After months of anticipation in which Kacey Musgraves has appeared on magazine covers but revealed only scattered details about her fourth studio album — least of all when it might be arriving — the stars are aligning so that it’s coming sooner rather than later. “Star-Crossed” will be out Sept. 10, the country-pop star’s reps revealed Monday.
Moreover, the Interscope/UMG Nashville album will arrive accompanied by a 50-minute film version, also called “Star-Crossed,” to be available for streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. See the trailer, below.
A trailer the film has just been released, as has the title track. Like the rest of the album, the just-unveiled song is produced and co-written by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who shared those same duties on most of Musgraves’ previous album, “Golden Hour,” which won the Grammy for album of the year.
The 15 songs on the album and in the film (see full track list below) were described in an announcement as “structured as a modern-day tragedy in three acts, tell(ing) an extremely personal journey of heartache and healing.”
“Star-Crossed” is known to largely focus on Musgraves’ feelings during and since her divorce, and lyrics to the title song, which also serves as the album’s opening track, leave no doubt the collection is going to go there: “Let’s set the scene / Two lovers ripped right at the seams / Woke up from the perfect dream / And then the darkness came / Signed the papers yesterday / You came and took your things away / I moved out of the home we made / And gave you back your name.”
The Paramount Plus film, characterized as having” a sense of heightened reality,” was directed by Bardia Zeinali from a concept by Musgraves and Zeinali, and shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique (“A Star Is Born,” “Black Swan”). Said Zeinali, “We wanted it to feel cinematic and epic without compromising the heart and the emotion, to feel fantastical and heightened and tell her story through the lens of art and fashion.” It includes cameos from actors Eugene Levy and Victoria Pedretti, singer Princess Nokia, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Symone and comedian Megan Stalter.
It was reported by Variety in April that Musgraves’ fourth album would involve a partnership between Interscope and UMG Nashville, reflecting her crossover appeal, after previous efforts came out solely via the Nashville division of Universal Music Group.
In an interview with Apple Music Monday, she revealed more about the new album.
Tragedy is “the most popular art form across time and I think it always will be,” she said. “And yeah, it was like, ‘Man, tragedy, it’s a modern tragedy in three acts.’ But for a while I was kind of freaked out. I don’t have a concept, I don’t have an album title. What is this going to be? It’s just going to be a bunch of sad songs, you know what I mean? But then ‘Star-Crossed’ happened. It was the 14th song we wrote and actually funny that it’s the first song on that opens the album. I just really liked the definition. And I kind of came up with my own sort of too, because all the definitions that are out there are pretty antiquated from the old Bill Shakespeare days. But it’s to be fucked by love or luck.”
“You’re ill-fated, it’s just not written in the stars,” Musgraves continued in the interview. “It is not for you. And everyone puts out their highlight reel, nobody’s putting out their fuck-ups. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s daunting. But I’m excited to share ‘Star-Crossed’ just because people know me to be a songwriter that writes about what I’m going through. And I think it would have been extremely awkward if I just acted this last chapter didn’t happen for me. So I think you saw my highlight reel with ‘Golden Hour,’ and this is the other side of that. And I mean, there are beautiful parts of that too.”
The track list for “Star-Crossed”:
2. Good Wife
3. Cherry Blossom
4. Simple Times
5. If This Was a Movie..
9. Camera Roll
10. Easier Said
11. Hookup Scene
12. Keep Lookin’ Up
13. What Doesn’t Kill Me
14. There is A Light
15. Gracias a la Vida