10 No-Skip Albums: Same Trailer Different Park
Small town life is ingrained into the fabric of country music. Most songs, especially those on today's radio, laud the virtues of small town life. Everyone is your neighbor. It's an almost Utopian scene. There is more to it than that, though. Small town life can be stifling and smothering. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Everyone knows your business. That's the world of Kacey Musgraves' 2013 debut, Same Trailer Different Park.
The first line of the first track (the wistful "Silver Lining") is "woke up on the wrong side of rock bottom." Right away Kacey Musgraves demonstrates a coy way of turning a phrase. The whole album plays like a collection of short stories set in a dying little podunk somewhere and addresses everything good and bad (most of it unflattering) about small town life. That's not the say the album is maudlin, preachy, or mean-spirited. It's all pretty playful, actually. And each song is anchored by her lilting voice and impeccable lyrics. She doesn't back away from repressive social norms of the rural environment and the harm it can cause those who stay in it.
This is most apparent on the two best tracks, "Follow Your Arrow" and "Merry Go Round." The first song is a manifesto for non-conformity.
So, make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots girls
If that's something you're into
When the straight and the narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint (or don't)
And follow your arrow where it points
"Follow Your Arrow" is a middle finger to judgmental mindsets and restrictive values and frankly an example of why I love Same Trailer Different Park so much. These are not generic odes with empty references about dirt roads and radios and trucks and girls in tight jeans on a Saturday night. Kacey Musgraves dives deep into issues. Not to say this is a protest album. But, her songs don't shy away from the muck of the small town world.
"Merry Go Round" is my favorite song here because it is the most clever in its critique.
Mama's hooked on Mary Kay; Brother's hooked on Mary Jane
Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down
Every song on Same Trailer Different Park is a gem, regardless of style. I recommend you listen twice in one setting. The first time, just listen to the music and her wonderful voice and catch the lyrics. The second time, focus on the stories and I guarantee you will find people you know in them. Especially if you grew up in a small town.