A&E Review

Mitski’s Exploration of Love and Self: “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We” Album Review 

Album cover credit to Genius.

Mitski is back at it again, bringing listeners an incredibly unique album that differs from music today. Talk of retirement was circling around Mitski’s career but she has continued to pursue music with her most recent release, “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We,” which feels like a deep breath giving the listener a peaceful, soft and honest listening experience.

Her career in music has grown exponentially and can be seen as an inspiration to singer-songwriters who are trying to get their foot in the door of the music world. She started off her career solo, producing her first two albums: “Lush” and “Retired from Sad,” which were her senior projects while studying at Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music. She now has released seven studio albums and is signed with Dead Oceans, Double Double Whammy and Don Giovanni Records.

“The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We”  has already received immense love from fellow artists in the Alternative/Indie genre. Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, Clairo and Lucy Dacus all posted their favorites from the album on their social media platforms, applauding Mitski on her work. 

With this being her seventh studio album, Mitski has developed an eccentric style and releases  music that is consistently different from her previous albums. She writes with honesty and is unashamed: “There’s a bug like an angel stuck to the bottom / Of my glass, with a little bit left / As I got older, I learned I’m a drinker / Sometimes a drink feels like family” on “Bug Like an Angel,” which serves as the lead single of her album. The song starts out quietly with a soft guitar playing under her angelic vocals. Moments later stacked vocal audio comes in with increased volume, almost startling the listener, drawing attention to the lyrics. 

You can tell this isn’t just about the music, Mitski wants you to hear her poetry through her songs. 

Scan to listen to Mitski on Spotify.

A majority of her album focuses on self-exploration with a reminder of the loneliness that entails within it. “I don’t like my mind, I don’t like being left alone in a room / With all its opinions about the things that I’ve done / So, yeah, I blast music loud, and I work myself to the bone,” Mitski sings on “I Don’t Like My Mind.” The song bleeds the inner conflict of being alone, specifically in regard to the idea that being alone means facing your thoughts in your lonesome.

Something that can’t go unnoticed about this album is the duration of the songs on it. Nine of the 11 songs don’t go over three minutes, and there are two that dip over the three-minute mark. This gives greater meaning to the lyrical evolution throughout the album. Doing this allows those listening to hear her words and the story she is telling. You can’t listen to the album and not feel something. 

Self-love is something that Mitski has found, and she displays it well. “My Love Mine All Mine” portrays the beauty in the love that we can give as humans. Mitski seems to be drawing importance not to the love one can receive from relationships but to the love that one has within themselves. Mitski describes her love as the one thing she has control over in the chaos that can be life. “My baby here on earth / Showed me what my heart was worth / So, when it comes to be my turn / Could you shine it down here for her?” she sings. Unlike most love songs that romanticize their partner, Mitski instead focuses on how her relationship has shown her the love she has always had within herself. 

“Star,” one of the last songs on the album, is an ode to a past love. Allowing the listener in on a love letter or diary entry we aren’t lucky enough to read. 

“Remember when we met? / We acted like two fools / We were so glad / So glad to have found it,” she reminisces in the first verse. 

Her words are a thank you to this lost love. As she sings in the chorus, “That love is like a star / It’s gone, we just see it shinin’ / It’s traveled very far, I’ll / Keep a leftover light / Burnin’ so you can keep lookin’ up / Isn’t that worth holdin’ on?” 

The album concludes with slow-starting ballads that end strong with tracks “I’m Your Man” and “I Love Me After You.” Both songs explore how Mitski sees herself in her relationships, and what she hates and loves about it. The self-reflection and honesty Mitski isn’t afraid to share is wrapped up perfectly in these last two songs, leaving the listener with thoughts of personal reflection.

Mitski came and delivered with this album. All I can say is I am overjoyed she decided not to retire and am thrilled to hear what comes next.