Kacey Musgraves' songs are some of the best-written in contemporary country music. The singer-songwriter was kicking around the fringes of the music business for years, releasing three independent albums and competing on Nashville Star in 2007, but she rocketed to national prominence with her major-label debut, Same Trailer Different Park, which bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart when it was released in March of 2013.
Since her debut disc, Musgraves has released two more albums: Her sophomore project, Pageant Material, hit No. 1 on the charts, and her 2018 release, Golden Hour, earned the top spot as well. She also dropped a holiday album, A Very Kasey Christmas, which quickly became a fan favorite, in 2016, and has written songs for other artists, as well as for television.
From world-weary cynicism to upbeat anthems of self-acceptance, our list of the Top 10 Kacey Musgraves Songs shows off her versatility and diversity as one of country music's most talented female artists.
"High Horse"From: 'Golden Hour' (2018)
Country meets disco in "High Horse," which comes off Musgraves' third studio album, Golden Hour. The flirty tune kisses inequality in a relationship goodbye with Musgraves' usual spunk.
"Undermine"From: 'The Music of Nashville, Season 1 Volume 1' (2012)
One of the musical highlights of the first season of TV's Nashville was "Undermine," which Musgraves co-wrote with Trent Dabbs. Performed by Hayden Panettiere and Charles Esten, the song is a perfect blend of strong melody, classic country instrumentation and a well-crafted lyric that says, "It's a whole lot harder to shine than undermine."
"Blowin' Smoke"From: 'Same Trailer Different Park' (2013)
"Blowin' Smoke" centers around a group of waitresses talking trash while on a smoke break from work. A perfectly drawn skewering of how people talk about aspirations that they will never act upon, it features a number of classic lines, such as, "Brenda's traded smokes for cake / Still hasn't lost that baby weight / And that baby's 'bout to graduate from college."
"Step Off"From: 'Same Trailer, Different Park' (2013)
Musgraves tells condescending hypocrites exactly where they can go in this banjo-heavy tune. The cheeky lyrics are a perfect representation of the fearlessness that Musgraves injects into all of her music.
"Rainbow"From: 'Golden Hour' (2018
This ballad's production gets a pure, raw treatment for a reason: With a lyric this airtight and a melody this ethereal, you don't need any bells and whistles. Musgraves co-wrote "Rainbow" with Nashville heavy hitters Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby, and the song is especially important to her because it was the last that her grandmother heard her write. "Rainbow" was performed at Musgraves' grandmother's funeral.
"Space Cowboy"From: 'Golden Hour' (2018)
Taking a turn from her usual fare, Musgraves delivers heartache in the beautiful, soaring song "Space Cowboy." The song comes from her latest album, Golden Hour.
"Biscuits"From: 'Pageant Material' (2015)
"Mind your own biscuits / And life will be gravy" might be simple, but it's darn perfect. Following in Musgraves' consistent theme of refusing to bow to the judgement and expectations of others, this song helps the star pushes social boundaries in the most friendly and pleasant way possible. Who wouldn't want to follow this advice?!
"Mama's Broken Heart"From: Miranda Lambert's 'Four the Record' (2011)
The fourth single from Lambert's Four the Record was "Mama's Broken Heart," which Musgraves wrote with frequent collaborators Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. The song is a modern-day breakup scenario: "Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a breakup / Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady." It reached No. 2 in Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
"Merry Go 'Round"From: 'Same Trailer Different Park' (2013)
Musgraves' debut single was a sharply cynical observation of life in small-town America, where couples marry and live and die in a cycle of inertia and ennui: "Mary, Mary, quite contrary / We get bored so we get married / And just like dust we settle in this town / On this broken merry go 'round." Written with Josh Osborne and McAnally, the song reached No. 10 before its parent album was even released, launching Musgraves on a trajectory as one of country music's most respected newcomers.
"Follow Your Arrow"From: 'Same Trailer Different Park' (2013)
Musgraves' major-label debut is chock full of witty, observational songs that challenge the stereotypes of Nashville and country radio -- but none more so than "Follow Your Arrow," which encourages the celebration of individuality, saying, "Follow your arrow wherever it points." The song's acceptance of same-sex relationships and marijuana use might have made it problematic for radio, but it quickly became a fan favorite.