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Mother Mitski: An Album Review

Jaela Staker’s biased opinion on Mitski’s newest album: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is Mitski’s 7th studio album and is produced by her longtime producer, Patrick Hyland. After she announced an indefinite retirement in 2019, fans thought Laurel Hell was going to be her last album, but just a year after Laurel Hell, she came out with this heartbreaking banger. Mitski shares in a video that this is the first record where she, “absolutely stopped caring about what other people think” and is most likely the reason it is so loved. It is a very short album with only 11 songs and a 32 minute runtime. There is a very heavy undertone and theme of religion in the album and it is her most “American” album yet. It is very folky and organic sounding and at times has a slight country ring to it. Her poetic lyricism creates sweet love songs like “My Love Mine All Mine” and painful songs like “I Don’t Like My Mind”. In my eyes, this is a perfect album.

1.Bug Like an Angel: “Bug Like an Angel” is the first song on the album and also the first song to be released. The song starts off with just an acoustic guitar which is followed by Mitski’s voice and a piano keeping it very minimalist. It is about addiction and broken promises and it sets the recurring theme of religion for the rest of the album.

The first time I heard the song’s chorus I felt like I should have been levitating. The instruments stop and it is just Mitski with a choir singing behind her, it is so powerful. The lyricism is strong and gut-wrenching and paints a very vivid image in your head of what Mitski is trying to say. It is a perfect way to start the album.

Favorite Lyric:

I try to remember the wrath of the devil/Was also given him by god”

— Mitski

2. Buffalo Replaced: “Buffalo Replaced” is the first song Mitski and her team created. Mitski explained in a video  that they used “Buffalo Replaced” as, “a guide or reference for the rest of the album,” along with the tone and sound. She continues with her theme and usage of bugs in this song. It is about free will and recklessness with a message of unstoppable industrial change.

Again, the lyrics are gut-wrenching yet beautiful. The sound in this song is much more upbeat and slightly western but her voice is still soothing and angelic. Mitski states that they were heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground, a rock band from the 60’s, while writing this song, which is very prevalent in the musical style.

Favorite Lyric:

I’m suckin’ up as much of the full moon, so bright.”

— Mitski

3. Heaven: “Heaven” starts off with comforting instruments and Mitski’s angelic voice that makes you want to sway along to the melody. It still has a slight country sound to it with romantic lyrics that feel like poetry. It is a love song about wanting to prolong this feeling of heaven on earth. There is a quick switch up in the middle of the song in which the sound feels intense and tough and makes you want to stomp to the beat rather than sway, and then returns to the normal, soft sound the song displays.

Listening to this song truly feels like the title, “Heaven”. It is so warm, comforting, and soothing. It was hard to pick a favorite lyric because each lyric has so much meaning and force that makes you feel it so deeply.

Favorite Lyric:

Now I bend like a willow thinking of you.”

— Mitski

4. I Don’t Like My Mind: “I Don’t Like My Mind” hits hard. It gets straight to the point with its direct and honest lyrics. The lyrics are a lot more straightforward in this song than most of her other songs, but they are striking nonetheless. Her voice is strong and overpowers the instruments embedded in the song. The instruments are quite sweet without the lyrics and if you took the lyrics out, the song would be more pleasant rather than harrowing.

This song hits so hard because it is so raw and something many people can relate to, not wanting to sit alone in a room and face their thoughts. The emotion you can hear in her voice and her yell-singing makes it even more personal.

Favorite Lyric:

Inside the walls of my skull waiting for it’s turn to talk.”

— Mitski

5. The Deal: “The Deal” is the longest song on the album which is most likely due to the fact that she is telling a story. It begins with a quiet guitar and ends with loud drums which could represent the journey Mitski goes through in the song. Her voice is washed out by the sound of the drums at the end of the song which makes it a burning ending. It is the most traditional Mitski song on the album based on the sound and lyricism.

She paints a somber picture in our minds of her walking alone in the night asking for someone to take her soul. Its dark and lonely theme paired with Mitski’s moving voice and intense production makes this song extremely emotional.

Favorite lyric:

Your pain is eased but you’ll never be free.”

— Mitski

6. When Memories Snow: “When Memories Snow” starts off very abruptly and quickly. It is the shortest song on the album with no chorus, just two verses. The song is loud and fast-paced with a lively production. The first verse is simple with just her, a piano, and a choir but it becomes much more energetic in the second verse with many more instruments and a more commanding voice. It ends as fast as it begins.

Mitski uses snow to represent her memories and how she represses them in her mind. There is no stopping the snow from coming just like there is no stopping the memories from coming back. It is another song that makes you want to collapse to the ground.

Favorite lyric:

And when memories melt/I hear them in the drainpipes.”

— Mitski

7. My Love Mine All Mine: “My Love Mine All Mine” is my favorite song on the album. From the production to the lyrics, this song is perfect. It is a love song about how being able to love is the best thing you can do. Mitski wishes to send her heart up to the moon so her love can remain forever. She explains in a video that, “To love is the best thing I ever did in my life” which is such a wonderful thing to live by. It is such a sweet song that, like “Heaven”, makes you want to sway along to it.

Beautiful is the one word that perfectly describes this song. Her voice is so comforting and breathtaking and the sound of the song is tender, so when they are put together it creates a flawless song. The only bad thing about this song is that it ends.

Favorite Lyric:

Moon, tell me if I could/Send up my heart to you?”

— Mitski

8. The Frost: “The Frost” pulls us back into the sad reality of the album that we left during “My Love Mine All Mine”. Mitski is notorious for turning gleeful instruments into sorrowful songs, which she has expressed frequently throughout this album. This song for instance has a nice folk sound to it, but Mitskis lyrics turn it into a rather sad song. There is a great theme of loneliness and isolation in this song. She uses frost as a metaphor, just like how snow is a metaphor in “When Memories Snow”. 

“The Frost” made me think of childhood. A sad memory of playing hide-and-seek and you are forgotten in your hiding place by the other kids. Her devastating lyrics strike once again with this song.

Favorite lyric:

You’re my best friend, now I have no one to tell/How I lost my best friend.”

— Mitski

9. Star: “Star” begins quite somber before reaching a climax as the chorus kicks in. The beginning of the song starts with a low, dark note but ends with a high note and radiant instruments which can represent the growth and acceptance felt throughout the song. This song is repetitive unlike other songs on this album but is very poetic which ties it back in. Mitski states in a video that she wrote this song years ago but they couldn’t find the right sound until this album.

It is a bitter-sweet song about people who have fallen out of love but still continue to care for one another, their love is like a star. The metaphors Mitski uses pull at your emotional strings and force you to think about the past loves you’ve experienced.

Favorite lyric:

That love is like a star/Its gone, we just see it shinin’/Its traveled very far.”

— Mitski

10. I’m Your Man: Mitski continues her religious theme in “I’m Your Man”. The song only has two verses and no chorus and would be very short if it wasn’t for the production. The song’s production is very simple and minimalistic in the beginning. It starts to slowly pick up traction and noise throughout the song and then towards the end a choir, the sound of dogs barking, and bugs are added to make it chaotic. The lyricism and metaphors in this song are poetic and genius. She speaks on manipulation and self-deprecation in relationships.

Her words are so impactful in this song but it is the production that makes it stand-out. Mitski said in a video that she “had the choir sing the words yoo-hoo… because yoo-hoo is a pirate thing,” and it seemed manly, which fit the title and the metaphors explored in the song.

Favorite Lyric:

You believe me like a god/I betray you like a man”

— Mitski

11. I Love Me After You: “I Love Me After You” is about self acceptance which is a great way to end the album after all of the soul-crushing songs we experienced. In this song, Mitski is learning to love herself again after a draining relationship. It starts off quiet and reaches apex towards the end. It is a very short song, again, with no chorus, just two verses and a small intro and outro. She uses imagery to paint a picture in your head of her finally picking herself back up.

Mitski gives us a sense of hope with this song and picks us back up after that extremely emotional roller coaster listeners experience during this album. She expresses her voice so gracefully matching the message of the song. 

Favorite Lyric:

Stride through the house naked/Don’t even care that the/curtains are open/Let the darkness see me.”

— Mitski

Check out Mitski’s YouTube channel to watch music videos and behind the scenes from this album!  Mitski YouTube

 

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About the Contributor
Jaela Staker, Writer
Jaela Staker is a senior at MHS. She is the vice president of Key Club. This is her first year being involved in newspaper and writing for the Auroran Today. When she is not writing for the newspaper she enjoys watching movies, going to concerts, hanging out with her friends and family, and reading.
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    callieNov 4, 2023 at 10:53 am

    my love mine all mine is my favorite of the album as well! beautiful review!

    Reply