Kacey Musgraves ‘Deeper Well’ reviews: Album is a ‘revelation’ and an ‘exercise in melodious tranquility’

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Is Kacey Musgraves‘s new album, “Deeper Well,” a return to form? Her “Golden Hour,” which reveled in wedded bliss, was critically hailed and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. But then her follow-up “Star-Crossed,” which chronicled her divorce, received somewhat less enthusiastic notices and only scored two noms. Now three years later comes her latest studio release, which dropped on March 15. What do music journalists think of this one?

“Deeper Well’s” reviews are currently more in line with “Star-Crossed” than “Golden Hour,” though “Golden Hour” would be a tough bar for any artist to clear. As of this writing “Well” has an impressive score of 79 on MetaCritic based on 11 reviews counted: nine of them positive, two somewhat mixed and none outright negative.

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Roisin O’Connor (The Independent UK) is the most effusive, calling “Deeper Well” a “revelation” compared to “the somewhat limp results” of “Star-Crossed.” The album “comes in the wake of considerable tumult for Musgraves,” and she’s “dabbling in psych-pop, folk, rock and Americana along the way,” but she “finds a way to keep it cohesive.”

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Chris Willman (Variety) is also a fan, arguing that this collection “almost counts as a return to a ‘Golden Hour’-style exercise in melodious tranquility,” though she’s more “gunshy” about love than she was on that effusive record. Eric Bennett (Paste) agrees that, “‘Deeper Well’ serves as a much-needed course correction for Musgraves — both personally and artistically” after “Star-Crossed.”

Laura Snapes (Pitchfork) has a more muted response to “Deeper Well.” She thinks it’s an “endlessly pretty” album, but “her inquiring eye, once so sharp on hypocrisy and sanctimony, is now a bit rheumy,” and she wishes Musgraves had gone in “more compelling directions” that are only hinted at. And while Jonathan Bernstein (Rolling Stone) actually thinks “Deeper Well” is a “daring swerve” as opposed to a course correction, he thinks “the end result is uneven.”

But it seems that the worst anyone can say about the album is that it’s just okay. And most writers are quite a bit more positive than that. Time will tell if music listeners and her industry peers will feel just as positively.

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