Mitski Miyawaki has been a staple of indie rock since the release of her 2016 album, “Puberty 2.” Over the years, Mitski’s music has been an anthem for mid-twenty-somethings experiencing some of life’s most strenuous challenges — depression, heartbreak and substance use.
Now 32, Mitski is continuing to make relatable, dramatic, slow-burn tracks on her newest album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We.”
A drink’s grip
The indie rock sensation wastes no time kicking off her album with “Bug Like an Angel,” a song about the dangerous comfort of substance use. She tells the listener that the titular bug — a metaphor for herself — is stuck in the bottom of her drink, like an angel that fell from heaven.
Mitski, a fallen angel, will drink every last drop in her glass if it will bring her comfort. She admits that “sometimes a drink feels like family,” and that’s why she can’t get herself to stop. She promises to stop drinking but doesn’t. While she gets satisfaction from having a drink, she assures the listener that the broken promise will “break you right back.”
Working hard, but you can hardly work
Mitski continues her theme of struggle with the third track on the album, “I Don’t Like My Mind,” which grapples with the toll a strong work ethic can take on someone.
When you’re a workaholic, even in your off time, there’s no sigh of relief. There’s only preparation for the next project. Mitski declares that she hates being alone with her thoughts as her restless mind reminds her of things she’s not proud of.
“I work myself to the bone / And on an inconvenient Christmas, I eat a cake / A whole cake, all for me / and then I get sick and throw up,” she sings. Mitski rewards herself for working so hard, only to expel it all because of her stress-riddled mind. She works tirelessly, but her mind can hardly work.
While tracks such as “Bug Like an Angel” and “I Don’t Like My Mind” show Mitski’s mastery with metaphors and storytelling, they were complemented by brain-massaging sounds and background music.
Unfortunately, for other tracks like “The Frost,” “Star” and “I’m Your Man,” the storytelling was present, but the background sounds weren’t appealing.The instrumentals and background sounds in these songs are too brooding and dissonant for the common folk’s enjoyment. That’s yet another wonderful aspect of Mitski; some parts of these songs may not even be meant to be enjoyed as a way of portraying her own exhausted brain.
“The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” delivers a slow, metaphorical journey into Mitski’s tired mind that will surely please longtime fans and win over new listeners.
Dylan Greco is the opinion editor and can be reached at email@example.com