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“Laurel Hell” Review

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On February 4, 2022, Mitski released her new album Laurel Hell which received much attention and was the top-selling album in America as it debuted. This is Mitski’s sixth album, following Be The Cowboy.

Be The Cowboy contains many admired songs by the world, such as “Nobody” and “Washing Machine Heart”, which have gained over 100,000,000 streams on Spotify. Many of Mitski’s songs have become highly recognized due to Tik Tok, and many fans worldwide have been anticipating her newest album for almost three years. Mitski delivers emotional, heartbreaking, and powerful messages in all of her songs, as seen in “Laurel Hell”. 

In a recent interview hosted by Pitchfork, Mitski states “During the pandemic, I realized I really need to dance.  I really need something to make me move and feel good. Even though the lyrical content is sad, I couldn’t handle also producing music that was dreary. I needed something to pick me up and get out of the funk.” As many fans know, Mitski’s music does tend to be very depressing, which is why this album was quite a surprise.  Many of the songs in this album have an upbeat tune to them, and the genres of indie-pop and electric-rock can be heard while listening. Mitski was able to incorporate her own experiences and messages while still managing a feel-good melody, which was executed superbly. 

There is a good deal of songs that are highly notable, such as “Should’ve Been Me”, “The Only Heartbreaker”, and “Working for The Knife”.

Mitski describes “Should’ve Been Me” as the words “eighties, compassion, nuance”. This song is about “being cheated on but also understanding why”, and Mitski’s journey of accepting and forgiving herself. The sound is so unique and shines in this album, which has been agreed amongst countless listeners. “Working for The Knife” was first released as a single on October 5th, 2021, which was described by the artist as, “Time has passed, and you can’t take back the choices you’ve made, and now you have to live with them.” This song experiments with many different styles of music, which is why it stands out greatly. “Working For The Knife”  is an example of how Mitski is able to blend her ideas with a pleasant tune perfectly. 

My favorite song on this album was ‘Should’ve Been Me’. Out of all the songs I’ve listened to by Mitski, I haven’t heard anything like this; It truly stands out, and I would like to hear more songs like this from her in the future. I appreciate how she incorporated various music styles, while staying true to her classic sound. One of these new styles had an ’80s vibe to it, which I really enjoyed. There were stronger sides to the album that made my overall journey throughout the album delightful. As somebody who deeply admires Mitski’s music, this album did not disappoint. This was a stunning listening experience, and I would highly recommend it!