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Mitski's Beautifully Complex new Album

Mitski’s new album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, is hauntingly beautiful and feels simultaneously like some of her previous music while also bringing something very different creatively. The songs give a strong sense of nostalgia and remembering memories that you might otherwise want to forget. She has said that she wants to evoke America and memories of traveling to more forgotten places. The American sound is there from some country twang in The Frost to a gospel choir in Bug Like an Angel. Love is also a common thread in the album from lost love to current love to self-love, it weaves its way throughout. Finally, self-growth and reflection is a huge topic and is probably my favorite part of the album.

This album truly feels like Mitski’s most mature yet and is very nostalgic and powerful. The songs evoke simple feelings and yet make them strangely unique. In I Don’t Like My Mind she brings up eating a whole cake on a lonely Christmas something truly melancholy and deeply relatable. It evokes the idea of being in your 20s or 30s and alone on a holiday you have no one to share with. One lyric that I found myself strongly affected by was “You’re my best friend. Now I’ve no one to tell, how I lost my best friend” in The Frost. I’m sure many people have lost a best friend and felt lost after it happened especially if they have no one else to turn to. It is something so painful and difficult and Mitski flawlessly puts it to sond.

Different scenarios that bring up a uniquely American view are strewn throughout the album. In Buffalo Replaced she not only brings up actual buffalos running through the plains, she also brings up freight trains and fireflies like highway cars. The images conjure up a certain view of America, the working people and countryside and midwest truly separated from cities and the glamorous side of the country. In When Memories Snow she conjures up the idea of suburban America through shoveling the driveway and then driving to the store. It is a true America one so many live in and yet doesn’t seem to be brought up in this way very often. This view is something I truly appreciate having grown up in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, it shows a real perspective.

She also includes love in so many forms throughout the album. It is often through haunting memories or wanting to hold on to something that she doesn’t have. Heaven is the first song that explicitly discusses love in the album. It discusses feeling like being in Heaven when you’re with the person you love. The song is quite sweet which shifts after this song into more bittersweet and at some points resentful. The most popular song from the album My Love Mine All Mine is a bittersweet-sounding love song, but she has expressed that instead of a song to someone else, it is for herself and the love she gives to others. It is a beautiful sentiment that despite what happens to her she keeps this love for others and herself inside and refuses to lose it. However, the implication of a love song to someone else is still there and I think it does not take away from the meaning Mitski intended. Another melancholy but reflective love song is Star. She brings up a past love and how she will always harbor feelings for them inside because they are worth holding on to. The song after is a jarring transition from this reflective song to a more resentful-sounding one. I’m Your Man discusses destroying another person who loves you and self-resentment for this action. It almost reminds me of something someone would say during a breakup about deserving to be left because of how awful a person they are. The ending is strangely beautiful changing from angry dogs chasing to a child’s laugh and playful yips. The last song is also a love song but falls more under self-love and growth.

The topic of self-reflection throughout the album is incredible and quite complex. Bug Like an Angel brings up drinking to cope and family issues. The last few stanzas discuss wrath and God something that often go together and Mitski seems to evoke towards herself. I Don’t Like My Mind, is personally my favorite song as the first few lines hit me quite hard. “I don’t like my mind, I don’t like being alone in a room. With all its opinions about the things that I’ve done. So, yeah, I blast music loud, and I work myself to the bone.” There is something about this that deeply resonates with me as I’m sure it does with many people. The reflection of knowing this and being able to put it into words and something Mitski does so flawlessly. The song right after, The Deal is also at the top of my list. It discusses walking alone late and night and the thoughts you have. She brings up wanting to give up her soul as it is weighing too hard on her at the moment. That thought of wanting to give it all up that you can only have late at night, alone in your thoughts, is deeply personal just like so many of the songs on this album. Finally the last song, I Love Me After You shows the growth and change a person can go through. It discusses being your person and continuing living after a change like a breakup. The personal autonomy and willingness to move on and love yourself no matter what are such important ideas. So many Mitski songs discuss sorrow, heartbreak, anger, fear, and resistance to change and this is a beautiful change of pace. I think this ending perfectly encapsulates Mitski’s growth and how she is no longer who she was 10 years ago as many expect. It is such a fitting end to this amazing album.

Written by Kat Reed

Photography by Jenna Hazelwood and Thea Weiner

Creative Director: Jake Pranian

Production Management: Amy Kapel

With designs by @cata_._torres and @an.thelan on Instagram

Makeup: Kindra Kirsch

Talent: @alannahciera_ @maerama @ilima.s on Instagram

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