“Dime Store Cowgirl” is the second song on the album. This is a song about being from a small town and still calling it home, no matter how many big towns or famous places she visits. Despite the fact that thematically, it’s not the most original of songs, but it’s one of the best of its kind in recent years due to Musgraves’ authentic nature and the fact that she makes it into a true country song. One of my favorite lines in this song is “just because it doesn’t cost a lot doesn’t mean that it’s a cheap.”
“Pageant Material” is where the album really begins to get interesting. It’s a song about being satisfied with her own imperfections and its presented in an interesting and fresh way that really brought a smile to my face.
“This Town” follows the title track is a fresh presentation on everyone in a small town knowing each other and how there’s no room for secrets, lies, cheating, or bad feelings to linger. It feels like the song portrays this with mixed feelings: having everyone looking out for you can be a good thing, but it also leaves no room for privacy and something like that can be suffocating. Much of this is presented sub-textually and needs to be inferred from Musgraves delivery.
“Biscuits” was the first single and is a bit reminiscent of “Follow Your Arrow” though it seems to be largely built around the pun “mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.” The song seems to largely presented as a fun song, so despite being a bit cheesy lyrically, it still manages to be an enjoyable song. Later in the album, “Cup of Tea” seems to take this approach even further. This song feels almost to be a carbon copy of “Follow Your Arrow” by suggesting that “nobody’s everybody’s favorite so you might as well just make it how you please.” Even the sound of the song feels the same.
“Somebody to Love” sounds a bit like an Irish-infused song, but never loses its country sound. Pay attention folks: this is how you experiment with sound without abandoning the genre. It’s a song about how despite all being different people doing different things, all of us are simply looking for someone to love, someone to complete ourselves.
“Die Fun” returns to the type of song that isn’t overly original in its themes or presentation. Again, Musgraves performs well and because the music is so traditionally country, it makes the song better than average.
“Good Ol’ Boys Club” is a true high point on the album. Musgraves waited until late in the album to pull this one out, but it was certainly worth the wait. This is a song about wanting her talent to speak for itself, and wants her success or failure to be her own and not be a part of who she does or doesn’t know.
Next is “Fine” and is about repeatedly waiting for a significant other to return to her side, repeatedly declaring that she’s “fine.” The album then closes with a hidden track, “Are You Sure,” a wonderful duet with Willie Nelson.
In the end, the album falls a bit short of Musgraves debut album. It may be unfair to call the album a sophomore slump. Musgraves first album was so brilliant, to expect the second album to surpass it or even equal it may have been too much to ask, but it felt like a little bit more effort could have gone into it at certain parts. There were only a couple of moments on the album that felt truly inspired or fresh. Luckily, Musgraves has such talent and the music is so decidedly country, it boosts the album to above average.