Mitski – The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
By Kate Trebra | Top Tracks: Heaven, My Love Mine All Mine, Star
Mitski has entered a new era, one filled with self-love and reflection. Marking a new direction after 2022’s Laurel Hell, her new music feels more all-encompassing and personal than ever before. The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We captures the wide expanse of the American West and the shift of humanity, showcasing its longevity even as times and seasons change.
The album opens with “Bug Like an Angel”, intimate and close at first listen. Devotion to a fall from grace and the lure of a drink tempts Mitski to stay in the cycle of alcoholism. “Sometimes a drink feels like family,” she sings, voice wavering. The bug, crushed at the bottom of her glass, is illuminated in a crown of light as she takes the last sip of her drink. Making endless vows and promises she cannot keep; she pleads for something to lift her up (“I try to remember the wrath of the devil / Was also given him by God”). Even evil was created by God, so she cannot be held accountable for her broken promises.
The blissful twang of a steel guitar introduces “Heaven”. Sounding like something straight out of a Western movie montage, one can imagine the seemingly endless rolling plains and the fine dust in the air. Though Mitski has not ventured into the realm of country before, she manages to take the genre and twist it into something so uniquely devastating that you can’t help but put it on full blast and wither away to it.
“When Memories Snow” evokes 2014’s Bury Me at Makeout Creek, confident and powerful. The softness of the previous songs is now gone, replaced by the driving synths pushing the melody forward. Although it’s the shortest song on the album, as the halfway point of the record it marks a shift into self-discovery and love.
The most popular song off of the album, “My Love Mine All Mine” is about holding the one thing you truly own: your love. While the world is filled with material items that come and go, love stays and persists always, even after death. Mitski’s belief that love is her greatest achievement and that it will linger on Earth for centuries allows a moment of peace and acceptance in life’s natural cycle.
“Star” is reminiscent of Be the Cowboy’s “Two Slow Dancers”, backed by organs and an ethereal soundscape. Stars, on average, take millions of years to die, but that is nothing compared to the longevity of Mitski’s love. “I’m Your Man” is a soul-crushing realization of a doomed relationship. “I’m sorry I’m the one you love,” Mitski sings, her voice just above a whisper, “No one will ever love me like you again”. The song closes with a dog barking, a nod to the underlying theme of loyalty even after being mistreated by the recipient of one’s own unconditional love.
Mitski has created an introspective album filled with realizations, self-love, and a yearning so strong it aches. In her seventh album, she has gone past her indie roots and shown her ability to seamlessly cross over genres. The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, like Mitski’s love, will withstand the testament of time and remain relevant for years to come.
Buy tickets to see Mitski live in 2024 at https://mitski.com/#home-tour and listen to The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We anywhere you stream music.