Star-Crossed on Paramount+, A Visual Companion Piece To Kacey Musgraves’ Big New Divorce Record

Half report promotion, half meditation on lyrical themes, and half gloriously stoned fever dream, Star-Crossed (Paramount+) places a multitude of enjoyable, dreamy visuals to the fabric from Kacey Musgraves’ just-released fourth studio album of the identical identify. Songwriting vestiges of the singer’s nation roots stay. However the actual fact that this movie exists, in addition to its clever feel and look, attests to Musgraves’ pop music assimilation. 

The Gist: In 2013, Similar Trailer Completely different Park, Kacey Musgraves’ main label debut, netted the Texas-born singer and songwriter a Finest Nation Album Grammy on the energy of its plainspoken lyrics, sharp wit, and simple Nashville grooves. Pageant Materials, her melancholic, extra private 2014 follow-up, was nominated in the identical class. And by 2018, Musgraves had emerged with Golden Hour, the album that furthered her regular meander from straight nation music to one thing extra like pop, and the one bestowed with Album of the 12 months honors and licensed Platinum standing. All people was loving Spacey Kacey; in that million lumen highlight, it’s no marvel her brand-new marriage to nation singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly didn’t survive. Now it’s 2021, and the place it stops for Musgraves, no person is aware of. However the merry go ‘spherical ain’t slowin’ down, and appropriately she’s launched that tried-and-true doc of nation music custom, a divorce album, tinged along with her stylistic evolution towards lip-gloss pop.

Star-Crossed is an album cycle, its 15 songs cataloging Musgraves’ feelings throughout her marriage, from first blush, to surging stress, cresting heartbreak, and finally private redemption. Star-Crossed the accompanying movie follows that tack, its 48-minute size mirroring the report in three acts. Musgrave got here up with the idea, along with director Bardia Zeinali, and cinematographer and frequent Darren Aronofsky collaborator Matthew Libatique supplies some typically putting visuals. Magical realism is the touchstone right here — Musgraves and a set of recurring figures seem in types of fantastical marriage ceremony finery, or in ivory tweed skirt fits from Chanel; they rampage by a mall whereas wanting completely fabulous, or strike a pose subsequent to crashed vehicles and dreamworld hospitals straight out of an Adrian Lyne movie. A colour palette of pink, powder blue, white satin, and vermillion blends with the California solar, and all of the whereas Musgraves travels by the Star-Crossed songs, sometimes in typical lip-synch however extra typically transferring in area with the fabric, showing as its central determine because the music stops brief, slows down, or drifts into an interpretive miasma. This Star-Crossed movie takes place in a haze of Musgraves’ personal making, and that’s not simply her weed smoke speaking.

Paramount+'s star-crossed Kacey Musgraves
Photograph: Paramount+

What Films Will It Remind You Of? Kanye West has additionally probed divorce as a artistic outlet together with his new album Donda. However again in 2010, the polarizing rap artist was using excessive with My Lovely Darkish Twisted Fantasy, a report he accompanied and interpreted with the arty, very ‘Ye brief movie Runaway. And one location utilized in Star-Crossed would possibly look acquainted to movie buffs, or followers of weddings gone dangerous — the dusty, desolate church in Lancaster, Calif. the place Quentin Tarantino staged “The Bride”’s marriage ceremony bloodbath in Kill Invoice: Quantity 1 surfaces right here with a neon signal providing annulments for $15.95.

Efficiency Price Watching: The primary act of Star-Crossed depicts Musgraves and her crew as “anti-matrimonials,” heisters who bust up low cost bridal boutiques for kicks and satisfaction, and a standout member of the gang is Symone, the winner of Drag Race season 13. To not be outdone is comedian Megan Statler, enjoying an arms supplier who hooks up Kacey’s bunch with a clutch of outsized Medieval melee weapons together with a morning star and a mace.

Memorable Dialogue: “Awakened from the proper dream…” “…Bein’ grown up kinda sucks generally; actually simply missin’ my easy occasions…” “…If I used to be an angel, the whole lot can be higher…” “…Therapeutic doesn’t occur in a straight line”: Star-Crossed the album is filled with consultant, heart-on-torn sleeve couplets that don’t obfuscate in any respect the place Musgraves is coming from. And people lyrics act as signposts in Star-Crossed the movie, stitching its imaginative, colourful, and at occasions summary vignettes onto a street map of Musgraves’ coronary heart.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Nope.

Our Take: Positive, cigarettes are dangerous for you. However for many years they lent their flame and dangle to the artiface of cool, so it’s notable that the brazen act of ripping a cig makes a bit of little bit of a comeback in Star-Crossed. Kacey Musgraves has at all times had a powerful sense of lyricism, and a knack for rhythm and pronunciation to lend her phrases an earworm’s grasp. As she recollects the easy occasions, or the occasions made immortal by an iPhone digital camera roll, Musgraves seeks to rebuild the factor no fractured relationship ought to ever take away: herself, and by affiliation, her sense of cool.

That sentiment is represented greatest in Star-Crossed by these little actions — cigarettes and joints lit, or the dreamscape of a ending faculty systematically destroyed by an outlier like Kacey. Nevertheless it’s additionally advised with extra gravity by the ladies who hover persistently on the singer’s shoulder — they’re her muses, her sisters in grief, her protectors in hassle, and her companions in crime and dancing. And that final one goes full-fledged kaleidoscopic disco with the redemptive late-album entry “There Is a Gentle.”

The old-fangled wheels of promotion have turn out to be new once more. However why depend on a shared, flawed platform when your visible content material can personal all the room? Star-Crossed the movie is free of the constraints of MTV however nonetheless an ancestor of the music video, an interpretive, longform model of the format and a consultant of the company inexperienced gentle granted to the artistic whims of a multi-Platinum, Grammy-winning artist. And by showing on a streamer like Paramount+, it additionally widens the promotional footprint for an artist nonetheless ingratiating herself with a bigger pop viewers and who’s slated to play a string of 20,000-seat enviornment dates in 2021. There’s loads of Kacey Musgraves content material right here for established followers. Nevertheless it’s the newcomers who is likely to be extra politely shocked by the creativity and inventive coronary heart on show.

Our Name: STREAM IT. This visible accompaniment to Kacey Musgraves’ Star-Crossed album lightens the emotional load of what quantities to a divorce report. In case you’re already an area cowboy like Musgraves, it’s positively for you. If not, strap in. And keep in mind: what doesn’t kill you higher run.

Johnny Loftus is an impartial author and editor residing at giant in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Information, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Comply with him on Twitter: @glennganges

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