“Pageant Material” opens with “High Time,” a song that does a pretty good job at letting listeners know what they can expect from this CD. She sings, “It’s high time/To slow my roll/ Let the grass grow and lean way back.” In the next verse, Musgraves adds, “Been missing my roots/ I’m getting rid of the flash/ Nobody needs a thousand-dollar suit to take out the trash.”
As I listened, it was pretty clear that she is going to do things her own way and she doesn’t care what others might think. In the title track, she seems to be perfectly content knowing that she’s cut out to be a pageant girl. She sings, “There’s certain things you’re supposed to know/ When you’re a girl who grows up in the south/ I try to use my common sense/ But my foot always winds up in my mouth.”
Musgraves also seems to use the song to give commentary on beauty pageants. She sings, “And it ain’t that I don’t care about world peace/ But I don’t see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage.”
The first single from the CD is “Biscuits,” a song that reminds people we should mind our own business. The thing that makes this song work, as well as other songs on the CD, is the clever lines and catchy rhymes. Musgraves is getting her point across, but she doesn’t do it in a demeaning way. However, this level of lyrical honesty is rare to find of mainstream country radio these days. Examine these lines from “Biscuits”: “Nobody’s perfect/ We’ve all lost and we’ve all lied/Most of us have cheated/ The rest of us have tried/ The holiest of holies/ Even slip from time to time/ We’ve all got dirty laundry/ Hangin’ on the line.”
“Good Ol’ Boys Club” teaches another lesson valuable lesson as Musgraves states that she doesn’t want to be given anything that she hasn’t earned. She uses the song to ask how it became more important to know someone that to have talent. The song contains lines like this: “I guess I’ve always kind of been for the underdog.”
There is a hidden track on “Pageant Material,” which is a duet with Willie Nelson called “Are You Sure?”
Musgraves has a hit CD in “Pageant Material” and it’s likely to add a few more songs to her list of hit singles. This is an album that is worthy of buying. Why? Simply because a handful of these songs will wind up on radio airwaves and nearly all of them have the ability to stand on their own.