Review: Mitski’s Be The Cowboy

Full disclosure—this record hasn’t come out yet. It is currently scheduled for an August 17th release. One single was released in May, while another was released in early July. Through a friend in the industry, I was able to get my hands on another handful of tracks before the release. I’m a huge fan of Mitski, and I think this is a great opportunity to provide a brief review of what I’ve heard of this new record while simultaneously making a point to be grateful for this artist and all that she does.

 

Mitski announced her new album, Be The Cowboy, in mid-May of 2018. This record serves as a follow-up to 2016’s Puberty 2 and 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek. This new record marks a significant deviation from her previous work. The artist’s first studio album, BMAMC, is a fairly standard singer-songwriter record. Lyrically depressive, the tracks hit a mid-tempo, punky speed. Puberty 2 adds speed and cranks up the tempo, creating several dance tracks while maintaining the artist’s iconic depressive tone. Be The Cowboy, however, is an entirely separate beast.

 

In a statement about this new record, Mitski explains that she wanted to experiment with narrative and fiction; she kept returning to the “image of someone alone on a stage, singing solo with a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room.” While this might be the vibe Mitski is going for, the music video released for “Nobody,” the album’s second single, says otherwise. Firmly a dance track, “Nobody” insists that the “planet of love” has been “destroyed by global warming” while Mitski herself walks around a home, hairbrush microphone in hand. It’s a jam if I’ve ever heard one.

 

Mitski continues to impress me at every turn. She’s one of the most talented songwriters of her generation, and her musical and instrumental prowess is something to be envied. Plus, it takes one hell of an indie musician to tour alongside Run the Jewels (which she did in 2017).

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