Kacey Musgraves dropped a new heartbreak anthem called “Justified” on Friday (August 27), along with a music video in which she tries to heal from the loss of a relationship.
The video begins with a Musgraves driving solemnly through a desert while listening to a commercial on love counseling from the car radio. As she cruises down the road, she passes through several different environments and weather: a green-lit tunnel, a snowy forest, rain, an urban city, and an autumn highway.
Her outfits also switch to represent the climate and landscape. In the desert and tunnel, she wears a white dress. During the winter, she wears a denim jacket or a flannel. In the city, her face is covered by large shades. “If I cry just a little and then laugh in the middle / If I hate you and I love you, then I change my mind,” she sings. “If I need just a little more time to deal with the fact / That you shoulda treated me right / Then I’m more than just a little justified.”
Her phone continuously pings with cruel reminders of her past relationship. Written in all-caps, the notifications are spam about forgotten memories, the honeymoon phase, the day of the breakup, and her denial. She keeps getting distracted, despite the song’s warning: “Don’t go for your camera roll.” The video concludes as she attempts to swerve away from a potential car crash.
“Justified” is the second single off Musgraves’s forthcoming fifth studio album Star-Crossed, which is set to be released on September 10. In a February cover story for Rolling Stone, Musgraves revealed the album would be structured like a Greek tragedy and have a grave tone due to the turbulent state of the U.S. and the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This last chapter of my life and this whole last year and chapter for our country — at its most simple form, it’s a tragedy,” she said. “And then I started looking into why portraying a tragedy is actually therapeutic and why it is a form of art that has lasted for centuries. It’s because you set the scene, the audience rises to the climax of the problem with you, and then there’s resolve. There’s a feeling of resolution at the end. I was inspired by that.”
Working on the album was also a form of therapy and healing from her recent divorce from country singer Ruston Kelly, and that sentiment is echoed in her new single and its music video. “[The marriage] just simply didn’t work out," she said. "It’s nothing more than that. It’s two people who love each other so much, but for so many reasons, it just didn’t work. I mean, seasons change. Our season changed.”
Star-Crossed will follow her 2018 studio album Golden Hour. The album was critically acclaimed, debuting No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top Country Albums and Folk Albums charts. At the 2019 Grammy Awards, it won all four of its nominated categories, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Kacey Musgraves will also join a long line of performers at the 2021 Video Music Awards when she performs her single “Star-Crossed” live for the first time on September 12.