Mitski—A Voice of Modern Love and Loneliness

“My God, I’m so lonely,” Mitski sings in the opening lyrics of “Nobody.” Since her 2018 album “Be The Cowboy” was released last August, the singer has risen to the pop mainstream and become an icon of lonely young adulthood. The music video for “Nobody” has garnered over four million views, and Pitchfork, Vulture, and several other publications named “Be the Cowboy” the best album of 2018.

Mitski’s lyrics about love and loneliness in our tech-obsessed era really seem to resonate with an entire generation – so much so that someone created an entire Twitter account dedicated to them. There’s also a Facebook group entitled “do you really want to disappoint mitski?” where people share memes of Mitski’s lyrics and ask other users which of her albums they should cry to tonight.

Photo credit: Twitter

The Twitter account “mitskilyricsbot” has over 7k followers who retweet Mitski’s despondent lyrics.

“I open the window to hear sounds of people,” the lyrics of “Nobody” continue. Mitski sings about wanting more human connection in our world where people are increasingly connected by technology. This interconnectedness hasn’t led to deeper personal connections between one another, though – rather, it’s led to the very loneliness she sings about. And millennials’ ability to relate to this feeling is indicative of a larger, more concerning issue in society – that of loneliness as an epidemic.

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

Mitski’s “Be The Cowboy” album speaks to the loss of human interaction in our modern digital era.

Recently, many writers have pointed out that we are going through an epidemic of loneliness, and that may be part of why young people find Mitski’s music so relatable. When Mitski sings “I just want somebody near me,” people relate to it on a literal level. As technology keeps us interacting through the digital world instead of reality, we are losing that connection with one another. That technology-driven loneliness and isolation inevitably has an effect on mental health and removes us further from the natural world, which Mitski also comments on in her songs. In “Nobody,” she sings about global warming, and on “A Pearl,” she sings about “self-destructive behaviors.”

Mitski has, in a way, become the voice of an entire generation of people who find love – and often temporary, isolating love – on their cell phones, through apps. Through her music, she longs for a world where we’re more connected, where we’re not sitting alone in our rooms longing for other people like she sings in “Pink in the Night”: “I glow pink in the night in my room / I've been blossoming alone over you.” 

Photo Credit: The Line of Best Fit

The community of Mitski’s fans provides hope that we’ll all put down our phones and build connections with one another.

Though her lyrics often paint a hopeless picture of love that is unrequited, and sometimes even unknown to the object of her affection, the connection so many millennials have drawn from her music is hopeful in a way. If so many people can relate to that feeling of disconnection and a longing for more human interaction, maybe we’ll all finally put down our phones and start talking.


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