Healing Doesn’t Happen in a Straight Line: Kacey Musgraves Navigates the Winding Roads of Healing a Broken Heart

Kacey Musgraves © Adrienne Raquel
Kacey Musgraves © Adrienne Raquel
Kacey Musgraves examines the complexities of healing a broken heart on her new song “justified.”
 follow our Today’s Song(s) playlist

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

Stream: “justified” – Kacey Musgraves

We are sold the idea that healing and getting over someone is a process, one that goes from point A to point B, but what no one tells you is that there are many tiny increments between those two points. You and your emotions can travel those points like notes on a scale, all the way through the majors and minors, past the flats and the sharps, which is why you can be tranquil one moment and crying in the bathroom cubicle the next.

star-crossed - Kacey Musgraves
star-crossed – Kacey Musgraves

Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line” sings Kacey Musgraves on her new song, “justified,” the second single from her highly anticipated album star-crossed. Billed as a modern-day tragedy in three parts, or as Musgraves has paraphrased, “sad girl fall”, the album will be released on 10th September, produced by Musgraves, Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk.

“justified” chronicles the emotional rollercoaster one’s head, heart and body goes through when a relationship ends. It is country in its beginnings, with its strumming, propulsive dark guitar reminding me of those country songs that usually end up with someone getting revenge. As the song hits the pre-chorus, the guitars and organic-ness are scrubbed out in favour of a sound that you could easily find on The Weeknd’s albums, or any other pop album in the last five years.

If I cry just a little and then laugh in the middle
If I hate you and I love you, and then I change my mind
If I need just a little more time to deal with the fact
That you shoulda treated me right
Then I’m more than just a little justified
Kacey Musgraves © 2021
Kacey Musgraves © 2021

Whilst Golden Hour had dreamy arrangements and vast intricate soundscapes, often nicknamed psychedelic country or space country, star-crossed is starting to sound more subdued and less experimental in its sounds. There is a quietness to the songs, as if the songs are hidden under a blanket, leaving them muffled and in the dark, and in turn, leaving the listener waiting for what isn’t coming.

Of course, it is very hard to make a judgement on an album or a song, when only two songs from an album have been released. It’s like being given corner edges of a puzzle and then being asked to describe the picture. You can’t.

I don’t dislike “justified.” The lyrics are heartbreakingly honest, wry and just a little funny in that way when all you can do is laugh at the absurdity of your feelings. In other words, they are typical Kacey Musgraves and I love them, but the song as a whole, leaves me wanting more. Perhaps, this was a deliberate choice by Musgraves and her producers. Perhaps the music is meant to represent Musgraves’ state of mind at the time, “I’ve been to hell and back/ Golden hour faded black.

Kacey Musgraves © Adrienne Raquel
Kacey Musgraves © Adrienne Raquel

The verses of “justified” give you camera flash snippets of conversations or moments in a disintegrating relationship, and the choruses and the bridge give voice to those feelings that rise up as you remember by trying to forget.

It was a fun, strange summer
I rolled on, didn’t think of you
We lost touch with each other
Fall came and I had to move

Musgraves has always been able to write songs as an observer, even when the songs are from her own life. From her songs like ‘Merry Go ‘Round’, detailing the lies behind the perfect white picket fences, to ‘Space Cowboy’, singing to a lover who is always somewhere else even when he’s right in front of you, she is able to step outside of herself and see the whole picture, cracks and all, and do it way that brings you along for the ride. ‘justified’, and I suspect, the rest of star-crossed will be no different. To steal from Musgraves, “get in loser, we’re going sobbing”.

If I die just a little, inside just a little
If I want you and I call you, then I change my mind
If I need just a little more time to deal with the fact
That I shoulda treated you right

— —

:: stream/purchase star-crossed here ::
Stream: “justified” – Kacey Musgraves

— — — —

star-crossed - Kacey Musgraves

Connect to Kacey Musgraves on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Adrienne Raquel

:: Today’s Song(s) ::

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

 follow our daily playlist on Spotify

:: Stream Kacey Musgraves ::

More from Emily Frances Algar
Feature: FLETCHER’s ‘The S(ex) Tapes’ and the Seven Stages of Grief
FLETCHER ventures through the seven stages of grief in 'The S(ex) Tapes'...
Read More