It was nothing short of inexplicable how ‘The Trailer Song” didn’t find its way onto Kacey Musgraves’ debut major label release. After all, the album was called Same Trailer, Different Park. The song was perfect for it. It fit right in with the other songs, without being too close for comfort with any of them. The whole trailer park motif is what Kacey’s been sporting all across the country on tour: rolling out Astro Turf for a stage rug and putting up little miniature-sized white picket fences around her drum riser. She plays “The Trailer Song” all the time, and whether you dig the tune or not, it’s hard not to admit it fits perfectly with the little kitschy niche she’s carved out for herself. And if she wasn’t going to put “The Trailer Song” on Same Trailer, where would it show up?
Hard to argue that “The Trailer Song” omission did Kacey too much damage however. She can sit back in her house in Nashville, maybe imbibing in a little respiratory refreshment, and stare up on her mantle to the Grammy and Academy of Country Music statuettes the album has won her. But as critically-successful as Same Trailer, Different Park has been, it still feels like a few opportunities were missed, including with “The Trailer Song”. And if we’re going to talk about the successes, let’s fairly point out that even with a Grammy and ACM sales bump, Same Trailer has still yet to crest that 500,000 plateau that puts a gold record on your wall. It will happen though, and despite its absence on the album “The Trailer Song” just might help.
When the 4th single from Same Trailer, Different Park “Keep It To Yourself” was released in March, I almost wanted to laugh. Decent song, but it never had a chance on country radio. It still eeked out a #32 showing on the airplay chart, and #40 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, but like many of country music’s female performers, Kacey Musgraves has a singles problem. Even her game changing song “Merry Go ‘Round” never cracked the Top 10, despite an impressively-elongated stay on the charts.
Aside from “Merry Go ‘Round”, which still came out so much before Same Trailer that it didn’t aid album sales as much as it could have, I have second-guessed every single Kacey Musgraves single release. Like an angry computer tech, I’ve wanted to lean on the should of whoever is in charge of A&R at her label while condescendingly ordering “move!” so I can supplant myself at the helm. Sure, they delivered Kacey a few pretty important trophies, but otherwise it seems like Mercury Nashville is perfectly clueless of what to do with her, despite otherwise putting their machine totally behind her.
“The Trailer Song” is nothing special. But it shows off Kacey’s infectious and endearing wit, and her keen sense of perspective. And it’s catchy, and kitschy, and so very Kacey, and deliciously Country with a capital ‘C’ in both approach and sound. Is “The Trailer Song” a hit? No. But neither was “Merry Go ‘Round”, and it still became one because it was just weird enough to work.
Kacey Musgraves, who skipped her opportunity to perform at the ACM Awards in April because producers only wanted to give her 60 seconds, took the opportunity of a Jimmy Fallon slot to perform “The Trailer Song” to a national audience. The performance comes ahead of a big moment for Kacey, as she takes the stage with pop star Katy Perry for a CMT Crossroads performance ahead of a short tour with Katy this summer. Many country folks are up in arms over the pairing, but just appreciate they call the CMT program “Crossroads” for a reason, and cross genre collaborations are the entire point. And the Katy/Kacey pairing seems to be more playful than a paradigm shift for Kacey—the fact that she’s debuting arguably her most country song to date in “The Trailer Song” being solid evidence that this is the case.
Again, “The Trailer Song” is nothing special. But if given a chance on country radio, I tend to think it could actually compete if given a proper nudge.
1 1/2 of 2 guns up.
“The Trailer Song” is available on iTunes.