Golden Hour (album)

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Golden Hour
Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour.png
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 30, 2018 (2018-03-30)
Recorded2017
Studio
  • Big Green Barn
  • Sound Emporium
  • House of Blues
  • Great Gazoo Reading Room
  • Royal Plum
  • (Nashville)
Genre
Length45:44
LabelMCA Nashville
Producer
Kacey Musgraves chronology
A Very Kacey Christmas
(2016)
Golden Hour
(2018)
Singles from Golden Hour
  1. "Butterflies"
    Released: February 23, 2018
  2. "Space Cowboy"
    Released: February 23, 2018
  3. "High Horse"
    Released: June 25, 2018[3]
  4. "Slow Burn"
    Released: October 16, 2018
  5. "Rainbow"
    Released: February 10, 2019[4]

Golden Hour is the fourth studio album by American country music singer and songwriter Kacey Musgraves, released on March 30, 2018, through MCA Nashville.[5] Musgraves co-wrote all 13 tracks and co-produced the album with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk. The album debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200.[6]

Golden Hour received widespread acclaim from critics, winning in all four of its nominated categories at the 61st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. The album's first two singles, "Butterflies" and "Space Cowboy", also won awards for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, respectively.[7] Golden Hour also won Album of the Year at the 52nd Annual Country Music Association Awards.[8]

Recording[edit]

Musgraves wrote and recorded most of the songs from the album throughout 2017; about the writing process she said: "I have a lot more love songs this time around, and I've never been one to write a love song and really feel it." She continued: "That probably sounds like the most depressing thing ever. [But] I'm coming off getting married and being in this golden hour of my personal life, where all these things are finally coming to fruition. I found myself inspired to write about this person and all these things he brought out in me that weren’t there before." Some of the album was recorded in a studio above a horse stable owned by musician Sheryl Crow.[9]

Promotion and packaging[edit]

On March 10, 2018, Musgraves announced the Oh, What a World Tour in support of the album while performing at the Country to Country music festival in London. The first 12 dates of the tour were announced on March 12, with Musgraves stating on social media that tour dates in other countries would eventually be added. The tour began on October 13 in Oslo, Norway.[10][11]

Musgraves' sister Kelly Christine Sutton took the cover photo for Golden Hour over a two-day photo shoot in and around their hometown of Golden, Texas. Sutton, who also is credited with designing the album's packaging, has previously worked with Musgraves for all of her albums' artwork. Of the cover photo, Sutton recalls Kacey "wanted to use this paper fan, and we are usually on the same page with ideas, but I couldn’t picture it. We went out into this wide open field. We needed one with no trees, so there was sky only. Almost immediately after we reviewed the photos, we just knew we had it."[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic89/100[13]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[14]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[15]
Consequence of SoundA−[16]
The Guardian5/5 stars[17]
The Independent5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork8.7/10[18]
Record Collector4/5 stars[19]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[20]
Uncut7/10[21]
ViceB+[1]

Golden Hour received widespread acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 89, based on 17 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[13] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic rated the album four and a half out of five stars and called it "warm and enveloping, pitched halfway between heartbreak and healing-but (it) lingers in the mind because the songs are so sharp, buttressed by long, loping melodies and Musgraves' affectless soul baring."[14] Writing for The Independent and rating the album a perfect 5 out of 5, Roisin O'Connor states the album is "a reminder that sometimes – often, if you're looking in the right places – life is beautiful."[2] Additionally, it was a Spin "Essential" and of the genre-bending songs on the album, reviewer Katherine St. Asaph calls it "not classicist, but perhaps it might be classic."[22] The album was rated number one by the BBC poll of polls, a compilation of 'best of the year lists' across 35 music reviewers, on a list of the best albums of 2018.[23] The album also placed number one in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 2018.[24]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Association Year Category Result
CMA Awards[25] 2018 Album of the Year[26] Won
Apple Music[27] 2018 Album of the Year Won
Grammy Awards[28] 2019 Album of the Year Won
Best Country Album Won
Best Country Song (for "Space Cowboy") Won
Best Country Solo Performance (for "Butterflies") Won
Year-end lists
Publication Rank List
AllMusic N/A The Best Albums of 2018[29]
American Songwriter 1 Top 25 Albums of 2018[30]
Associated Press 2 Top 10 Albums of 2018[31]
Apple 1 The Best Album of 2018[32]
Billboard 3 The 50 Best Albums of 2018: Critics' Picks[33]
Complex 36 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[34]
Consequence of Sound 9 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[35]
Entertainment Weekly 1 The 20 Best Albums of 2018[36]
The Independent 4 The 40 Best Albums of 2018[37]
Noisey 2 The 100 Best Albums of 2018[38]
NPR Music 3 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[39]
Paste 44 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[40]
People 1 Top 10 Albums of 2018[41]
Pitchfork 2 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[42]
PopMatters 2 The 70 Best Albums of 2018[43]
Rolling Stone 2 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[44]
Sputnikmusic 1 Top 50 Albums of 2018[45]
Stereogum 1 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[46]
Taste of Country 1 The 10 Best Country Albums of 2018[47]
Idolator 3 The 25 Best Albums Of 2018[48]
Time 8 The 10 Best Albums of 2018[49]
Uncut 73 The 75 Best Albums of 2018[50]
Uproxx 2 The 50 Best Albums of 2018[51]
1 Uproxx Music Critics Poll: Albums[52]
The Village Voice 1 Pazz & Jop: The Top 100 Albums of 2018[53]
Vulture 4 The Best Albums of 2018 [54]

Commercial performance[edit]

Golden Hour debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top Country Albums chart with 49,000 album-equivalent units—39,000 of that figure being pure album sales.[6] It marks Musgraves’ third number one on the Top Country Albums chart. It also debuted at number one on the Americana/Folk Albums chart.[55] In the chart week following the 61st Grammy Awards, where Golden Hour won Album of the Year, the album sold 35,000 copies and climbed to number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart.[56] As of January 2019, the album has sold 141,100 copies in the US.[57] In all, Golden Hour sold out 250,000 copies around the world.

In the United Kingdom, Golden Hour debuted at number six on the official UK Albums chart and at number one on the UK Country Albums chart. It marks Musgraves' first top ten album in the UK.[58]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes.[59]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Slow Burn"4:06
2."Lonely Weekend"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
3:46
3."Butterflies"3:39
4."Oh, What a World"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
4:01
5."Mother"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
1:18
6."Love Is a Wild Thing"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
4:16
7."Space Cowboy"
3:36
8."Happy & Sad"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
4:03
9."Velvet Elvis"
  • Luke Dick
  • Hemby
  • Musgraves
2:34
10."Wonder Woman"4:00
11."High Horse"
3:33
12."Golden Hour"
  • Tashian
  • Fitchuk
  • Musgraves
3:18
13."Rainbow"
  • Hemby
  • McAnally
  • Musgraves
3:34
Total length:45:44

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes.[59]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[60] 25
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[61] 111
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[62] 11
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[63] 105
Irish Albums (IRMA)[64] 27
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[65] 2
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[66] 15
Scottish Albums (OCC)[67] 3
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[68] 43
UK Albums (OCC)[69] 6
UK Country Albums (OCC)[70] 1
US Billboard 200[6] 3
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[71] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label Ref.
United States March 30, 2018 MCA Nashville [72]

References[edit]

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