No one saw it coming. Not even Kacey Musgraves. There’s a reason her shocked expression at the 61st Grammy Awards—at which she won Album of the Year—went viral. After all, her 2018 album Golden Hour had been, at that point, the riskiest of her career: A passion project dedicated to fresh love, one the singer made with a new team of producers, and a little bit of LSD. Yet Golden Hour unexpectedly became an award-winning platinum smash, turning Musgraves from a critical darling with a devoted fanbase to a global superstar. Produced by Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian—and recorded in part above Sheryl Crow’s horse barn—Golden Hour is a masterpiece of ethereal country-pop. The 13 tracks here run the gamut from psychedelic to disco-forward, all of them held together by Musgraves’ poignant, witty writing and gorgeously honed vocal delivery. Yet what’s so magical about Golden Hour is that, for all its progression, it never finds Musgraves abandoning the sounds that made her previous albums so electrifying and endearing. “Slow Burn,” in its minor-key opening strums, finds Musgrave pushing her trademark acoustic guitar through a kaleidoscope of new sounds, while “Space Cowboy” is a perfect country ballad—the kind of song that feels just as wandering as a lover’s desires. And the album’s closer, “Rainbow,” is a timeless offering of comfort to queer youth: “It’ll all be all right,” she sings. They’re the last words on the album—a potent parting gift. There are also plenty of thrilling surprises to be found on Golden Hour. “Mother” is a sparse meditation on parental love that’s barely a minute long—performed on a piano, and aided with a little bit of psychedelic drugs—while the cutting “High Horse” is a truly danceable disco tune. And though all of these songs are precisely written, Golden Hour finds Musgraves playing around with her sonic palate, slowing down and stretching out whenever she wants; inspired by the likes of Bon Iver, she even employs a futuristic vocoder on songs like “Oh, What a World.” With Golden Hour, Musgraves proved that country music could still stretch and reach new heights of imagination—and that millions of listeners were willing to come along for the ride. Oh, what a world, indeed.