Review – Kacey Musgraves’ “Biscuits”

Kacey Musgraves Biscuits

The rise of Kacey Musgraves in the last couple of years has been fun to watch. Her debut album Same Trailer, Different Park was a smashing success and earned critical praise from music critics everywhere. Not to mention she has also earned a lot of hardware, from the ACMs to the Grammys. Her approach of progressive themes in her music has earned her praise from LGBT groups and helped elevate close friend Brandy Clark to the mainstream realm. All of this after her debut album. You don’t see too many artists accomplish so much at the beginning of their careers. So with all of this in mind, the anticipation for her sophomore album is high. We all get a taste of her second album in the recently released debut single from it, “Biscuits.” Now a lot of people have weighed in already on this song and I’m probably one of the last to throw my two cents in. Nevertheless let’s take a look at this new song. (Side note: The reason I waited is because I like to hear the studio versions of songs when reviewing them. The live version doesn’t always match up with the studio version.)

Right away you’ll realize that the sound of the song is similar to past Musgraves tunes. It’s upbeat, fun and decidedly country. By the way, how does Musgraves get left out with radio play? Country radio is obsessed with upbeat, fun songs right now and “Biscuits” fits the description. Yet it languishes near the bottom of the chart. Oh yeah, it’s too country. Alan Jackson’s “Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song” is looking more fortuitous with each passing day. Back to “Biscuits,” the instrumentation is great. To me it’s the perfect balance between country and being radio-friendly. While the instrumentation is good, the lyrics however are not so great. We’ve heard this song before from Kacey. The first version was “Follow Your Arrow.” Then it was the cruder “The Trailer Song” released last year as a standalone single. Now we have “Biscuits,” which is only different in the fact that is uses several food comparison. All three songs are about judgmental people who should mind their own business. Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark wrote all three songs too.

I find the chorus line/hook of this song to be quiet hokey: “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.” It just feels so cliché and easy. It feels like something I could have come up with and I’m by no means a songwriter. I think the biggest thing I took away after hearing this song was as soon as it ended I said to myself, “This is it?” I just kept waiting for something more to happen and it just feels like the song is stuck in the starting gate the whole song. Even Musgraves sounds bored singing it. This song just doesn’t have any meat for a listener to sink their teeth into. The only thing this song really made me feel is hungry. It made me want to get biscuits and gravy, but not listen to this song.

“Biscuits” is not the single I wanted to hear from Musgraves. This also isn’t the single that will enthuse more people about her new upcoming album nor get radio play. This is a song that just hovers above average and never really goes anywhere. I wanted to hear something with more fire and gusto, as we haven’t seen a lot of this from Musgraves. In fact one of the biggest criticisms I hear from fans is she seems to lack charisma at times. This is one of those times. Is “Biscuits” better than a lot of songs on the radio currently? Yes, but that isn’t saying anything at all because country radio is going to hell in a handbasket right now. I hope Musgraves and her team choose better on her next single. “Biscuits” just leaves me feeling empty and wanting more.

Grade: 6.5/10

10 thoughts on “Review – Kacey Musgraves’ “Biscuits”

  1. Zack March 18, 2015 / 11:14 am

    That hook is just really dumb, I’m sorry…. just bleh…. Never been much of a Musgraves fan but this is just boring

    Anyway Josh and/or Derek, if you had your choice between buying Gretchen Peter’s “Blackbirds” or Allison Moorer’s “Down To Believing” which one would you buy? I have only enough money for one right now and I was curious, as I trust both of your judgements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott March 18, 2015 / 11:19 am

      I’m actually going to listen to Moorer’s album later today, so I couldn’t tell you how good it is yet. But Peters album is great and is quite dark. I can give you an answer on which one later today when I’ve heard Moorer’s album.

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  2. Raymond March 18, 2015 / 11:48 am

    Yeah a 6.5 this song when I heard it felt way too bland too stand out. I like Kaceys voice and production but the song feels gimmicky. If there is one thing that’s bugging me when listening to this song is how will this get Kacey back in the radio Follow Your Arrow bombed didn’t even make Top 40. While it’s not quite as “offensive” as Follow Your Arrow it still doesn’t seem like her song will chart that high. Due to it not being quite as radio-friendly.
    Grade 6.5.
    Prediction Charts. Country Airplay: Top 40 not Top 30. Oh Kacey please have this be the exception instead of the rule.
    Great job with this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NoahHibiscusEaton March 18, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    While I respect your decision to wait until the day of the single’s OFFICIAL release to review it………..the studio version has been out in the open for nearly three weeks now and has already charted on the Country Airplay chart.

    *

    Anyway, as you already know, I’m quite underwhelmed by this.

    Mind you I was among a minority of reviewers who refused to buy the hype that Musgraves is a savior of modern country music, and actually found her debut major label album to be the most overrated country album of 2013. I mean, it was an all-around strong effort, but the praise was absolutely hyperbolic to be blunt, and I gave the album a favorable but comparatively modest 7/10. I LOVED the lead single, and she doesn’t commit any egregious errors on the album…………but at the same time, Laird’s production is quite lightweight and generally lacks teeth and………I’m sorry………but some of Musgraves’ lyricism is actually just as lightweight and lacks substance. “Follow Your Arrow” was probably the most overrated single of 2013 to my ears for just that reason, and other tracks like “Stupid” and “Step Off” were too juvenile for me to get into.

    So, when I heard the lead single from her sophomore album was coming out, I was certainly hoping for another cannonball with the kind of audacity of “Merry Go Round”, or some sort of artistic growth statement.

    Instead, we get a regurgitation of “Follow Your Arrow” meets “The Trailer Song”.

    *

    Lyrically, look. I’m glad we have anthems that are raising awareness about bullying and aspiring to defuse it.

    But as far as the merits of this song alone are concerned, this is just so………hackneyed. It seems like she’s leaning on a thematic crutch just like Eric Church is when it comes to playing the outspoken answer-to-no-one outsider card; with forced lines like pissing on another’s lawn to maintain that street cred. Nothing terrible, mind you, but……………the Musgraves/Clark/McAnally gambit is really growing stale by this point.

    And as far as the production is concerned, this sounds like a reprise more than an artistic progression. In fact, it sounds most like a B-side from the cutting board of the “Same Trailer, Different Park” sessions, than a proper lead single. That is to say, it’s pleasant enough and has some nice banjo touch-ups………………but it doesn’t rouse or inveigle me either, all the same It’s what I epect out of a deeper cut in the latter half of an album.

    Finally……………….look, it may just be that my radio receptor is admittedly weak often, but…………………when I heard this on the radio for the first time Monday evening, it sounded like Auto-Tune was applied to her vocals………….and it was painful listening to the song then. Which is weird, because I don’t recall obvious Auto-Tune listening to it on YouTube. Either my radio is really bad, or a radio programmer decided to add Auto-Tune on a single edit? =/

    *

    So yeah…………………call me shamelessly biased against Musgraves all you want if you are one of her many deifiers……………………..but I’m greatly underwhelmed with this release.

    5.5/10 to my ears, and I’m not confident I would recommend this. I would instead suggest first-timers check out “Merry Go Round”, “Back On The Map”, “Undermine” and “It Is What It Is”.

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    • Josh Schott March 18, 2015 / 1:33 pm

      I agree that Musgraves’ debut album was overrated and many people gave it way more credit than it deserved. I would give it a higher grade than you though. I would grade it an 8/10. I wanted more songs like “Merry Go Round.” Her choices for singles were very underwhelming. “Blowing Smoke” in my opinion was the weakest track on the album along with “Step Off.” “Keep It To Yourself” didn’t need to be a single either. I would’ve rather seen “Silver Lining” and “Back on the Map” released as singles.

      I also agree that the troika of Musgraves/McAnally/Clark written songs is getting old and she needs to avoid leaning too much on this formula, otherwise we continue to get more songs that sound the same as previous songs like here. But I think the reason this troika is relied on so much is because of Clark’s recent rise and McAnally’s success in writing radio hits. It’s no secret Musgraves has struggled to find success at country radio in her career so far and I think her label is pressured to perform better at radio on this album. But Musgraves chasing radio play is the wrong choice. Country radio simply refuses to embrace female artists no matter what they do.

      Regardless I’m intrigued to hear what direction Musgraves takes with this new album.

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      • Scotty J March 18, 2015 / 6:18 pm

        Shane McAnally is fast becoming the most overrated songwriter in country music. Really his entire credibly is tied to Clark and Musgraves because if you take them out there is a lot really bad stuff he’s been involved with.

        I’m not sure what I thought the lead single would sound like but I was hoping that somebody could meld the best of the last album with a little more dynamism. Instead she seems to be releasing lesser versions of the same song repeatedly. It really is hard to know where to place blame for some of her missteps. Is it the label for releasing so many questionable singles? Is it the producer for not bringing out more from Kacey? Or could it be that this is all she is?

        It almost feels like she gets so much praise as a great artist in an attempt to make it true. Kind of if it’s said enough then it will be true.

        Hopefully the whole album will be better but this song is leaving me cautious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton March 18, 2015 / 11:58 pm

        Here’s how I would grade the four singles from that album (not including “The Trailer Song”: a stand-alone digital single)

        *

        1) “Merry Go ‘Round” – 10/10 (It’s THAT good! She definitely deserved all the hype she received for her debut release.)

        2) “Blowin’ Smoke” – 7/10 (Lyrically, it came across as pretty puerile and unimpressive to me. But as far as production is concerned, this was one of the most interesting moments on an otherwise vanilla-sounding album, and I can’t help but like the way it suddenly stomps once you get to the bridge. That actually clicked for me.)

        3) “Follow Your Arrow” – 6/10 (It sounds pleasant enough, and it definitely has more energy compared to virtually the entire rest of the album. I like the sweetness of Musgraves’ vocals in this, too, even as outspoken as she comes across. But lyrically, this didn’t impress me whatsoever. It is entirely built on binaries and some lines just come across as judgmental anyway even when the message is intended to be all-inclusive. It just didn’t really work for me. It’s just passable, and I remain at a total loss why countless critics deified it as a “Song of the Year” contender! Really? REALLY?!!! (shrugs shoulders) =/

        4) “Keep It To Yourself” – 6/10 (This is just……………..there to me. It sounds pleasant, way too pleasant actually, and I do enjoy Musgraves’ vocals once again. But it’s, all in all, such an unremarkable song with a sentiment that fails to produce a real punch of emotional payoff. The delivery is just too sweet and tender, when the material calls for a more nuanced reading. All around, it’s a rather flat, passable result.

        *

        Musgraves direly needs to shake up her choice of collaborators. She’s already starting to sound stale, which is NEVER a good sign when you’re only on the heels of your sophomore full-length major label effort.

        And it’s ironic that it sounds like she’s trying to chase radio, yet this is hardly radio-friendly to my ears at all. I thought that if Katy Perry were to teach Musgraves something very useful, it would be how to maintain her convictions and individuality while also learning how to sharpen her hooks and choruses for broader accessibility. But it looks like we’re going to have to wait longer to see if she did indeed learn anything from Perry if greater commercial visibility is one of her goals this era.

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  4. bob March 18, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    My comment on another blog’s review of this song: 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.
    I was not one of those overwhelmed by her debut album. I only bought two songs, Merry Go Round and My House. I’m not impressed at all with her vocal ability. Brandy Clark is a far superior singer to my ear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pete Marshall March 20, 2015 / 7:06 pm

    7/10 for me this song sound like “Follow your arrow” in a way.

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