Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Follow Your Arrow’ Lyrics Had Singer Worried About Backlash
Kacey Musgraves‘ influences — such as John Prine, Patty Griffin and Loretta Lynn — can be heard on her debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, mixed in with her unique songwriting style and free-spirit attitude. While she admires artists who “push people’s buttons,” the 24-year-old singer was worried about how fans would react to her lighthearted tune, “Follow Your Arrow,” which talks about marijuana and urges everyone to “love who you love.”
“At first, I was like, ‘There’s going to be backlash,'” Kacey tells The Boot. “I know a lot of people don’t really agree with those things, especially in the South. But there’s actually a lot less criticism towards that song than I imagined.”
See Kacey perform “Follow Your Arrow” in our studio below.
“You’re damned if you do / and your damned if you don’t / So you might has well just do whatever you want,” the Texas native sings into the chorus, “Make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that’s something you’re into / When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint / Or don’t / And follow your arrow wherever it points”
“I’ll play it at shows where there’s a huge age range of people and even the older people are getting into it,” Kacey explains. “More than anything, even if they don’t agree with the girls kissing girls thing or even the drug reference, I would hope that they would agree that no matter what we all should be able to love who we want to love and live how we want to live.”
The song focuses primarily on the hypocrisy of society, opening with, “If you save yourself for marriage you’re a bore / If you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a horr…ible person.” “It’s actually been really fun playing that one and seeing people’s reaction when they hear the first line,” she admits, referring to the assumption made after that long pause between the first and second syllable in ‘horrible.’
Her sometimes-risky lyrics have earned the singer-songwriter the ‘rebel’ label but she isn’t putting too much stock into it. “That makes me laugh,” Kacey says. “I’ve heard the word ‘outlaw’ and stuff. I’m just me. I naturally go against the grain of what’s been out there previously. That’s the only word that they want to throw at it or something.”