The album, preceded by its lead single, “Working for the Knife”, was announced alongside the release of the second single, “The Only Heartbreaker”, back in November 2021. And tracing back to the history of commercial success set by her last three albums, especially “Be The Cowboy”, her 2018 album, you can almost predict the same success and even more for this new project.
Donning a red outfit alongside a matching red lipstick, she has her head titled, falling backwards, with her hands raised and eyes shut, like a person in some kind of trance. It looks like her mind is on a trip, and she is enjoying every bit of the experience, as we see a euphoric smile playing on her lips. The lines crisscrossing each other and her hair flying freely behind her would show that she is mentally floating and swaying in a different realm. She clearly does not want to be woken up if it is a dream.
Sadly, the 11-tracked album comes with no features. It looks like she would rather take fans on this riveting journey all by herself. This must be a project pretty personal to her.
PRODUCTION & VOCAL DELIVERY
Patrick Hyland handled the production of the album. But not just a drop of water makes an ocean, which means others were involved in putting the album together and bringing it to the point where it is now.
Here is a shortlist of all those credits should go to for a remarkable input on the project:
Corinne Ang (Typeface)
Mary Banas (Design)
Elizabeth Chan (Drums)
Patrick Hyland (Engineer, Guitar, Mixing, Percussion, Producer, Synthesizer)
Ted Jensen (Mastering)
K. Marie Kim (Keyboards)
Evan Marien (Guitar (Bass))
Mitski (Composer, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Vocals)
Ryan Smith (Mastering)
Brooke Waggoner (Piano)
Dan Wilson (Composer)
Ebru Yildiz (Photography)
As for the singer’s delivery on the LP, her tone and style are a bit different sound than the Mitski her fans have come to know. She’s leaving some of the more punk-ish elements behind and devoting herself more than ever to synth-pop, which is great in itself but doesn’t quite blend smoothly for what Mitski usually tries to deliver.
TRACKLIST AND POPULAR TRACKS
Laurel Hell houses eleven tracks that come bearing different feels.
The first half of the album is an interesting set of ominous, dark tracks which, for all their suggestions of a sun coming up the horizon, proves to be nothing but mere paint smeared on a canvass, emitting no actual light nor warmth.
The second half of Laurel Hell slowly picks up the pace and feels like Mitski began ascending towards some type of trippy light – at least a brighter space than where we were before.
The album finale, “That’s Our Lamp”, is a rather beautiful and sonically upbeat track to conclude such an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. A sweetly conventional and catchy break-up track, here Mitski details fleeing her apartment after a fight and grappling with the inevitability of a crumbling relationship that had gone way past repairs.
|Working for the Knife
|The Only Heartbreaker
|Love Me More
|There’s Nothing Left Here for You
|Should’ve Been Me
|That’s Our Lamp
The lead single off the LP, “Working for the Knife”, is typically the most popular on the project. The track is an unconventional combination of synth-pop and a thrumming guitar which finds Mitski brutally unpacking her perception of being an artist. An honest form of self-discovery.
Lauren Hell is an uncomfortable yet transparent and vulnerable journey to Mitski’s version of Hell and a personal account of trying to garner the strength to climb out of it.