Single Review: Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow”


Kacey Musgraves

Written by Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

Fresh off of her Grammy sweep, Kacey Musgraves has serviced one of her strongest singles yet to country radio. Golden Hour has been widely praised for its sonic innovations, but what’s most interesting about the album is its underlying tension:  How does a wounded soul reconcile their well-earned cynicism with their newly found unconditional love?

“Rainbow” closes out the album and completes that reconciliation.  Sung to a person who has weathered so many storms that they don’t even know it’s stopped raining, it’s also a quiet suggestion that it’s our point of view that can lead us to see only the storms that surround us: “You hold tight to your umbrella, but I’m just trying to tell ya that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.”

You can insert an easy parallel to country radio here, something along the lines of bro country being the storm and women being the rainbow that could save the genre if the powers that be would only look in their direction.  But even if we were still in the nineties heyday of women dominating the genre, Kacey Musgraves would stand out as a formidable and unique talent worthy of being a core artist for the genre.

I don’t know if the Grammys will turn the tide for her at country radio.  They certainly continued to ignore O Brother Where Art Thou? and the Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way after they won the Grammy’s biggest prize.  The good news is that in 2019, we don’t need to wait for radio to come around to access and enjoy the best that country music has to offer.  If you’ve been curious as to why Musgraves has enjoyed such wide critical acclaim, “Rainbow” is a great place to begin your discovery of her work.

Grade: A


  1. One of the best songs I have heard in a long time by a younger artist. It’s so simple and I always believe country is best with it’s simplicity.

  2. @ Kevin:

    I very much agree with your assessment about Kacey’s chances of getting further airplay at country radio in the wake of her big Album Of The Year win, which, by the way, puts her in the rarefied air of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, and is only the third time a Country act has won that award in the last fifty years. But I also agree too that we really don’t need country radio to validate quality anymore, especially since their continuing obsession with what remains of the Bromeisters at the expense of the womenfolk renders that segment virtually irrelevant now (IMHO).

  3. …swiss country music monthly “country style” magazine featured kacey musgraves on the cover of its latest issue (end of january 2019), labelling her as “country’s next superstar”. the cover story’s title was: “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…” refering to “golden hour”, ms. musgraves new sound, her previous music/songs and… her.

  4. I just love this song more with each listen. I completely agree with the assessment of Kacey as being an artist who would have stood out even in the nineties glory days.

  5. American Country Countdown Chart

    Week of February 25, 2019
    New on the chart at Number 40, Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (how high will it go on this chart?)
    The 40 hottest hits based on the official Billboard Country Airplay Chart powered by Nielsen

  6. @bob the song is still being promoted to country radio. The song is less than 2 months old. Still seems to be gaining just fine.

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