If you are like me—a Kacey MusHead absolutely jacked on the holiday spirit and also harboring a potent disdain for the Amazon corporation as a whole—this is somewhat of a complicated Christmas season, what with the Amazon Prime release of The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show and all.
Do I try to avoid Amazon, even though their infrastructure hosts, like, half of the internet? Yes. Am I upset that Kacey is headlining this weekend’s Intersect Fest when other artists dropped out and formed the “No Music for ICE” boycott? Yes. Do I look at Jeff Bezos and see a shiny-headed nightmare specter standing upon the smoldering ruins of late capitalism, laughing all the way to the (blood-of-18-year-olds) bank? Yes.
But also, does my slightly depressed ass need a little boost of intellectually vacant sparkle right now? I mean.
So I borrowed a friend’s Amazon Prime password and had some thoughts about a special specifically designed to be void of thoughts. Here is my log—nay! my Yule log—of passing observations.
- The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show (currently available to stream), crackles to life with a winking homage to the production of Christmas specials. An American tradition! Here comes a meta behind-the-scenes glimpse showing switchboard operators flicking on different screens as they announce various celebrity guests, call out “Action!” and point at screens with directorial gusto. Showbiz, baby! I shriek at the screen, startling my small dog. Inject it into my veins!
- Except, hmm. Now I’m thinking about actual showbiz, baby, and how this was filmed presumably on a miserably hot late summer day in Hollywood, and by Hollywood, I mean Burbank, probably. I itch, thinking of the sweltering soundstage, of sweat dropping from smooth armpits in feathered lace jumpsuits… the fake-snow blizzards blasting inside while outside it was all heatwaves and fire smoke until just weeks ago… how we seem to… forget these things with the passing of just one rainstorm, or with the release of just one Christmas special on a major streaming platform… and I couldn’t help but wonder... if secular Christmas is just a factory... of both fantasy... and amnesia…
- Oooh! The set is so good! It’s a cross-section of a human scale dollhouse with monochromatic rooms like the Madonna Inn until you look too closely and it gets a little too Pier 1. Real heads know: it’s like her Instagram stories come to life. You know when she gets in that pinning mood and she lets it rip on the gram like it’s Tumblr in 2013? Her story notches get narrow as a pixel. So hyper. I love her for that. Go off, as they say.
- Is perhaps Kacey too cool of a girl to have the charisma volts needed to power this thing? It seems to be the case. Whatever. I feel like she’s the hot girl in high school who got cast in the recital but she can’t break her own real-life character to generate the kind of cornball fuel (thespian ethanol, if I may?) that this kind of project runs on. This functions better as a festive music video channel than it does as a show, tee-bee-achj.
- Whoa whoa whoa, what is this—the Kacey MusLegs ChrisGams Special? Have yourself a Very Leggy Legmas, my good bitch! After all, Leg is, historically speaking, the most iconic limb of the season. I’m thinking Vera-Ellen’s impossible sticks in White Christmas. I’m thinking Rockettes. I’m thinking of the light-up fishnet gam from A Christmas Story. To this, I grant: Solid entry into Christmas Leg Canon, Kacey.
- Things this show is, also:
Kacey Musgraves’ Fashion Show
Kacey Musgraves’ Christmas Recital
Kacey Musgraves’ Pinterest Account
Kacey Musgraves’ Barbie Cosplay
- I wish there were Muppets. Or like, I feel like Lizzo should be here. Where’s Lizzo? She seems like the perfect holiday special guest. Oh well.
- Ribbons and Bows, an original from her 2016 Christmas album, is the most festive number and it is also the last. There goes our Kacey, vacuum-sealed inside a shimmering beaded jumpsuit, prancing through each room, attempting mild choreography, greeting the Rockettes who appeared out of nowhere and dancing with her very sweet Nana who did a very good job with her lines until a male dancer ripped her away to do the final number in the lobby. I would describe this song as Target commercial-core.
- It seems obvious at this point, but Kacey’s certainly tapping into the Cher nostalgia of the moment. I mean, *waves towards shiny sheet of hair*. She’s no entertainer like Cher was on her own shows, and though that’s okay, I’ll admit she has the vision, but maybe not the range. You ever watch a Sonny & Cher Christmas Special just to soak up that holiday wistfulness, cast in the grainy amber of ’70s film? Is it the texture that makes it? The throwback outfits? The classic songs? Kacey’s trying to access this mood, no doubt, but nostalgia’s mysterious algorithm of aesthetic and age is elusive to a production so shiny and new.
But hey. Perhaps this special will age, and we’ll watch Kacey’s Christmas Recital featuring Forgotten Celebs of the Twenty-Teens again in a dozen years, with our anxious young families, gathered ’round the Yule log, which we cannot actually light anymore because California fire season will stretch into the holidays, and the only grocery store left is Amazon Foods, and we can wish for these simpler times—yes, 2019 is a guaranteed, classified future simpler time—when we could soothe or nausea about it all with this little dose of candy pink Pepto from the miracle of the mind behind Golden Hour. I told a friend that after writing down these thoughts, I felt blank inside. “She’s hollow inside, then?” he asked. “No!” I shrieked, once again, startling my small dog. “You can have a rich, abundant interior life and still produce absolutely vacant content!” I sighed. “I do it all the time.”
Dylan Tupper Rupert is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.