Golden Hour is Kacey Musgraves' 4th studio album that was released on March 30, 2018 through MCA Nashville.
The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and has received widespread acclaim from critics. At the 61st Grammy Awards, it won in all four of its nominated categories including "Album of the Year" and "Best Country Album."
- Slow Burn 4:06
- Lonely Weekend 3:46
- Butterflies 3:39
- Oh, What A World 4:01
- Mother 1:18
- Love Is A Wild Thing 4:16
- Space Cowboy 3:36
- Happy & Sad 4:03
- Velvet Elvis 2:34
- Wonder Woman 4:00
- High Horse 3:33
- Golden Hour 3:18
- Rainbow 3:34
Kacey Musgraves wrote and recorded most of the songs from the album throughout 2017; about the writing process, she said: "I have a lot more love songs this time around, and I've never been one to write a love song and really feel it."
Musgraves continued: "That probably sounds like the most depressing thing ever. [But] I'm coming off getting married and being in this golden hour of my personal life, where all these things are finally coming to fruition. I found myself inspired to write about this person and all these things he brought out in me that weren’t there before."
Some of the album was recorded in a studio above a horse stable owned by musician Sheryl Crow.
Musgraves' sister Kelly Christine Sutton took the cover photo for Golden Hour over a two-day photo shoot in and around their hometown of Golden, Texas.
Sutton (who also is credited with designing the album's packaging) has previously worked with Musgraves for all of her albums' artwork.
Of the cover photo, Sutton recalls that Kacey "wanted to use this paper fan, and we are usually on the same page with ideas, but I couldn’t picture it. We went out into this wide open field. We needed one with no trees, so there was sky only. Almost immediately after we reviewed the photos, we just knew we had it."
"Golden Hour" debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 and at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with 49,000 album-equivalent units (39,000 of that figure being pure album sales in its first week).
It marks Musgraves’ third number one album on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. It also debuted at #1 on Billboard's Americana/Folk Albums chart.
In the chart week following the 61st Grammy Awards (where "Golden Hour" won "Album of the Year"), the album sold 35,000 copies and climbed to number nine on the Billboard 200 chart.
In February of 2019, it has reached 310,000 in equivalent album units.
On June 28, 2019, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over 500,000 units in the United States. As of July 2019, it has sold 243,100 copies in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, "Golden Hour" debuted at number six on the official UK Albums chart and at number one on the UK Country Albums chart, making it Musgraves' first top ten album in the United Kingdom.
"Golden Hour" received widespread acclaim from music critics.
At Metacritic, the album has an average score of 89, based on 17 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic rated the album four and a half out of five stars and called it "warm and enveloping, pitched halfway between heartbreak and healing-but (it) lingers in the mind because the songs are so sharp, buttressed by long, loping melodies and Musgraves' affectless soul baring."
Writing for The Independent and rating the album a perfect 5 out of 5, Roisin O'Connor states the album is "a reminder that sometimes – often, if you're looking in the right places – life is beautiful."
Additionally, it was a Spin "Essential" and of the genre-bending songs on the album, reviewer Katherine St. Asaph calls it "not classicist, but perhaps it might be classic."
"Golden Hour" was rated #1 by the BBC poll of polls, a compilation of 'best of the year lists' across 35 music reviewers, on a list of the best albums of 2018. It also placed number one in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 2018.