Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
If you’re already a fan of Kacey Musgraves, you’ve heard most of this before.
“Biscuits” combines elements of “Follow Your Arrow” and “The Trailer Song”, advocating being yourself and minding your own business. Even the arrangement is a souped-up take on “Arrow”, with more of a beat and quite a few more instrumental flourishes.
It’s still worth a listen, as the lyrics are very clever and very country. The steel guitar breakdown toward the end is the most gloriously authentic country music I’ve heard from a major label artist in many years. “Biscuits” sounds like the first record Musgraves made after hitting it big should sound. It’s more confident and fully realized than even her best songs from Same Trailer Different Park, which straddled the line between debut album and demo collection in its delivery, great as it was.
I’m anxious to hear more from her upcoming album, which will hopefully carry over the confidence and the country while she covers some new lyrical and thematic ground.
Listen to the Studio Version at AllAccess.com (Registration Required). An acoustic version is below.
As I noted at Saving Country Music, Kacey Musgraves talking about marijuana, as she does briefly here, is like Florida Georgia Line talking about Fireball. This song covers no new ground, and it is simply a Same Trailer reject. The mind your own biscuits, and your life will be gravy line sounds downright petulant. A B- song at best. Yet, I will read Rolling Stone Country and New Yorker puff pieces about how she is the savior of country music. Whereas, Aaron Watson, who has the #2 album in country music, will see no such praise from mainstream critics.
I think this song is catchy and I enjoy the production, but I’m disappointed by the lyrics for the reasons covered in this review. It is definitely a retread of “Follow Your Arrow” and “Trailor Song”, both songs that I like, but have already been done well the first time around. I’m surprised this is being released as the lead single to her next album, because comparisons to those songs are inevitable. Furthermore, I’m afraid that releasing such a similarly themed song will cause people to dismiss what she has to say before she has a chance to prove that she has more to say.
Yes! New Kacey Musgraves! This one is definitely a bit of a retread, but it feels like a tighter, better executed Trailer Song (it’s definitely no Follow Your Arrow, though).
Good point, though, Truth. I’m sure brave folks like you were telling the same thing to Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle back in the 70s and 80s, as well. If you’ve mentioned weed in three songs (which is, of course, fewer weed references than ZBB has in any given album), you’re just a hack retreading old ground!
I do like this, but I was afraid this kind of “nothing-we-haven’t-already-heard” was what was going to happen when Kacey moved on to album #2. Granted, Kacey retreading old ground is nothing bad, she’s still one of the most insightful and unique songwriters in the genre with one of the most refreshing sounds, and if this were her debut single we would all be floored.
The one thing that bugs me about this song is that line “If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” It’s just so immature, especially coming from her. And considering that she’s already written a whole song calling out a nasty person, and basically telling them to go to hell (“Step Off”), it’s clear that she doesn’t take her own advice.
People are saying that “If You don’t have nothing nice to say” is immature, but I feel like it’s something that a grandmother would say. At any rate, it is, admittedly, cliché.
In general, I agree with you about the song, SRM.
Thomas, at no point did I suggest that marihuana has no place in country music. I am well aware of its long history in country music. Follow Your Arrow, Blowin’ Smoke, Silver Lining, and Biscuits each contain references to smoking. Don’t you think it’s a bit overdone at this point?
I’ll add that the biscuits and gravy line kind of makes me cringe. It’s a little too simple/cutesy for me.
This is one of those songs that is better than passable, but also not good enough to be a Thumbs Up.
Now, straight up, it’s unfair to give Musgraves demerits just because she is mining the same tropes of individuality and doing what you want to do no matter what anyone else thinks because……………after all…………..most recording artists of both genders have been rehashing the same tired subject matter for over two album cycles. And I’m not going to do that here.
Still, I have to admit that it is underwhelming, to say the least, that a half-assed reprise with only a semi-radio friendly punch is being designated the LEAD single of her forthcoming album. Because when you take into consideration that her most brazen and compelling single to date has been her debut (“Merry Go ‘Round”)………it would be a gross understatement to say I expected more upon her return. I was hoping for another wild swing, at least lyrically, and instead we got the same song and dance.
Finally, I have to wonder: “Who is this single for, exactly?”
I fail to see how this is for mainstream country radio listeners, because of the uncompromising production that strikes as a continuation from her denut major label album that radio mostly shunned. This will undoubtedly have a hot digital debut due to the inevitable fanboy/fangirl effect that accompanies lead singles from highly-anticipated artists, and may make the Top Ten of the mongrel “Hot Country Songs” chart due to the frontloaded sales…………but I’m pretty confident this also won’t be a breakout radio hit for her and will stall much like her three previous singles.
I also fail to see how this is for those who showered her with critical acclaim in the first place. This doesn’t take any real chances or say anything that hasn’t already been said. If anything, this is much more likely to discourage her critics.
So all I’m left with is the presumption this is really just “for her fans”. But wasn’t that why “The Trailer Song” was released as a digital-only single last year anyway? And that certainly was a better song than this.
What it all comes down is “Biscuits” is a competent release that, on paper and on tape alone, doesn’t make any mistakes and is a satisfactory all-around result.
But for an artist who was basically worshipped as a savior of country music relentlessly from late 2012 through early 2014 and buoyed by near-unprecedented fever pitches of hype, this simply won’t cut it.
I’m giving this a C+.
When I saw the song title, the first thing I thought of was the biscuits at the Loveless Cafe. In addition to their “Got Biscuits” t-shirts, they now offer “Takin’ Care of Biscuits” T’s. I got more excited about the new T than this song.
Never understood songs where people make judgements about people who make judgements.
It’s like ‘I don’t have a problem with anything – that’s right – anything anyone else does. Sin all you want to and expect no repercussions. I don’t judge. However, I’m very judgemental and critical of people who judge and criticize other people.’
Okay, that makes sense. Good luck with that.
Good point, caj. What kind of hypocritical jerk would tell people not to judge, because they might be judged as well?
Truth; again, Zac Brown makes so, so many weed references, and he’s doing fine artistically. It’s really no different from a drinking song, especially for someone like Musgraves, who almost certainly gets high more often than she gets genuinely drunk.
Thumper was cute enough to get away with quoting “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all.” Kacey Musgraves has the national media on her side to get away with it. It reminds me of Taylor Swift “Mean”.
I agree with Truth No.2. Saving Country Music hit the nail on the head about this song.
I would love to see a review on Aaron Watson here on Country Universe!
How many Zac Brown Band singles have weed references? I think there is a different between references on singles and album cuts. Singles reach a wider audience and can easily lead to a stereotypical label for an artist.
I am looking at the list of ZBB singles and only “Toes” has a weed reference, IMO. But I could be wrong.
Never been much of a fan of ZBB. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but they have a propensity to spend a little too much time on Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffet’s mythical island. Liked their last EP though.
They’re definitely more Southern Rock than country. I like their vibe, though, and think they do a good job of balancing commercial sure-things (Jump Right In, Knee Deep etc.) with “real” stuff (Colder Weather, All Alright, The Wind, Highway 20 Ride), and they’re always changing up their sound and experimenting, rather than resting on their considerable laurels.
Decent song with a confident vocal elevating it a little – I like the acoustic version here more than I like the actual studio recording. Acoustic version B+ – studio version C+