Released: March 30, 2018
Peak: 4 US, 12 CW, 6 UK, 11 CN, 25 AU
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.06 UK
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)
All songs are co-written by Musgraves. Co-writers include producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk as well as Luke Laird, Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Luke Dick, Jesse Frasure, Hillary Lindsey, Amy Wadge, Tommy Schleiter, and Trent Dabbs.
Total Running Time: 45:44
4.351 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)
Quotable: It isn’t “classicist, but perhaps it might be classic.” – Katherine St. Asaph, Spin magazine
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
Kacey Musgraves “became Nashville’s most compelling crossover star since Taylor Swift” RS’20 by winning critics over with three previous albums in which she “enlivened traditional country with her sly synthesis of old sounds” AMG and her “clever wordplay and witty turns of phrase about small-town life.” AZ However, she didn’t “fit the standard archetypes for women in country: not a Southern belle like countless ingenues, not a brash spitfire like Miranda Lambert, not a maternal elder like Dolly or Reba.” SP She sang about “homesickness, and falling wildly in love with the witty precision of her earlier small-town polemics” RS’20 but also about “such un-conservative topics topics as gay rights and marijuana” SP and acid trips.
That was never more apparent than when she won a Country Music Association Song of the Year award for “Follow Your Arrow.” That song pointed the way for an unconventional country artist who, on her fourth album, Golden Hour, still turns out “classic country constructions” AMG from a writing standpoint, but with music that “doesn’t scan country.” AMG A song like High Horse “gallops along with a Shania Twain conceit and lite disco licks that sound more like pop-radio Pharrell than what one might think of as country.” SP
Throughout this album, Musgraves integrates “the smooth grooves of yacht rock and the glitterball pulse of disco” AMG as well as country pop, electropop, and electronica. WK She cited influences from the Bee Gees to Sade to Neil Young. AZ She said, “I’ve always loved Sade, but I also love Dolly Parton…There’s got to be a world where all these things can live together.” RS’20 As Spin magazine’s Katherine St. Asaph said, it isn’t “classicist, but perhaps it might be classic.” SP “Golden Hour’s lush yacht-country production re-envisioned what millennial pop might sound like.” RS’20
Not only did she explore diverse sounds, but she wrote “some of the most honest and genuine tunes of her career.” AZ The album is “warm and enveloping, pitched halfway between heartbreak and healing – but the album lingers in the mind because the songs are so sharp, buttressed by long, loping melodies and Musgraves’ affectless soul baring.” AMG The songs sway “between casual confessions and songs about faded love.” AMG Musgraves said she wrote more love songs for this album as a result of getting married and finding herself “inspired to write about this person and all these things he brought out in me that weren’t there before.” WK
Musgraves’ voice “is reminiscent of folkies like Suzanne Vega or Sheryl Crow…it’s not a belting voice, but it’s a remarkable instrument, capable of imbuing with winsom empathy songs like Lonely Weekend and Happy & Sad that might otherwise be tweenish sap.” SP “Even the druggy tracks” SP like Mother and Oh, What a World “approach Disney levels of earnestness.” SP
Not only did Golden Hour take home the Country Music Association’s award for Album of the Year, but she landed Grammy gold with awards for Album of the Year and Best Country Album. She also took home Grammys for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for her first two singles, Butterflies and Space Cowboy, respectively.
The Japanese version of the album included three bonus tracks – “Merry Go ‘Round” and “Follow Your Arrow” from her 2013 Same Trailer, Different Park album and the Violents Remix of “High Horse.”
Other Related DMDB Pages:
First posted 8/17/2020; last updated 4/24/2022.