The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The new album “Laurel Hell” by acclaimed singer-songwriter Mitski has become my soundtrack since it debuted earlier this month. Constantly playing over my speaker at home or through my headphones when I go out, Mitski is ever-present. It’s been four years since the release of her last record “Be the Cowboy,” which I have to admit I listened to obsessively at the time as well. This long awaited album has not disappointed. Laurel Hell is everything I could have hoped for. Mitski has redefined herself on this album whilst continuing to stay true to who she is. This album is powerfully vulnerable, and has something for everyone.
What is it about this album that makes it so loveable and addictive? At only 33 minutes, the album is short and sweet creating replayability, as it leaves the listener wanting more. “Laurel Hell” is a delightful combination of soothing, gentle soundscapes along with deep-cutting yet upbeat tracks. Utilizing synthesizer coupled with Mitski’s haunting yet dignified voice, accompanied by simple drums and rock guitar, Mitski has cracked the code for the perfect indie-rock album, reminiscent of the late 70s.
This album reflects themes of love, loss, aspiration, obligation and most prevalently the complexity of emotion. “Laurel Hell” serves as a personal exploration of both her life and career, the challenges of finding oneself, and the uncertainty of it all.
There’s not a single song on this album that I would skip, each track tells its own unique story and adds to the overall sound of the album. My favourite songs being “Stay Soft” and “Love Me More,” closely followed by “Should’ve Been Me”. These songs explore vulnerability and relationships while battling with self-identity. Reflecting a newer aspect of Mitski’s sound, these songs are upbeat and driving while still vulnerable and introspective.
Not only are the songs amazing, but the music videos accompanying them paint even more beautiful and complex pictures. Mitski was a film major before pursuing music and her passion for visual art is plain to see. Illustrating the stories of each song through creative and often whimsical visuals, new layers are added to the meaning of each track. If you’re looking for a short yet beautiful, narrative video look no further than Mitski’s youtube channel.
Personally, I love this album for its relatability as well as the nostalgia it provides. I feel like I’m in ninth grade again, listening to “Nobody” while walking home from choir practice. Mitski’s lyrics can be interpreted in many ways allowing for a connection with her listener’s. Especially in times of uncertainty like ours, this album serves as an outlet for any emotion needing to be processed. A rollercoaster of raw emotion, allowing the listener to cry, dance, or discover. Needless to say, I’ll be doing these things while listening to “Laurel Hell” for the foreseeable future.