June 15, 2024

Diving into Mitski’s New Album ‘The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We’

Background: Mitski Miyawaki, who goes by the mononym Mitski, is an American singer/songwriter. She released her first two albums “Lush,” in 2012, and “Retired from Sad, New Career in Business,” in 2013, by herself while studying studio composition in Purchase, New York. Since then she has released “Bury Me At Makeout Creek” (2014), “Puberty 2” (2016), “Be the Cowboy” (2018), and “Laurel Hell” (2021). Her newest album is called “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We,” and it was released on September 15th of 2023.

Mitski says that the name for the album began as a joke to herself.

“You know those state billboards where you enter the state and it’s like, welcome to, let’s say – I don’t know – Minnesota, the land of however many lakes? So I just thought it would be funny if it was like, the land is inhospitable and so are we,” she stated in an interview with NPR. She tells the host that if the album were a person, it would be exhausted and having a mid-life crisis. When asked about the personal stories she tells within each song, Mitski says that most of the experiences she writes about are not ones that are actually from her life.

Bug Like an Angel

This is the first song on the album. Mitski explains that the narrator of the song is an addict, who sings that “sometimes a drink can feel like family”. The name comes from them drinking the last of whatever is in the cup, and holding up the glass to where it resembles an angel in the sky in the form of a bug. She brings back a theme of “jump scares” in the first track that have also been shown in a few of her past albums. Mitski has been known for these “jump scares” in many of her previous releases like “Valentine, Texas”, “Drunk Walk Home”, and “Geyser”.

My Love Mine All Mine

This is the seventh track on the album and it is also the most popular. It has been used in many posts dedicated to peoples’ significant others, but Mitski herself expresses that this was not what it meant to her personally.

She states that she loves seeing all of the different interpretations of the song and the way that people dedicate it to their loved ones, but that to her the song meant a more internal type of love.
She tells interviewers that everything in her life can be taken from her eventually; people can damage her physically, she could lose people in her life, but nothing can take away the love that she has for herself, her life, and the people around her. Editor note: Mitski described the song as almost a living, loving, gift to leave behind in her memory, as most things will disappear, she hopes that her love can have a lasting effect.

I’m Your Man

This is the tenth song on the album, and a lot of people are confused as to why such a depressing song is on an album that expresses so much love. Mitski says in Tiktok she posted on September 28 2023 that the lyrics are supposed to represent the voice of a patriarchal figure in her head that she believes everyone has from being raised in a patriarchy. She says that this song was a way for her to give a voice to those thoughts in order to release them.

There is a long instrumental part in the end with vocals from a choir, noises of nature, dogs barking, and in the last seconds you can hear a toad’s cry that sounds like a scream.

Star

This song is also one to make people question the emotional stand point of the album. Is the narrator healing or are they moving backwards? Are they in love or are they mourning someone? This is the nineth track in the album. Mitski sings in past tense, signaling that whatever type of love Mitski is focusing on in this song no longer exists.

“I am yours, no matter. That love’s gone, we just see it shining. We’ve traveled very far” (Star)

This can also prove the interpretation that this album is about healing because the narrator is now without this person. However the separation does not stop the narrator from continuing to do things that they would for this person out of habit and the feeling of safety they have from knowing them for a long time.

It shows that even when the love runs out, maybe the intense and powerful emotions from the beginning are enough to keep the relationship afloat. It is a warning about staying with someone for the wrong reasons.

Editor Note: Mitski has also attributed the development and discovery of the soundscape seen in the album through the creation of one song. “Buffalo Replaced”, the second track on the album has an interesting sound. Almost country and very melancholy (not to say country cannot be somber and sad), the acoustic guitars and almost down home country percussion rings through the whole album. Mitski also never leaves home without a synth section or two and this fusion of sounds pairs for a new and one of a kind sound for the album. Alike with many other songs on the album, Mitski explained the meaning, significance, and inspiration behind the track via her TikTok. Mitski has had a strong presence on the app for some time now but recently has been utilizing it to connect and discuss with her fanbase.

Conclusion: Overall this album was insanely good and full of a wide range of emotions that only Mitski’s lyricism and voice can portray. My personal favorites from this album are “I Don’t Like My Mind” and “The Deal”.

Editor Note: I really liked “Heaven” and “When Memories Snow”!

Album cover to “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We”