Album Review: Mitski – Be the Cowboy

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Artist: Mitski

Album: Be the Cowboy

Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Rock

Rating: 9/10

It’s no secret that much of Mitski’s music is melancholy and tear-jerkingly sad, but the incredibly talented New York based musician does not want your pity. Singing with incredible passion, it’s hard not to assume that all of her music is autobiographical, but before going into her music one must understand that she is creating scenarios and maybe fictional characters, singing from the perspective of someone who has to go through these situations that are often dark and tap into a melancholy state of mind. That isn’t to say there isn’t truth behind these songs. Her last album Puberty 2 was an experience of immense fervor and music that frequently shifted from raw guitar-oriented “Rock” to bare “Indie Folk,” and lyrically it was hard to differentiate what was autobiographical from what was fiction, but you know what? That’s one of the many reasons why she is a beautiful songwriter. Her new album Be the Cowboy could have been another Puberty 2, and yes much of the melancholy vibes from that album drive this new album as well, but this time around the delivery and combination of infectious instrumentation and passionate vocals are near perfection. With lyrical themes that dwell in the more obsessive or co-dependent nature of being in a relationship or experiencing a breakup, this music can resonate with everyone, because we’ve all had to deal with the realization that romance isn’t all sunshine and kisses like the movies and love songs will have you believe, but instead of sounding bitter, Mitski uses this realization to meditate and to raise awareness on how unhealthy it is to lose your identity in someone else. However she is in by no means being preachy. She like many of us succumbs to the common unhealthy traits of our love hungry hearts. Traits like blaming the other person for a failed relationship like on the track “Why didn’t you stop me?” being afraid to let go of a previous lover even when you’re in a new relationship like on the track “Old Friend,” and the feeling of wanting to project an image of success and happiness to an ex, only to realize that the fact that you’re doing all of that just to prove independence to this person shows that they’re still very much on your mind like the track “Lonesome Love.” She is very much aware of our many flaws, and if this album has a central theme it would be realization. Many of us want to be remembered and can’t deal with the fact that we’re insignificant when it comes to the bigger picture of this world, she realizes that on the track “Remember My Name.” Many of us seek importance and flattery someone else can give us, she realizes this on the track “A Pearl,” and as much as this album focuses on our unhealthy traits, Mitski manages to prevent this album from being a real downer. The upbeat and light melodies of many of the instrumentation contrasts the lyrical content quite well. It’s almost as if she’s accepting of the fact that we are all co-dependent beings. It’s almost as if she’s celebrating these flaws. Finding beauty in this unhappiness, because she doesn’t have the answers. She’s merely projecting these feelings that can resonate with us all, and the loneliness anthem “Nobody” with it’s upbeat Disco-driven style is the album’s most shining moment that encourages us all to learn to live with ourselves and be comfortable with the fact that there are going to be a lot of situations where we’re going to be alone, and that’s okay. Mitski may seem like she’s on a mission to encourage us all to rid ourselves of our many toxic characteristics, but she’s simply spotlighting her own experiences of love, loss, and loneliness to tell a story or to therapize herself, and the music is all so relatable that it can help many get through tough times, it can even save a life. Mitski has proven herself to be one of the most important songwriters today.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 08/19/18

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