Who is pop's real queen of heartbreak? Taylor Swift ain't got nothing on Kacey Musgraves


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The Independent Culture

A broken heart requires some sad music to keep it company – and Katy Perry has been sharing what she has been listening to following her split from John Mayer.

“You HAVE to get the Kacey Musgraves record that came out today. It makes  everything better!” tweeted Perry last week.

So just who is this little-known singer and is she  worth a listen? A 24-year-old country music artist from Texas, Musgraves’ new album, Same Trailer Different Park, has been garnering warm reviews. Having self-released three records, this is the first since she signed to Mercury after coming seventh on Nashville Star, a sort of  X Factor with Stetsons.

But before you assume that she’s a brunette Taylor Swift (they were both up for Female Vocalist of the Year at last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards), you should have a listen for yourself.

Whereas Swift is busy singing about Harry, John, Jake and all the other guys who wronged her, Musgraves touches on darker stuff.  “If you ain’t got two kids by 21/ You’re probably gonna die alone/ Least that’s what tradition told you”, she sings on “Merry Go ’Round”, before telling the story of a dissatisfied small town family that is accompanied by a Hipstamatic-esque retro video. “Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay/Brother’s hooked  on Mary Jane/Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down”. You won’t find references to drugs in Swift’s oeuvre.

Elsewhere she sings about one-night stands and same-sex relationships. And, yes, she has writing credits on each track of the album.

The New York Times recently gave her a glowing appraisal, calling her music “acidic and beautiful” and applauding the way she has been faithful to the country music song structure while writing about feelings and perspectives often ignored by the genre. Perry’s now working on her third album so we’ll soon see  if Musgraves’ influence is obvious. There are bound to be a few tear-jerkers, anyway.