Kacey Musgraves is fairly new on the scene despite her stint on 2007’s Nashville Star, where she initially got her break. She’s recorded albums independently before and featured on the 2011 single ‘Oh, Tonight’ with Josh Abbott Band, but ‘Merry Go Round’ is her first big single, and big it is definitely set to be. It was released back in September along with its vintage-inspired nostalgic video, but its peak at #28 on the country charts just doesn’t do justice for this song. So if you didn’t already know about it, I’m here to tell you about it.
‘Merry Go Round’ is a sweet tribute to small town life with a subliminal bitter twist that, if we are to undertake a romantic notion, underlies the hearts of all those born and raised in small towns. “It ain’t what you want, it’s what you know” sums up the tale of this song, which is supported by heavy use of the banjo, nice to see in a song these days. There is also an acoustic guitar, elements of piano, something which sounds like strings put on delay, and a light shuffle-type beat on drums, if you could even say proper drums. This song is light personified, and the simple loops and riffs played by each of the instruments combine to fill a sound in space that is light, inoffensive and promotes a carefree mood and attitude. Some songs are characterized by their instruments, others are merely supported by their instruments. Here Kacey constructs a mood and a soundscape that does not pick out one single instrument, and that I will be honest and say since I have purchased a few days ago, have probably listened to in excess of fifty to sixty times. I’ve been listening on repeat in the shower, walking to university, sitting on the train, and simply around the house.