Written by Astrid Elstrom
It’s finally here! February 4th, 2022 is the day singer-songwriter Mitski released her sixth album, “Laurel Hell.”
The album has been highly anticipated since its announcement in November, following her two-year hiatus. Along with the release, she also put out a music video for her song “Stay Soft.”
Opening with “Valentine, TX,” it resembles “Carry Me Out” from her release "Bury Me At Makeout Creek," based on the instrumentals that start the song.
The first lines of the verse, “Once we're in I'll remember my way around / Who will I be tonight / Who will I become tonight / I'll show you who my sweetheart's never met.”
It feels like this declaration of “if you want a villain, I will give you a villain.” One of the main topics Mitski is tackling turbulence. Her relationships, her career, and just how those aspects turned out.
Many tracks from the album feature echoey vocals, sort of like singing down an empty tunnel. Songs where this is highlighted are “The Only Heartbreaker,” “Love Me More,” and “There’s Nothing For Left Here for You.”
It is so easy to get lost in the synth-pop instrumentals that it gives this free feeling, yet that upbeatness makes the songs tug harder at the heartstrings.
What is a Mitski album without a track with a funky disco beat? Stay Soft accomplishes that goal. Getting to the core of this song, it is ultimately about Mitski suggesting numbness to survive from a level of inevitable disappointment as you make your way through this life, “You stay soft, get eaten/Only natural to harden up.”
Putting my personal bias aside for “Working for the Knife,” some standout tracks are “Valentine, TX,” “Everyone,” and “Love Me More.” The reason being for the want of wanting more.
Overall, Mitski’s writing encaptures the feelings of someone who was forced to grow up too fast. Those who realize down the line they may have not made the wrong choice. Laurel Hell emulates the level of realism and pointedness of those who’ve learned from those tough decisions and underestimations.