Kacey Musgraves: ‘I don’t want to be the McDonald’s of music’

Tim Lewis:

Are casual sex, gay love and smoking pot suitable subjects for country music? Kacey Musgraves thinks so – and she's set to bring the genre to a whole new audience.

Kacey Musgraves stands onstage at the Arts Club in central London and absent-mindedly worries the tuning pegs of her guitar. "Hope y'all don't mind depressing country music," she twangs. There are a few titters from the crowd; the venue comfortably holds about 100, but because of the excitable reviews for Musgraves's new album, Same Trailer Different Park, the room is crammed with perhaps double that.

The song she plays is called It Is What It Is. On first listen, it is an old-fashioned country ballad that could have been written any time in the past 50 years. Musgraves's cool, clear voice rings out over the slow, pared arrangement as she apparently tells a tale of love, loss and regret. But It Is What It Is is nothing of the sort. It's about no-strings-attached sex, getting together with someone because you both have nothing better to do. As she proposes another hook-up, Musgraves pines: "Maybe I love you/ Maybe I'm just kind of bored/ It is what it is."

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