Pillbox

Mitski's 'The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We' Album Review by Ann Jo

Running through the forest with cedar trees enveloping the sky, away from all your problems and embracing the darkness — such autumnal imagery is masterfully evoked by Mitski’s new album “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We.”

The land may be inhospitable, but my ears are very hospitable to Mitski’s new album. Mitski, with a fan base full of sad girls with mommy issues, stays true to her brand of existential crises and love while venturing into new territory, an earthy folk theme.

In her song “I’m Your Man,” the barking of dogs and chirping of bugs transport the listener into a Twilight-esque forest. Although there are some similarities in metaphorical ideas of the exhaustive cycle of life to her previous album, “Laurel Hell,” the instrumental backings in her new album differ greatly and are a departure from beats reminiscent of Japan’s '80s pop scene. Beyond the forest-like sounds and song names that create an outdoorsy atmosphere like one of her singles, “Bug Like an Angel,” the land that she refers to is also a reference to our everyday lives and struggles.

In “My Love Mine All Mine,” Mitski emphasizes how the only thing that people can truly own and give is their love. Listening to each song is like entering a doorway to the lives of the heroines that Mitski creates for her songs. They are full of resignation and focus on the things within their power despite their chaotic lives. Everything’s not going to be okay and that’s okay.

The hypnotically despondent rhythm of “The Deal” follows a narrator who realizes the consequences of her wish to be rid of her soul and the burden of feeling. The balance between gentle and intense tones, accompanied by string instruments and drums, is sonically satisfying in this song. Mitski’s album can be a beacon of hope and optimism, as explored in her standout song “Star,” which therapeutically affirms that past lovers can still remember and care for each other.

Mitski fans who love dramatic yet mellow ballads that tap into our shared existential dread will love this album. Those that enjoyed previous popular albums like “Be the Cowboy” or “Puberty 2” should give this album a try. Mitski’s sound has greatly evolved since these albums, and her poetic lyrics are at their most heart-wrenching due to haunting undertones of maturity and introspection. Young or old, indie rock lovers will find a song that’ll touch their hearts.