Fame, as a concept, is relative. Kacey Musgraves is easily the most famous person from the tiny East Texas town of Golden, but that undersells her stature in the world: the country singer is one of the most successful crossover artists the genre has produced in the past several decades, a superstar capable of headlining festivals around the U.S., and an Album of the Year Grammy winner. Put Kacey Musgraves in pretty much any space, and watch as all the light in the room attaches to her. 

Unless, of course, Taylor Swift is also in the room. 

On Sunday night, Musgraves—after several days of teasing an announcement—released a trailer for her long-anticipated fifth album of original material. The trailer is vintage Kacey: artsy, elegant, pastoral, weird. She rides a horse through a stream while soaking wet, hangs out with geese, and lazes about on grass that’s later revealed to be a backdrop for a photo shoot. At one point, she appears to levitate chunks of a mountain with the power of her mind; at another, she conjures an orb of pure light and floats it above her hands. At the end, we get a two-second snippet of a song in which Musgraves sings “My Saturn has returned” before the thing hits an abrupt end. As album teasers go, this is a good one, full of neat imagery that fits well with the artist’s overall vibe while also adding some new wrinkles to it. Kacey Musgraves is in her druid era! Cool. 

Minutes after Musgraves—who won a Grammy earlier that night, splitting the award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with Zach Bryan for their 2023 hit “I Remember Everything”—dropped the teaser on her social media accounts, though, the delicate balance of hype-building in our fractured attention economy went spinning out of whack. Taylor Swift, the biggest recording artist and very possibly the most famous human being on the planet, made a surprise announcement of her own: the hints she’d been dropping regarding an April release were not, as fans assumed, leading to the reveal of the “Taylor’s Version” recording of her 2017 album, Reputation. Rather, she declared from the Grammys stage, in her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album for 2022’s Midnights, the release in April would, in fact, be an all-new album. 

In the relative world of fame, Taylor Swift, at this moment, possesses more of it than virtually anyone alive. When she was crowned Time’s person of the year in December, the magazine made the argument that she is famous in a way that it was reasonable to believe humans couldn’t be anymore. She’s not famous the way that, say, Adele or Jay Z is famous. She’s famous the way that Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, and Princess Diana were famous, the kind of famous where you can pretty much show a photo of her to anyone anywhere in the world—a small child in Bogotá, Colombia, a grandmother in Karachi, Pakistan—and they will know who she is. Kacey Musgraves is famous, but she’s not Taylor Swift famous, because no one, outside of perhaps the previous two U.S. presidents, is that famous. 

Accordingly, scheduling a hype video at the exact moment that Swift stretches the very concept of hype is unfortunate timing. Search Google for “Kacey Musgraves new album” at press time and you will receive 4,710 results—a sure sign that the world is interested in what Musgraves is doing. Run the same search with Taylor Swift’s name in her place, though, and you’ll get 1,120,000 hits. 

Musgraves had no way to know when Swift would be making her announcement, but it’s pretty much the textbook definition of bad timing. Here is a short, inexhaustive list of things you’d want to announce at the same time Taylor Swift announced her new album: news of a significant data breach; the surprise resignation of your CEO amid a swirl of unspecified allegations; that your viral reusable drinking cup is actually made of lead; the abysmal sales of your VR headset; that you challenged Ted Cruz to a game of one-on-one and got dunked on three times. Not listed: the long-awaited follow-up to your most sophisticated and challenging album yet, hyped with artwork of your naked body lying in a field. We’ll look forward to Musgraves’s new album, but we suspect that she wishes Swift had waited to make her announcement until, say, the Super Bowl.