“Gracias a la Vida” by Kacey Musgraves
“Gracias a la Vida” is a song which, as Kacey Musgraves has pointed out, was written by an author, the late Violeta Parra, who committed suicide shortly thereafter. That’s a strange fact considering that the title translates to “Thanks to Life”.
And accordingly, this song features the vocalist celebrating various aspects of being alive – the small things we can say – that she really appreciates. For instance, there’s the love of/for her significant other, with romance being alluded to in both the first and second verses.
Also there are the various sounds, both natural and manmade, that she come across. Or put differently, she is expressing appreciation for being “given [an] ear”, and we can postulate in general the acute senses we human beings possess. Likewise, in the third verse Kacey relishes the gift of language and family. Overall she gives thanks to the Most High for granting her life.
The second half of the song is based on a similar sentiment. However, this time around the vocalist also recognizes the less-than-ideal aspects, such as tiredness and depression, which also tend to be part and parcel of the human existence. So it’s not like she just relishes the good things. Rather, the singer recognizes life in all of its fullness.
So even though Violeta Parra’s death has nothing to do with the meaning of this song, it’s still interesting to note that she committed suicide not too long after dropping what went on to become “one of the most-covered Latin American songs in history”, presumably due to so effectively relaying an appreciation for being alive.
Perhaps amidst the depression she was dealing with, Parra sought out to document the basic benefits of being alive to stave off self-destructive thoughts. And at the end of the day, the narrator doesn’t take an unrealistic approach by pretending that everything is all gravy. No, there is “good [and] bad” in the human experience.
But conclusively, she unequivocally comes to the conclusion that being alive and aware is a blessing in and of itself.
Facts about “Gracias a la Vida”
“Gracias a la Vida” was written by a mid-20th century musician from Chile named Violeta Parra (1917-1967). It was originally released by the songstress, in recorded form, in 1967.
Kacey Musgraves’ version came out on 10 September 2021. The said version was part of her 2021 album “Star-Crossed”.
In talking about the song, Kacey heaped a lot of praises on Violeta Parra. She also praised another South American singer, Mercedes Sosa, who covered this song in 1971.
She then went on to explain that she decided to drop her own rendition while, amongst other factors, being “on a mushroom trip”. Wait a minute! What does she really mean by that? We hear you ask! Apparently she is in fact referring to getting high on psychedelic drugs.
Musgraves produced this track. She accomplished the feat alongside two of her regular collaborators:
- Daniel Tashian
- Ian Fitchuk
And the labels behind her cover of Garcia a la Vida are Interscope and MCA Nashville.