Kacey Musgraves, ‘Follow Your Arrow’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]
That at least one publication referred to Kacey Musgraves‘ ‘Follow Your Arrow’ as a “gay anthem” speaks to how far behind country music is on the subject. The controversial single equally promotes being skinny and overweight, having a drink or staying sober, going to church or sleeping in, and smoking marijuana. All of these topics have been covered — and accepted — previously in the genre.
So maybe this is an anthem for some sort of revolution. That seems like an awful lot of pressure to put on one clever lyric during a well-written chorus. “So, make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into,” Musgraves sings before a line that better sums up what this melodic message is about:
“When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint, or don’t / Just follow your arrow wherever it points.”
‘Follow Your Arrow’ shouldn’t be hogged by the LGBT community, because the folky cut has the potential to inspire so many others. It’s the perfect answer to every sensational tabloid magazine cover. It’s a shut-down answer to snark. Imagine a world with no more snark!
Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark begin their song with one of those eye-raising almosts. “If you save yourself for marriage you’re a bore / If you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a horrible person,” the newcomer sings, hanging onto the first syllable of “horrible” long enough to make you think she may use an unflattering “w” word.
The songwriting on this and every song from ‘Same Trailer, Different Park’ is among the best of 2013. Meaningful words snap together like Legos, and Musgraves’ cheery cynicism drives the melodies. The best country songs are often polarizing, and ‘Follow Your Arrow’ is sure to elicit strong opinions from fans of every generation and ideology. It’s the first country song to truly begin the gay conversation. If given significant airplay, it could also be the first to flush ignorance from the shadows that fall on many, many subjects.
Key Lyrics: “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t / So you might as well just do whatever you want”
Did You Know?: Musgraves is the latest ‘Nashville Star’ alum to find success after the show. In 2007, she finished seventh during the fifth season of the country music reality series.
Listen to Kacey Musgraves, ‘Follow Your Arrow’