Last weekend brought with it the release of Mitski’s seventh studio album, "The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We." In an interview with NPR, Mitski comments on this being her “most American album,” while also being all about the love that connects our society; the Japanese-American singer-songwriter offers a unique perspective on the topic through a divine listening experience.
Mitski has always been acclaimed for her deep and contemplative lyrics, paired with her unique and stunning vocalizations. While her most recent album certainly features the latter part of that combination, there is a noticeable difference in the way she portrays her emotions.
Her lyrics are still sophisticated and thought-provoking but in a much less obviously introspective way. Listeners are forced to dig deeper and look harder to find meaning within the lyrics, which is a show of how brilliantly Mitski’s music is evolving. "The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We" is a short album, but it manages to contain multitudes of themes, styles and emotions in a succinct and masterful way.
The first standout song on the album is the first single, "Bug Like an Angel." It contains intricate and rhythmic lyrics, as well as a chorus of backup singers to add a new layer to what is otherwise a very classic fit among her discography. The song is mellow, slow and, at its most basic level, just a beautiful listen.
"The Deal" is another one of the best tracks on the album. Mitski lowers her voice to be emblematic of the depth of her soul that is the song’s origin, and the contrasting simplistic verses and swelling choruses make it an engaging musical experience.
Finally, "Star" contains some of the swelling strings and swinging drums that have been utilized throughout her career, as well as a deeply personal atmosphere. It is easy to envision Mitski serenading a specific member of a crowd with this song, a testament to her uniqueness and imagery within her creations.
This album contains a variety of music styles. "My Love Mine All Mine" introduces a jazz-style piano accompaniment, while ballads like "The Frost" offer an indie-folk angle to the record. "Buffalo Replaced" is an example of the rock side of her discography, being the second song on the album and already introducing a heavier and more alternative guitar intro.
When people think of Mitski, they often think of her incredible lyrical and vocal ability. The way her voice is produced to stand out against the instruments and highlight the intricacies of her raw, genuine talent is brilliant. On this album, "Heaven" is a good indicator of that talent, with ambient instrumental backgrounds allowing her voice to shine.
"I'm Your Man" is the most lyrically complex song. Her use of metaphors and rhyme schemes, “You’re an angel, I’m a dog / Or you’re a dog and I’m your man / You believe me like a god / I’ll destroy you like I am,” is remarkable, along with the use of growingly distressed dog barking sound effects against a beautiful choir at the end of the song. This highlights the imagery of the comparison she’s trying to draw.
"The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We" is a welcomed addition to Mitski’s unrivaled discography. It is poetic, heartbreaking, inspiring and all-around an excellent piece of artwork. The album ends with a perfect summary, "I Love Me After You," a haunting, climactic ending to a complex roller coaster of sonic energy.