32 minutes after three years

By Rachel Shepard – Copy Editor

Graphic by Rachel Shepard

Mitski has had a love affair with music, and her fans have been put through the wringer. After taking a hiatus from music in 2019, she released her newest album “Laurel Hell” on February 4, and it was only 32 minutes in length. According to Mitski, this is the longest she has spent working on an album and has been working on various songs since 2018.

The title of her new debut, “Laurel Hell” is a play on a folk term for a field of laurel flowers in the Appalachian region.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, she talks about how the flowers are small yet beautiful, and poisonous with low branches that tangle together and make it impossible to travel through. Mitski is quoted in the interview saying, “there are laurel hells that are named after people who died in them, supposedly.”

The overall vibe of the album is reminiscent of 80’s pop. There are synth beats and funky baselines, but with Mitski’s little original twists in the instrumental segments and vocals. The theme appears to be about a breakup, aside from “Working for the Knife,” which talks about Mitski’s relationship with the music industry. 

However, the first and only song on a Mitski album not written completely by her was “The Only Heartbreaker,” which she co-wrote with Dan Wilson, who’s worked with various other artists such as Taylor Swift and Adele. 

For people who are unfamiliar with the artist’s music style, the songs that are most likely to appeal to wider audiences are: “Should’ve Been Me,” “The Only Heartbreaker,” “Love Me More,” “That’s Our Lamp,” and “Working for the Knife.” 

These songs in particular embrace the 80’s pop synth style that has become popular again. Aside from “Working for the Knife,” these songs are upbeat, fun, and easy to sway to. The last song is more grungy and mechanical, but it has been added to this list because of its subject matter and the positive reception when Mitski released it as a single. 

Overall, this album was made for Mitski lovers, for those who are going through relationship problems, and people who love the vibe of the 80s. As a bonus, the album is short and concise. Meaning, that if this is a listener’s first time listening to Mitski, it’s a good place to begin, because each song was tailored for the album and is part of the artist’s passion project. 

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