My Favorite Album: Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura on Kacey Musgraves' "Golden Hour" | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, April 15th, 2021  

My Favorite Album: Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura on Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour”

"It reminds me of when I was a wee girl and I got into records for the first time, and listening to this album, I am envious of little kids getting into it."

Feb 07, 2020 Photography by Anna Isola Crolla My Favorite Album
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Kacey Musgraves’ previous records are a bit sweeter. I don’t want to call Golden Hour raw, but it kind of is compared to her earlier albums. It’s a bit more bare, a bit more real. To me, she writes really classic ‘60s pop songs, so strong, so powerful. Every trick in the book. I like that, the barefaced cheek of it, it’s a bit of an exercise in songwriting, really ticking all the boxes.

The thing I like about this record is the songwriting quality is so high-end. I don’t want to do her a disservice, I’m pretty sure she didn’t write 100% of all the songs, but it doesn’t matter, it sounds like people that really know what they’re doing, and it also sounds like somebody who is fresh and new. I get a real sense from her that she’s got proper soul. I just need to listen to the melodies and I can really tell that she has got so much input into those songs. Obviously, you’ve got the big intro, the big verse, the amazing chorus, you’ve got the fantastic middle eight, and an even better musical break. Every section of these songs is, like, “What the actual fuck, how can it be so good!”

I really like the production. On first listen, I knew I was listening to something that was very produced, I knew it was very polished, immaculate. But to me, there is a nice balance. They could have produced it in a really naff, super pop way and messed with her vocals, but I like the way that they left her vocals sounding very natural. I know some people argue that it’s all Auto-Tuned and crap like that, but I don’t think so, I think there is a nice reverb in the voice. Some of the reverb is absolutely beautiful. It’s not pure pop that’s coming out of the radio, there arenot glitches as in mistakes, but little bits of ear candy, it’s not all smoothed over and compressed to hell until she sounds like a robot. I think the production is very tasteful, it sounds classic but with modern elements.

There’s an element of melancholy and realness too, you get a real sense of the singer and how she sees the world. I think the lyrics are quite unpretentious. There’s an innocence to it, but wisdom as well. Sometimes it’s cliché and corny and makes me cringe, but I think that’s alright because I think it’s good sometimes to feel uncomfortable listening to music.

It reminds me of when I was a wee girl and I got into records for the first time, and listening to this album, I am envious of little kids getting into it. Eight-year-old girls like me when I was listening to Madonna’s first album, just listening to it again and again and again and knowing every second of it. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that and I love the innocence of that and I love the idea of somebody discovering Kacey Musgraves and her becoming their hero, like Madonna and Belinda Carlisle were for me.

(Tracyanne Campbell is a Scottish singer/songwriter, best known as the main vocalist in the recently reformed Camera Obscura, who came together in Glasgow in 1996 and whose most recent album, their fifth, was 2013’s Desire Lines. She is also one half of Tracyanne & Danny with Danny Coughlan, whose eponymous debut album was released in 2018 via Merge. Portions of Tracyanne Campbell’s conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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