I will forever be on a quest to ensure that Kacey Musgraves’Pageant Material gets the credit it deserves.
And every year when this date comes up on the calendar (the release date of the record back in 2015), I feel the deep urge to talk about it, because, in my very humble opinion, it’s one of the best country albums that’s been released in the last 10 years.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why it’s not more popular. Especially for women who love country music, I feel like it’s everything that’s good about the genre. It’s funny, witty, deep and introspective. I think we all have a handful of albums or songs that change the way we think about music and life, and this one easily makes that list for me.
Pageant Material says a lot in 13 tracks (plus a hidden duet with Willie Nelson). She has such a poignant and satirical take on her life experiences where she almost becomes caricature of herself and the songs are just over-dramatized little stories she’s lived filled with her signature, sarcastic commentary on it all.
If you’re a drama queen like me, you really can’t ask for much else.
Plus, all the teased hair, sashes, pink and glitter in all the imagery on the album cover and coinciding photos are a dream… it’s one of the best album covers I’ve ever seen.
Another part I love about it is that she has this beautiful way of saying exactly what’s she’s thinking whilst always keeping her southern manners and raising in the back of her mind.
All of these big, unconventional ideas come out as if you’re sitting at a table with her enjoying a cast-iron skillet of cornbread and sweet tea to chase it down after church on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
You can read more about my thoughts on that here, but today, I wanted to dive into all of the songs on the record and what makes them so poignant and timeless.
So let’s get into it… here are 14 of my favorite lyrics from each song that get to the heart of the beauty and honesty of this record (in tracklisting order, of course):
“Been missing my roots, I’m getting rid of the flash. Nobody needs a thousand-dollar suit just to take out the trash…”
At the end of the day, being exactly who you are and embracing all parts of that is gonna get you a lot further than trying to put lipstick on a pig, if you will…
“Dime Store Cowgirl”
“‘Cause I’m still the girl from Golden, had to get away so I could grow. But it don’t matter where I’m goin’, I’ll still call my hometown home.”
That line gets me every single time, and I wholeheartedly agree that remembering where you came from and the place that shaped you is absolutely everything… even if you become a megastar and Grammy award winner like Kacey.
“Late To the Party”
“No, I’m never late to the party, if I’m late to the party with you.”
It’s not the places or the parties that are most important in life, it’s the people you’re with and the time you spend with them, right?
“Sometimes I talk before I think, I try to fake it but I can’t. I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t…”
If that ain’t the God’s honest truth, I don’t know what is… For better or worse, I relate to this song on a deeply emotional and spiritual level, and it will forever be one of my all-time favorite’s.
“We only got one sheriff, but we all know how to keep the peace. Aw, and don’t you forget it, as big as we’re getting, this town’s too small to be mean.”
If you’re from a small town, then you know…
“Nobody’s perfect, we’ve all lost and we’ve all lied, most of us have cheated the rest of us have tried. The holiest of the holy even slip from time to time, we’ve all got dirty laundry hanging on the line.”
Nobody’s perfect or has all the answers, no matter what they want you to think, and it’s good to always keep that in mind and treat people right and help each other out when we can.
Now that’s a message I can get behind…
“Somebody To Love”
“We’re all good, but we ain’t angels. We all sin, but we ain’t devils. We’re all pots and we’re all kettles, but we can’t see it in ourselves…”
Similar to “Biscuits,” this song gets at the importance of how, while our problems seem different on the surface, we all go through hardships and experience the same emotions.
“If misery loves company, then I can’t keep you company no more…”
Here, Miss Kacey teaches us that, if there’s someone in your life who has a lot of negative energy and is bringing you down, ya gotta cut ’em loose.
“They say it’s now or never and all we’re ever getting is older. Before we get to heaven, baby, let’s give ’em hell.”
I love the sentiment about living life to the fullest and treating every day like it could be your last.
“Family Is Family”
“Family is family, in church or in prison. You get what you get, and you don’t get to pick ’em.”
I think we all have at least on or two family member’s we’d rather not have to sit next to at Thanksgiving dinner, but at the end of the day, family’s all we have and really is the most important thing, no matter how bat shit crazy some of them are.
“Good Ol’ Boys Club”
There’s a million ways to dream and that’s just fine. Oh but I ain’t losin’ any sleep at night. And if I end up goin’ down in flames, well at least I know I did it my own way…”
She holds nothing back here, and I’ve always admired her can-do attitude and brazen fearlessness to take on the Nashville establishment and do exactly what she wants in terms of her life and career.
“Cup of Tea”
“Nobody’s everybody’s favorite, so you might as well just make it how you please. ‘Cause you can’t be everybody’s cup of tea… why would you want to be?”
You can’t please everybody, and that’s okay. Do what you want, be who you are, and never apologize for it. I really think this is one of Kacey’s most underrated songs in her entire catalog.
“I put on my makeup for no one at all, my heels on the hardwood echo down the hall. I open the wardrobe, put my face in your clothes, and I’m fine.”
We’ve all found ourselves hoping against hope that a relationship will work out somehow, even when in the back of our mind, if we’re really realistic, we know it’s just not meant to be.
“Are You Sure (feat. Willie Nelson)”
“These are your friends, but are they real friends? Do they love you as much as me? Are you sure this is where you wanna be?”
Though it’s actually a reimagined version of Willie’s song from 1965, the simple message about getting your priorities straight when it comes to relationships and realizing what you have while you still have it is as timeless as a message can be.