I always wonder where song ideas come from. Especially the ones I love, like Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow.” Like, did she wake up in the middle of the night one night with a musical hook in her head? Did she think of it in her car? Did some random stranger says something to her — like “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, so you might as well just do whatever you want” — and she thought it would make a cool lyric? I can’t speak for all songs, obviously, but I now know this Musgraves tune started out as a poem.
“It started off as a poem, honestly, for this friend who was going off to Paris for four months studying,” Musgraves said in a recent interview. “And she was leaving everything she knew behind, going to a foreign country, didn’t know the language. I gave her this little arrow necklace, and I wrote a little poem and it had ’follow your arrow’ in it, ’kiss lots of boys,’ and it kind of started there, but it turned into a bigger idea.”
Much bigger. And yet even though it started out as something so simple, it sounds to me like the kind of country poetry that always leads to the top of the charts. The song was one of the last ones that Musgraves recorded for her debut album Same Trailer Different Park. But thank God that one little arrow necklace led to a song this big.