Album Reviews

Kacey Musgraves – Deeper Well

(Interscope) UK release date: 15 March 2024

The Texan’s latest album is one to wallow in, one for those rainy days inside where you just want to sit and find comfort in music

Kacey Musgraves - Deeper Well You’ve heard of the break-up album, now Kacey Musgraves brings you the ‘post-break up, time to get my shit together’ album. Musgraves’ previous album, 2021’s Star-Crossed dissected (in sometimes uncomfortable detail) the end of her marriage with fellow musician Ruston Kelly, and there seems a peace and contentment which almost glows throughout Deeper Well.

Her third album, Golden Hour, was the one that saw her become a big crossover star from country to pop, and Deeper Well continues that journey. It’s a very tasteful album – mostly low-key acoustic songs, with the odd dip into West Coast pop/rock. Opening track Cardinal’s introduction nods towards The Mamas And The Papas‘ California Dreamin’, before settling into jangly pop mode.

Her lyrics are, as ever, open and personal. She’s spoken in the past about her experimentations with drugs – she wrote a few of the songs on Slow Burn while tripping on acid – and she sings on the gorgeous title track that “I used to wake and bake, roll out of bed, hit the gravity bong… everything I did seemed better when I was high… I don’t know why”.

That title track is one of many that exude strong Marie Kondo energy – odes to getting rid of things in life that are holding you back, and moving on to something better. Moving Out is a lovely ode to memories, just walking round an old home and thinking about how it “was way more than just a place”, while the stirring Sway is about how bad experiences can strengthen you – “like a palm tree in the wind, I won’t break, I’ll just bend”.

Most of the tracks on Deeper Well are stripped-back introspective affairs. Most of the time, this works beautifully, such as the intricate Dinner With Friends which has a simple message: how spending time with old friends is priceless. A closing line of “things I would miss from the other side” may seem morbid, but ends up being rather life-affirming.

The instrumentation on Heart Of The Woods has a real Fleet Foxes air to it, while Jade Green employs a dulcimer and string section to create an urgent, driving song full of beautiful lyrical imagery: “Like the bracelet you bought me, I want you on my arm.” The Architect, meanwhile, just muses on the beauty of the mundanity of everyday life: “Does it happen by chance, is it all happenstance?”

Over 14 tracks, some people may find the low-key energy flags a bit over the course of the record. Anime Eyes is one of the few tracks that diverts from the ‘acoustic ballad’ template, and its one of the best moments on the album – a song that namechecks legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and builds up a thrilling momentum towards the end where Musgraves quickly sings of “angels singing, bells are ringing, baby I’m a love tsunami” – even that moment’s slight resemblance to Billy Joel‘s We Didn’t Start The Fire can’t derail things

Deeper Well is an album to wallow in, one for those rainy days inside where you just want to sit and find comfort in music. For anybody undergoing some large life changes, this is an album that will be able to gently guide you through those times.

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Kacey Musgraves – Deeper Well
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