Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Kacey Musgraves – Space Cowboy

Just gonna assume this song title is foreshadowing an upcoming Nadia Oh collaboration…


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[6.43]

Alfred Soto: After an acclaimed debut followed by a muddled follow-up for which I won’t blame her because everybody does it, Kacey Musgraves returns with a poised delineation of a conceit. I wish she and her co-writers had gone for the odd visual of “Space, Cowboy,” but then the conceit would lack for surprise. The clean mix puts the mildly distorted guitar in relief, a complement to Musgraves’s vocal. A job well done, nothing more.
[7]

Iain Mew: Only six months since I referenced a fifteen-year-old record to explain my love for Astrid S’s (outer) space lines, here’s someone else doing it! Kacey Musgraves doesn’t lean into that joke but prefers multifaceted metaphors with as much cowboy in them; silver rocket autos meet running horses. It takes a bit more sitting with, but it works thanks to space aplenty in the arrangement, with room for gorgeous cosmic washes of sound to punctuate the mood of resignation.
[8]

Katherine St Asaph: I guess it’s a sign of some screwy cosmic balance that since Kesha recorded several alternate-universe Kacey Musgraves songs on Rainbow, then Kacey herself must move on to dowdy Nashville ballads. She wrings more emotion out of this material than it deserves, and the Astrid S-que fake-out of the title is clever. But the labored seriousness of the track extinguishes every spark Kacey has; besides, record a song called “Space Cowboy,” and you join camp-ass company. Why so solemn?
[5]

Alex Clifton: A perfectly nice breakup song, but there’s something missing here. I truly loved Musgraves’s debut album five years ago, but everything she’s come out with since then has been sort of blah. Mostly I’m upset that the title led me to believe this’d be about Cowboy Bebop, and nothing else can live up to that title.
[4]

Julian Axelrod: I’m here for any song that deconstructs dusty old country archetypes, and Kacey doesn’t disappoint. Of course dating a stoic John Wayne type would be exhausting — it’s such a smart twist that I’m amazed no one’s used it before. But this works because it’s not played for laughs. The song has a beautiful twilight-hour glow, especially when it drifts into that key change. And there’s a real wistfulness in Kacey’s voice, which adds pathos to her frustration. No matter how many country bros you’ve seen ride off into the sunset, it never gets easier to watch them go.
[7]

Stephen Eisermann: Kacey Musgraves is making some of the (if not the) best country music of the decade, despite not getting a sliver of airplay. “Space Cowboy” is heartbreaking yet wise; Kacey sings to a lost love with sadness, but without regret. It’s a beautiful image, if not devastating, as you can almost see the narrator’s faith in love fading into the distance alongside the cowboy that rides off. 
[8]

Ryo Miyauchi: Kacey Musgraves doesn’t write about tragic heartbreak or star-crossed first encounters. Her songs are more like “Space Cowboy” where the couple sighs, shrugs and accepts fate. Despite the epic production touch and romance-movie cliches, she favors the mundane of real life over the glamor in drama. It may not be fun as typical country pop goes, with hooks gone to hone in on the storytelling. Yet her “it is what it is” point of view still delivers a satisfying intimacy for those willing to listen close.
[6]

Reader average: [8.19] (5 votes)

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