For a lot of people, it’s not unusual to do some soul searching when reaching a milestone age like 30 as Mitski Miyawaki did in 2020. That plus a pandemic can certainly make one ponder about their future. It is interesting to hear a successful artist have those same thoughts as well but several songs on Mitski’s latest release, Laurel Hell, do just that. First single “Working For The Knife” tells of writing while no one is paying attention, but one keeps writing anyway. “I used to think I’d be done by twenty/Now at twenty-nine, the road ahead appears the same/though maybe at thirty, I’ll see a way to change”.
Like on past albums, Mitski’s songs are short, most lasting less than 3.5 minutes. Many of the tracks here use synths and electronics to create the beds of music such as the classy, “Heat Lightning” and 80s influenced “There’s Nothing Left For You”. “Stay Soft” adds a danceable beat and asks a lover to “open your heart like the gates of hell”
The penultimate track, “I Guess” is an emotional song that ruminates on a relationship that’s ending and having to reinvent one’s self. Reinvention and wondering what comes next are themes that run through Laurel Hell. It’s an album that many will find inspiring as they struggle to try and figure out all the same things that Mitski wonders about as well.