one of the most stunning albums of 2018. Its masterful ability to dissect race and sexuality in such a frank and honest way no doubt made it a strong contender for the award, but as Musgraves pointed out in her sweet and candid acceptance speech, "Winning this doesn't make my album any better than anybody else's."
She's right. The Grammys are shit. Award shows are shit. All these big events that have consumed the American headspace for generations are shit. Everyone knows this now, hence why so many artists boycotted the Super Bowl and refused to perform at this year's awards. "Yes, we're all special, but we're also nothing," Musgraves said in an interview with Rolling Stone. "Just a fraction of a grain of sand in the book of time." The attitude this statement reflects is what made Golden Hour such a special and unique project. It was devoid of political statements—thus was a massive political statement—and focused solely on the confusion that comes with being human in a world no one understands.
In "Oh, What a World," the country singer belts: "Plants that grow and open your mind, things that swim with a neon glow, how we all got here, nobody knows." No, seriously, can we just take a step back and just look around for a second? "It can be easy to forget that right now there are literally jellyfish that light up," Musgraves said in a separate interview with Billboard. At one point, she picked up a geode and said, "This crystal grew in the earth! I'm like, what?! Aaagghh!" Couldn't agree more, Kacey. Spiders eat their children, butterflies taste with their toes, and the world currently has over 80,000 types of plants you can fucking eat. "If you could see what I see, you'd be blinded by the colors," Musgraves sings on "Rainbow."
The album also dissects toxic masculinity in not one, but TWO, of the biggest bops of all time. "Cause everyone knows someone who kills the buzz, every time they open up their mouth," Musgraves sings over a silky electric guitar on "High Horse." On "Space Cowboy," which won Best Country Song, she sings: "Shoulda learned from the movies that good guys don't run away." Even if you don't think Golden Hour deserved any awards, you can't deny that the theme of these tracks click with just about everyone, not to mention they're so. Damn. Catchy.
In addition to these standouts, Musgraves also discusses love ("Butterflies, "Golden Hour"), anxiety ("Happy and Sad"), F.O.M.O. ("Lonely Weekend"), and summertime nostalgia ("Slow Burn"). She even gives a shout out to mama Musgraves on a minute-long interlude fittingly titled "Mother." Not to mention, this album redefined the country music formula. While Monáe was equally as deserving of Album of the Year, all I ask is that haters stop drinking their haterade and give Golden Hour a spin. I promise you'll find something to love about it. And for those of you that disagree with all of this and think Scorpion or Invasion of Privacy were musical masterpieces, please sit the fuck down.
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area, Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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