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“Between the lunch and dinner rush
Kelly caught that outbound bus for Vegas
We're all out here talking trash, making bets
Lips wrapped ‘round our cigarettes."
Country Music radio has always been very conservative and has a long history of banning songs deemed too risqué for Middle America and the South. One such song was Loretta Lynn’s The Pill about the birth control pill. Listening to The Pill and its feminist lyrics today, it’s easy to see why conservative Country Music fans were upset by the song: “Miniskirts, hotpants, and a few little fancy frills / Yeah, I’m making up for all those years since I’ve got the pill.” Even though it was banned on many radio stations in 1975, The Pill still became a big hit, reaching No. 5 on the Country Chart. Nearly forty years later, Country Music radio is still conservative, musically, but it would seem that it’s become a lot more forgiving and open-minded in terms of “daring” subject matters. If not, it would hardly have embraced twenty-four-year-old Texas Country singer Kacey Musgraves so wholeheartedly. Musgraves’ songs on Same Trailer Different Park testify to a songwriter, who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is (or how it should be).
The gutsy Follow Your Arrow touches on several different topics, from exploring and accepting one’s sexual orientation (“So make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that's something you're into”) to rebelling against conservatism and conventional thinking (“When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint /Or don't / Just follow your arrow wherever it points”). While Musgraves’ lyrics may not exactly come off as revolutionary, she does venture into territory that most other contemporary Country artists steer well clear of. So why does she get away with it? Well, it may be due to her astute observational skills and her way with words, as she depicts life in small-town U.S.A. with both insight and a sense of humor (“If you save yourself for marriage / You’re a bore / If you don’t save yourself for marriage / You’re a hor- / -rible person”). Musgraves accentuates the first syllable of “horrible” to indicate the word “whore”.
The hit single Merry Go ‘Round (No. 14 on the Country Chart) deals with the monotony of rural life (“We get bored, so we get married / Just like dust, we settle in this town”) and how everyone has their own diversions to cope with predictability and boredom (“Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay / Brother’s hooked on Mary Jane / Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down”). Blowin’ Smoke (Country No. 31) is yet another reflection on life in small-town U.S.A., the setting being a diner and its chain-smoking waitresses, who are dreaming of a more exciting life, hoping that one day they’ll make it out of there just like one of their own did (“Between the lunch and dinner rush / Kelly caught that outbound bus for Vegas / We're all out here talking trash, making bets / Lips wrapped ‘round our cigarettes”), but deep inside they know that it’ll never happen (”But we're just blowin' smoke”).
Silver Lining is a reminder to every small-town citizen that things don’t just happen by themselves; if you want to change your life around, you have to actually do something about it (“If you're ever gonna find a silver lining / It's gotta be a cloudy day / If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning / You're gonna have to stand in the rain”). But then there are all those, who never manage to tear up their roots and leave their small hometowns, desperately wishing and waiting for true love, most likely in vain, as depicted in the metaphoric and bittersweet Dandelion (“Dandelion / A million little wishes float across the sky / But it's a waste of breath and a waste of time, I know“).
Same Trailer Different Park is contemporary Country Music at its best – an album with slick and modern yet rich and warm production values, and skillful, balanced engineering highlighting each and every instrument, from drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars to steel guitars, banjo, accordion, harmonica and ukulele. A sharp, detailed and intelligent songwriter, slightly reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves co-wrote all twelve songs and recorded the most satisfying Country album since Lee Ann Womack’s 2005 album There’s More Where That Came From.