“Merry Go Round” might have put her on the map, but for the past eight months, another song has reigned as Kacey Musgraves’ unofficial signature. Another song has generated ample critical discussion, driven legitimate discourse and provided an anthem for her fanbase.
“Follow Your Arrow,” that song, finally makes its formal debut at radio this week.
Mirroring the clever, disillusioned wordplay of “Merry,” the empowerment song sets the stage by addressing the futility of pleasing societal convention. If one is considered a bore for remaining abstinent but a (w)hor(e)…rible person for engaging in premarital sex, how can one possibly select the right path? If strict sobriety makes one prude but drinking automatically makes one a drunk, how can one possibly win?
Because one simply cannot please the entirety of society, she is better off following her arrow wherever it points. Even it means kissing girls and smoking joints.
“I couldn’t be more proud of creating ‘Follow Your Arrow,’” said Musgraves. “Sonically and musically it’s where my head’s at right now, and I’m really enjoying connecting with people all over the world that agree. It’s a positive anthem for all of us and I’m so excited to be sharing it with everyone.”
An inspiring, endearing, welcome anthem in a world preoccupied with superficial judgment, neither its core message–nor its specific examples–are groundbreaking. With states beginning to legalize marjiuana and same-sex marriage gaining so much acceptance that prominent political leaders are now proudly offering their support, Musgraves’ tolerance for the two hardly puts her on the fringe.
Or, at least, it shouldn’t. While Musgraves’ sentiment would be right at home in many entertainment, a February Billboard piece revealed that country programmers might have issues with the content.
“This is not only pushing the envelope, it’s where the envelope gets mailed to,” said programming consultant Mike O’Malley.
Another added, “It’s a shame that such a fine piece of music won’t find its way to a number of stations.”
But Musgraves, influenced by acts like Loretta Lynn, has never been about conformity. Given that fact–and the buzz surrounding the song–it seemed inevitable that “Arrow” would eventually ship as a radio single.
That conceptual inevitability drifted closer to reality this August when, in a Twitter poll, Musgraves’ followers overwhelmingly declared the song the best choice for her third “Same Trailer Different Park” single (following “Merry Go Round” and “Blowin’ Smoke”).
And though the content might hurt spins in some markets, the controversy over the lyrics will likely fuel them in others.
Musgraves’ rising star will provide further assistance. Already a media darling and fan favorite, Musgraves’ stock will surely ascend after the upcoming Country Music Association Awards, at which the singer-songwriter joins Taylor Swift as the most-nominated act.