Kacey Musgraves, ‘Merry Go ‘Round’ — Story Behind the Song
Kacey Musgraves' debut single, 'Merry Go 'Round,' reached the Top 10 on the country charts and was also named one of the Top 50 songs of 2012 (in all genres) by Rolling Stone magazine, which singled it out as a "bleak-but-clever take on small-town inertia and ennui."
Written by the Lone Star State native with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, the song invokes the name of Mugraves' debut album, 'Same Trailer Different Park,' which earned rave reviews and an armload of awards. Kacey says that 'Merry Go 'Round' isn't so much an indictment of small-town living or thinking as it is about regretting choices you've made.
"It started with Shane's mom talking about her neighbor," Musgraves tells The Boot of the song's origins. "She said something like, 'Well, I think she's either selling Mary Kay or mary jane or something down the street.' And we were like, 'There's definitely a song there.' So we started talking a little bit about small towns and how appearances tend to be everything, especially in a really conservative environment; people worry about what other people think.
"I feel like -- especially in small towns, but it happens everywhere -- when you're scared to leave what you know or are comfortable with, people tend to settle and stay in their comfort zone," she adds. "Later, that leads to resentment and just regret. It's just something that happens in life no matter where you are."
For those who really take the song to heart and find themselves in need of a change, Musgraves has some words of encouragement.
"Never settle," says the singer-songwriter. "I guess that would be my main message. Just know that there's more beyond what you're comfortable with and what you've been shown, and that you can do anything no matter how big or small your town is."