Not only is her music objectively amazing – but she is just seriously so cool.
About Mitski (from what I can discern): She’s Japanese and American and she sings and plays the guitar. She released her first two albums on her own (Retired from Sad, News Career in Business 2013 and Lush 2012). And since has released two more albums which everyone agrees are just the absolute shit (Bury Me Out at Makeout Creek 2014 and Puberty II 2016).
I first came across Mitski when my friend sent me a link to the music video for Happy. I was baffled and also instantly taken.
The songs opening is strangely uncomfortable/borderline unbearable – which is then juxtaposed with this killer sweet voice entering that’s saying all the truths in all the right ways. And just when you think you’ve got the lay of the land – in hits a giant, clamouring fan fare, obnoxious and demanding. Pretty much within the first thirty seconds of just one of Mitski’s songs all your previous musical understanding is in tatters and your brain is completely stretched in mesmorised glory!
I listened to Happy repeatedly for a while and it took me a while to venture beyond it – but as I’ve slowly absorbed more, the more emphatic about Mitski I’ve become.
For me, the enjoyment of Mitski’s music is it’s dangerously playful marriage of barely comfortable gigantic sound with the sweetness of her voice and melodies. She also appears completely fearless – she’s all there in all of it. It gives the impression of complete exposure. In my head I see her vividly ‘being’ and ‘creating’ – she’s 4D and technicolour. Her lyrics also, while feeling unique compared to other artists and unique in their honest recounts of a singular experience, feel powerfully relatable.
She’s making music like I’ve never heard and she’s saying things honestly in a way we all should be doing a lot more of all the time. Go and get her!
Here’s three track recommendations – if you do fancy getting your feet wet.
1. Your Best America Girl – this track is off the newest album and
seems to have everyone talking. It appears an account/working through of Mitski’s feelings towards her dual heritage as she sings ‘Your mother wouldn’t approve of, how my mother raised me – but I do, I think I do’. Boom!
2. Townie – this is off the album Bury Me Out at Makeout Creek. It sings of the coming of age moments where you’re defying imposed expectations and exploring your sexuality as a young woman – while also painfully becoming aware of the imposed restrictions that sexuality gives you. ‘And change, change, change is gonna come but when, when, when’ she sings. The video is also directed and animated by super cool Faye Orlove who really should have her own post..
3. First Love/Late Spring – again from album Bury Me Out at Makeout Creek – is one of my personal favourites. This is such a beautiful track in so many ways. It speaks to all of us at that stage of meeting someone special. It’s that moment when you teter on the edge of giving in to ‘love’ but can’t quite understand exactly what’s happened to your brain. And can’t seem to enjoy it either! ‘Wild woman don’t get the blues, but lately I’ve been crying like a tall child’.
I love ya Mitski – and I mean it.