On her major label debut Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves famously declared, “Love is stupid, don’t know why we always do it,” in the song “Stupid.” Since then, the Texas native has stuck to mostly cynical observations about love – excepting Pageant Material‘s starry-eyed “Late to the Party” – and its after effects. Musgraves broke with that tradition during her January 21st visit to A Prairie Home Companion, singing about the thrill of new love in an unreleased song called “Butterflies.”
“I’ve never played this one before, but I wrote this about the week after I met my now fiancé,” she explains in the full broadcast, acknowledging her romance with fellow singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly.
Given an added sense of weightlessness by the acoustic arrangement on PHC, “Butterflies” floats like the titular creatures as Musgraves describes her ordeal. She was stuck, listless and complacent until she fell for this person, reeling both from the off-kilter sensation of butterflies in her gut and transforming into someone new. “Now you’re lifting me up instead of holding me down, stealing my heart instead of stealing my crown,” she affirms in the chorus. Given Musgraves’ penchant for wry humor, it’s simultaneously surprising and endearing to hear her adopt the earnestness of Fearless-era Taylor Swift.
“Butterflies” is the first glimpse Musgraves has offered at new music beyond 2015’s Pageant Material. In late 2016, she released A Very Kacey Christmas, her quirky first-ever holiday collection.