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‘Ribbons And Bows’ by ‘Kacey Musgraves’ Explained

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Released: 2016

In the effervescent “Ribbons And Bows” by Kacey Musgraves, we find a classic Musgraves paradox wrapped in a catchy pop package. This tune jingles with the holiday spirit but underneath the tinsel, it’s a love song that asserts the true worth of human affection over material possessions. ‘Cause guess what kids, love doesn’t need a barcode.

Let’s unwrap this, shall we? Kacey sets the stage with the line “Don’t need ribbons and bows to cure my woes“. This sharp little lyric sassily juxtaposes seasonal gifting with emotional healing, underlining that the most precious and effective ‘gift’ is not something you can tie a bow on.

She follows this theme with the pretty transparent “Expensive rings or diamond things“, a clear nod to the custom of gifting lavish items. But again, she brushes these materialistic tokens aside, reinforcing that her true desire is authentic love.

Aligning Musgrave’s incisive wordplay and wry humor, she thumps “a shiny new Mercedes would look nice in my driveway“. Despite the surface allure of such luxury, she insists that the rare find she cherishes is not stuff you can order off a sales rack or showroom but is instead an emotional connection – elusive, precious, and uniquely hers because – “Baby, it’s hard to find, and it’s already mine“.

There’s a delicious irony in the chorus, where the titular “Ribbons and bows” are twisted into metaphoric bandages for her emotional wounds – but they’re not the cure – her lover’s affection is. It’s as if she’s saying, you can try wrapping up my heartaches with your fancy paper and shiny string, but that’s a mere placebo. The real medicine is love.

Moving on, Musgraves puts up a scene of the beauty salon, where ladies brag about their flashy acquisitions. Here, the singer walks in “dripping in their bobbles and trinkets and their whosits and whatnots“. It’s a biting comment on how people often equate love and happiness with the tangible and expensive. Yet, Musgraves repeats her own truth – the one thing she craves isn’t something you can grab off a retail shelf.

Lastly, the line “No, I don’t need much under the tree, Oh, but you can light me up” emphasizes that her lover’s presence is the real gift – the one that ‘lights’ her up from the inside, not the glittering baubles under the tree. It’s a striking play on the classic holiday imagery, with the ‘tree’ and ‘lighting up’ serving as metaphors for the cheer that true love can bring.

In essence, “Ribbons And Bows” sweetly subverts the traditional holiday narrative of materialistic excess by putting a sparkling spotlight on the irreplaceable and inestimable value of love. It’s Kacey Musgraves, folks – candy-coating biting social commentary in a festive pop confection.

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