Mitski’s newest album refreshingly reflects growth

Just over a year ago, Mitski released her sixth studio album “Laurel Hell” after a four year hiatus that began as an indefinite pause from making music. Although we now know that this previous album was simply a contractual agreement with her record label, “Laurel Hell” was a reminder to Mitski of her love for music, rather than the industry itself. This is clear in Mitski’s new album “This Land is Inhospitable and So Are We.” Her passion for lyrical craft shines through, reminding us of the deeply resonant relatability to Mitski and her songs. 

Mitski’s album starts strongly with “Bug Like an Angel,” in which she softly sings over an acoustic guitar while a strikingly powerful choir backs her vocals. She imbibes the song with themes of loneliness, religion and alcohol with lines such as, “Sometimes a drink feels like family.” Touching on the rawness of broken promises and self-destruction, yet being reaffirmed and connected through the choir, this song is like an angel from above. 

Mitski becomes sentimental and personal in “My Love Mine All Mine.” She takes a break from the anxieties to simply swoon, exploring feelings of love and longing. She uses imagery of the moon shining through a small hole in a tent as a means of setting up a deeper meaning for a love so heavenly, yet normal.

She gives space to acknowledge her love, “Nothing in this world belongs to me / But my love is mine, all mine.” She takes time in her work to simply admire her devotion to her partner. Yet, she also acknowledges the love she must hold for herself first. 

Mitski’s first two albums “Lush” and “Retired from Sad, New Career in Business,” were all self-released. Photo courtesy of @mitchellwojcik, Instagram

Further delving into love and loss, her song “Star” also describes a love, albeit one that is no longer romantic. She describes love like a star, one that is gone to the naked eye, but still shining no matter what.

The painful loss of a previous relationship does not numb her to the warmth that came from having loved. She is reminiscent, not regretful. Her lyricism shines in the lines “That love is like a star / It’s gone, we just see it shinin’ / It’s traveled very far.”

Mitski beautifully sings about the reality of no longer wanting to love someone as a partner, but still holding them fondly in your heart. She also sings of finding peace and forgiving her own insecurities and doubts.   

One of the most emotional and familiar Mitski songs is “I’m Your Man,” in which we see her seemingly self-destructive thoughts sour a relationship, and her regrets afterwards. She contemplates the feeling of being put on a pedestal, then ultimately ending up disappointing the person, writing simply but with powerful resonance “I’m sorry I’m the one you love.”

Revealing her own self awareness to herself and her self-destruction, she genuinely apologizes to her partner that she is the one they have chosen when she cannot match the depth of their feelings. She grapples with her own turmoil and feels that she has let down the person who loved her the most.

She ends her song over background noises of dogs barking, simply singing “You believe me like a god / I betray you like a man.” This reveals that she cannot love herself enough to truly stay happy with the one who treasures her. 

Overall, Mitski’s album is a beautiful, lyrical piece of music that speaks volumes about relationships and her own insecurities as a musician and person. Her albums have always touched a deeply uncomfortable yet relatable piece of consciousness that ultimately leaves you in a state of catharsis and with a new understanding of yourself. Her album is a deeply human reflection of herself, while also providing growth and confidence that is refreshing and real.


5/5 stars  

Featured photo courtesy of @mitchellwojcik, Instagram