• Record Label: MCA
  • Release Date: Mar 30, 2018
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Buy On
  1. Mar 29, 2018
    100
    It’s an album that imagines a world in which its author is the mainstream, rather than an influential outlier. It says something about its quality that, by the time it’s finished, that doesn’t seem a fanciful notion at all.
  2. 100
    Musgraves has always been a brilliant songwriter but she’s never sounded as confident as this; it’s as though a wall has been knocked down and a little of that bolshy attitude has been paired back to make for some of her most personal lyrics.
  3. 91
    Musgraves hits one high note after another on Golden Hour; her talent as a songwriter and melody-maker is second to none, and each song is thoughtful, well-formed, and a delightful experience on its own. Together, the tracks on Golden Hour add up to an honest, cohesive musical experience that will linger in your mind and heart long after the final notes have faded.
  4. Apr 11, 2018
    90
    It’s a waste of time to recount highlights though, because this whole album is essential, and to skip from one point to the next without experiencing the journey along the way is sort of the opposite of how Golden Hour deserves to be listened to.
  5. Mar 31, 2018
    90
    [A] knockout ... In a funny way, the radical optimism of "Golden Hour" feels far more rebellious than any of Musgraves' earlier work.
  6. Mar 30, 2018
    90
    Where she once had a compelling songwriting portfolio, here she has a compelling mood. That mood’s best described as “content.” ... It’s not a belting voice, but it’s a remarkable instrument, capable of imbuing with winsome empathy songs.
  7. Mar 30, 2018
    90
    On first listen, Golden Hour might be disappointing for a Musgraves fan who assumed that certain wry or retro traits were immutable. ... But on second or third review, it feels like she’s making exactly the right move by painting herself out of a corner, as lovable as that corner was. ... Maybe she’ll get back someday to her vintage Loretta Lynn fetish, but damn if she isn’t just as appealing as a folky Sade.
  8. Mar 29, 2018
    90
    Previously, her cleverness was her strong suit, but on Golden Hour, she benefits from being direct, especially since this frankness anchors an album that sounds sweetly blissful, turning this record the best kind of comfort: it soothes but is also a source of sustenance.
  9. May 7, 2018
    89
    Throughout, the 29-year-old Lone Star ambassador tucks the hallmarks of her roots--winsome steel guitar, rambling banjo, acoustic guitar--into genre-hopping, the elements present and persistent enough to make the album, at its core, country. Purists will disagree, but if anyone insists on calling this Musgraves' crossover, they must admit this: Golden Hour is a crossover done right.
  10. Apr 2, 2018
    87
    Less concerned with outside forces than internal balance, Golden Hour stands as an assured, artful snapshot of a particular rush of feelings, but its wisdom speaks volumes to Musgraves’ ongoing evolution.
  11. May 23, 2018
    80
    Golden Hour is a bedazzled, wide-eyed rush.
  12. Mar 30, 2018
    80
    Though Golden Hour might take time to relax into, the set is a fine lava-lamp soundtrack, and if "country" suggests engaging American musical traditions with respect and pioneer spirit, then this album is as country as it comes.
  13. Mar 28, 2018
    80
    An album this endlessly chill might get boring in a less talented songwriter’s hands, but Musgraves never fails to draw listeners into her reverie.
  14. Mar 30, 2018
    75
    Nashville pros help with the production and songwriting, and they keep this album from becoming quite as radical a statement as it might have been. Tracks such as “Wonder Woman” and “Velvet Elvis” drag “Golden Hour” back toward assembly-line country-pop. The singer is best when she upends convention.
  15. Apr 18, 2018
    70
    She does blur the country influences to the point where they're almost unrecognizable, which does broaden her audience even if it diminishes crucial aspects of her personality. But as Golden Hour quietly unfurls, it makes Musgraves's intent all the more potent.
  16. Uncut
    Mar 28, 2018
    70
    Golden Hour doesn't carry quite the same bite as either 2015 predecessor Pageant Material or 2013's Sam Trailer Different Park, preferring a more loved-up vibe that favours pillowy sophisti-pop over bittersweet country. [May 2018, p.30]
  17. May 9, 2018
    60
    Whilst tracks like "Butterflies" and "High Horse" offer the best of what Musgraves can do in terms of balancing her obvious charm against a certain steely underbelly that has served her so well so far in her career, all too often, Golden Hour delivers a lackluster vibe and a feeling that Musgraves has become too infatuated with the pop side of her artistry and is beginning to forget about the things that made her so interesting and worth investing in in the first place.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 304 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 304
  1. Mar 30, 2018
    9
    We all remember the huge stir Kacey Musgraves caused in country music with her first major-label release, "Same Trailer Different Park" backWe all remember the huge stir Kacey Musgraves caused in country music with her first major-label release, "Same Trailer Different Park" back in 2013, a record so timeless that won her her first Grammys and that we sill blast until this day. She was back in 2015 with her sophomore effort, "Pageant Material" which contained even sharper country melodies (Musgraves herself dubbed it "country as **** at one point) and corkier smart lyrics that established her as one of the finest lyricists on the scene, and, at the same time, one of country music's biggest rebels.

    With her third album (fourth, if you count her Christmas album), Kacey announced that she was switching things up a little, and making a record less about rebellion and small-towns, and more about her actual state: being in love, getting married, and focusing on all the beauty laying around.

    The lead-singles were there to assure us that, however changed, Kacey's never gonna make a song that's less than absolutely extra-ordinary: 'Butterflies' is a sweet (and catchy) love song about falling for the man she ended up marrying, while 'Space Cowboy', with all its instrumentation, smart wordplay, and lyrics like "boots weren't made for sitting by the door", is a real tear-jerker.

    So yeah: "Golden Hour" indeed sees Ms. Musgraves taking a different approach in making music: she uses a vocoder on the intro of 'Oh, What a World', which is a grand track about appreciating all the magic in the world, she places a nearly-one-minute-and-a-half track as a sort of ode to her mother five tracks deep into the project, and she goes for a country-infused disco sound on 'High Horse', which turns out to be an absolute success. Pretty unusual things for a Kacey Musgraves album, aren't they?

    However, there are some aspects that are still reminiscent of Musgraves' older works. Album opener 'Slow Burn' feels like it could easily fit into "Pageant Materiel"'s whole narrative, with lyrics such as "Texas is hot, I can be cold / Grandma cried when I pierced my nose", while 'Happy & Sad' sees Kacey reflecting on not enjoying the good times in fear of the lows that will surely follow, because, you know, that's life.

    As a whole body of work, "Golden Hour" is a cohesive, well-written and beautifully-crafted collection of songs that are all at the same time fun, reflective and relatable. Whether it's a little fun song about showing off the man she's in love with ('Velvet Elvis'), or depicting struggles, salvation, and learning to let go ('Rainbow'), Kacey sounds just as confident and as mature even without her deep country roots; and "Golden Hour" proves that it might be, in Kacey Musgraves' career, just what its title suggests it is.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 14, 2018
    9
    Brave moves! Instead of bringing a hard, typical country sounds, Kacey incorporates some other genres in which made them more calming andBrave moves! Instead of bringing a hard, typical country sounds, Kacey incorporates some other genres in which made them more calming and hypnotizing. She sings so beautifully pure without any auto-tune, and the lyrics and the melodies are flowing in harmony. It is a modern country album, so a lot of people may consider the existence of modern beats in it; Yet it's nothing to be worried about, since the production team are doing their great work on the album. The first listen of entire tracks in the album will make feelings of homesick, love of nature, nostalgia, happiness, and sadness at the same time. Full Review »
  3. Mar 30, 2018
    9
    As always, Kacey Musgraves loves to break boundaries. In "Golden Hour", she embraces new elements (pop/rock/disco) so much for the first time,As always, Kacey Musgraves loves to break boundaries. In "Golden Hour", she embraces new elements (pop/rock/disco) so much for the first time, but sings so naturally that you'd thought she's been singing these kind of songs for years. At the same time, her songwriting is still her strongest weapon : raw, clever, and literate.

    "Lonely Weekend", a song about having fun while one's alone, pop sounds of the old-Taylor Swift appear here and there. However, with the honesty and the casualness of the lyrics, Kacey knows how to make herself shine, definitely a different way, comparing to T-Swift. In an interview, Kacey also said that she "mixed future and traditional sound" in this album, and that appears in "Oh, What a World", which starts with a Daft Punk-sound, and it would sure make your eyes widened at first listen. The highlight of the album, "High Horse", has a disco sound perfectly mixed with guitars and banjos, which is already critic's favorite.

    We all know that Kacey just got married, which influenced a lot in the concept of her new music. The album opener, " Slow Burn", sets the stage that this album is going to be chill and comfortable to listen. In both "Oh, What a World" and "Love Is a Wild Thing", the beauties of the world are described as magic. Not to mention the pure love songs : "Butterflies" and "Velvet Elvis". We've never seen her being so in love before, this IS her golden hour, the kind of music her fans have been waiting for for so long. Still, some of the best lyrics appeared in "Space Cowboy", a song about letting go of someone who wants to leave.

    As a whole, Kacey takes us through the ups and downs of life, as usual, with clever lyrics that brings freshness every time you listen to it. While this time, she adds new music elements that shows her ambitions. We can't wait for her next step.
    Full Review »