You could call the rollout for Kacey Musgraves’s follow-up to her hit masterpiece Golden Hour a slow burn. The country singer-songwriter has teased her upcoming Greek tragedy–inspired album in a few interviews so far this year but still has yet to release any music off the project, over three years after Golden Hour. That changed a bit today, with Musgraves debuting crumbs of two songs off the album on the podcast A Slight Change of Plans. Around ten minutes into the podcast, she sang a verse and the chorus from a song called “Camera Roll,” about going through old pictures after her 2020 divorce from fellow country musician Ruston Kelly. “Chronological order / Ain’t nothing but torture,” she sang. “Scroll too far back / That’s what you get.” Musgraves told host Dr. Maya Shankar that she began the song on piano in her home after looking through photos on her phone one night. “I just, like, could barely get through,” Musgraves said of starting the song. “I was like the ugly kind of, like, little-kid cry.”
Toward the end of the podcast, around 31 minutes in, Musgraves teased a second song, “If I Was an Angel,” after Dr. Shankar, a cognitive neuroscientist, asked the musician about songs about change. “If I was an angel / I’d never have to change,” she sang. “I’d never have to change / But something’s gotta change.”
Musgraves further detailed the concept for her album, inspired by a mushroom trip. She said the project — which she has not yet revealed the title of — will comprise three acts of five songs each, following the arc of an actual Greek tragedy. Musgraves described another song called “Star-Crossed,” inspired in part by Romeo and Juliet. “I love the definition of ‘star-crossed’ because it’s two people who love each other so much, but they just cannot make it work because even the universe is against them,” she explained. “I resonate a lot with that with my personal story and what I’ve been through, so I was like, Okay, ‘Star-Crossed’ — I have to write that.”
Musgraves’s A Slight Change of Plans episode comes the same day as her cover story for the new issue of Crack, also focused on the upcoming album. Of the album’s sound, the performer told the magazine, “Sometimes I feel like this album has more of a foot in country than Golden Hour.” Per the profile, the new album features jazz flute and the kato, a Japanese stringed instrument. And the title track, which opens the album, by Crack’s description is “a pared back, Latin-inflected ballad about resigning from a relationship and accepting fate without bitterness” that “swells into a pattern of guttural electric guitar, spectral strings and a chorus of voices.” Can’t wait to hear it all? The end of the Crack profile teases that Musgraves’s new album will be out later in 2021.