“Deeper Well”: Kacey Musgraves Kicks Off a New Chapter

Kacey begins again by letting go of what no longer serves her.

“My Saturn has returned. When I turned twenty-seven, everything started to change…”

When Kacey Musgraves‘ pen hits, it hits hard.

That’s certainly how I felt when I first heard “Slow Burn” in 2018, the opening track off of her deservedly lauded, Album of the Year Grammy Award-winning Golden Hour. At her best, Kacey’s concise songwriting style communicates very big, deeply relatable feelings about pushing against societal pressures, taking her time to find herself, and simply existing in the world. And that’s exactly what’s coming through with her new single “Deeper Well,” out today (February 8).

Six years since Golden Hour, and three years since the less glowingly received follow-up, 2021’s Star-Crossed, she’s recalibrated musically, and we’re back in business.

“Deeper Well” is the first taste and title track of the now 35-year-old singer-songwriter’s forthcoming fifth studio album, due out on March 15.

The gently drifting, folky song is already being characterized online as a return-to-roots kind of record, and a kind of course correction from the more scattered nature of Star-Crossed. Simple and straightforward often works best for Kacey, as she lays out everything she’s learned and lost in the past few years across a gentle guitar strum.

I’m sayin’ goodbye to the people that I feel are real good at wastin’ my time…

Good riddance to bad vibes and limiting patterns: the singer’s left behind the people and the habits which no longer serve her, including wake-and-baking with the gravity bong she made. “I’ve got to take care of myself, I found a deeper well,” she pledges.

“Sometimes you reach a crossroads. Winds change direction. What you once felt drawn to doesn’t hold the same allure,” Kacey explained of the song’s meaning, adding: “You get blown off course but eventually find your footing and forage for new inspiration, new insight and deeper love somewhere else.”

Later on, she reflects on how far she’s come since her childhood: “When I was growing up / We had what we needed, shoes on our feet, but the world was as flat as a plate, and that’s okay / The things I was taught only took me so far / Had to figure the rest out myself.

This is Kacey at her best once again, communicating a (nearly) universally relatable experience: we grow up, we move through the world and realize that it’s much bigger and more complex than what we were ever taught, and we take the reigns from there.

We find new things that inspire us and change us, and that’s okay. And the people and things we enjoy sometimes change over time too, and sometimes those people and things don’t fit into our lives anymore, or at least for right now, and that’s okay too.

The gorgeous accompanying video was directed by Hannah Lux Davis, video queen for the pop girls like Ariana Grande and Doja Cat, and finds her settling into a quieter life by the sea, taking care of chores and…well, popping her head up out of the ground. The floating boulders add to the surreal vibe, as though she went for a brief dip Björk‘s mother lake. (She may still be hitting that gravity bong from time to time.)

Deeper Well was crafted alongside longtime collaborators Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who did Golden Hour with her, and also includes a “beautifully contemplative” song called “The Architect,” which is a reunion between Kacey, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who were there from the beginning with her debut studio album, 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park, working on her Grammy Award-winning debut single “Merry Go ‘Round.” You see how life always comes back around?

According to a release, the record was inspired by the energy of New York City’s Greenwich Village and its rich musical history. She recorded a bulk of the new album at the legendary Electric Lady studios. Had I known that, I would have DMed her and invited her to grab a burger at Julius and talk about life while she was in town.

“I was seeking some different environmental energy, and Electric Lady has the best mojo. Great ghosts,” she says.

There’s also a little hint at what’s to come on the 14 tracks featured on the album in the accompanying description of the record: “With her keen observations of the world and discerning eye for the subtle nuances of life, Musgraves’ lyrics serve as a lens focusing on moments of life that often go unnoticed, turning them into timeless songs that strike a chord deep within listeners. Saturn returns, cardinals embody a dead friend, love is given and taken, streets rush by, belongings are packed and old chapters deserted, new love blooms, jade bracelets serve as talismans, deep lessons emerge, small details define everything, the woods are a refuge and New York City serves as the same gleaming beacon as Oz.”

Although we’ve only heard one song thus far, it already feels like Kacey’s on the right track to providing us with another incredible, insightful record. Onto greener pastures and deeper wells.

Pre-order Deeper Well on transparent cream and spilled milk colored vinyl now.

Deeper Well track listing:

1. Cardinal
2. Deeper Well
3. Too Good to be True
4. Moving Out
5. Giver / Taker
6. Sway
7. Dinner with Friends
8. Heart of the Woods
9. Jade Green
10. The Architect
11. Lonely Millionaire
12. Heaven Is
13. Anime Eyes
14. Nothing to be Scared Of

Check out the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. You can also subscribe on Apple Music.

Photo credit: Kelly Christine Sutton

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