New Album, New Mitski

Dead Oceans Studio

Dead Oceans Studio

Paige Collins, Graphic Editor

Mitski’s new sixth album, “Laurel Hell”, which takes on a refreshing twist from the singer-songwriter’s former somber tone and lyrics, dropped on Feb. 4.  


The album title, “Laurel Hell” is meant to describe the Southern Appalachians in the U.S. where laurel bushes bloom. Although the blooms are beautiful, the bushes are lethal with thorns and have been known to even kill people. Mitski found the contradictory nature of them fitting for the album.


“I liked the notion of being stuck inside this explosion of flowers and perhaps even dying within one of them,” Mitski said in an interview on the “Zane Lowe Show” in Nov. of 2021. 


This album is an amazing return  after a three  year break from music. Mitski felt that she needed to step back because she was no longer passionate about the music she was making.


Track two, ‘Working for the Knife”, which was released as a single before the album came out, describes how she’s reluctant to return to music after the hiatus. The lyrics,” I  always knew the world moves on/I just didn’t know it would go without me” describes her feeling of being exiled from the pop culture scene, but she was living for the music she created, even though it hurt.


The song continues with“I’ll see a way to change/That I’m living for the knife.” which  is slightly country themed, nodding to one of her fan favorite albums “Be The Cowboy ” and waving it goodbye as she’s ready to work on something new, really conveying the message of the album the best.


The overall focus of  this new album is  new beginnings, whereas previous albums contained topics like the struggles of being a POC woman in America, loneliness and the crushing expectations of fame. Mitski stated  she wants to progress  from the style of melancholic music to songs about moving on and becoming new.


“I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself,” said Mitski in  a Nov. 9 2021 article by Scott Russell in  Paste. 


Mitski looks back on her decisions as a musician in track four, “Everyone” which describes Mitski’s more unconventional life as a musician and how everyone said she shouldn’t take that path.  She describes in the song how when she was young and naive, she gave all she had into her music,”And I opened my arms wide to the dark/I said, “Take it all, whatever you want.” 


“Everyone” shows she surrendered her heart and soul to her music and felt it was killing her love for the performances and music. She conveyed this message through the reminiscence of the older sadder music, making this song a punch in the gut for the audience, bringing  the emotion to the main point of the album.


Overall, The album is an incredible comeback from a hiatus for Mitski, and hopefully, the start of a new, happier era of music from her. 5/5 stars