Reviews

Mitski “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” Album Review

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Mitski

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Date: 15 Sep, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 11
  • ℗ 2023 Dead Oceans

Mitski is well known for her lyricism and distinctive musical style. Her seventh album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We,” further develops her artistic abilities while exploring human connection and mortality. She shines with her inventive song arrangements, frequently utilizing choirs, while being categorized as a “sad girl” of pop occasionally owing to her constant desire to mine the depths of emotion.

Long-time partner and producer Patrick Hyland gives the album some surprising turns. The album has several stirring emotional high points that can make the listener believe that love is a pillar of fire in the wilderness or a light in a dark world. Mitski’s ability to cram so many powerful concepts and gut-punches into a half-hour is still incredible and effective.

Album Cover Art

Mitski &Quot;The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 13, 2024

Mitski appears lost in spirit, as if in a deep trance, assuming the position of one playing an invisible instrument. Her black attire and the white-and-black background help with just the needed aesthetic.

Tracks and Features

“Bug Like an Angel” begins the album with an unsettling image of a bug trapped to the bottom of a glass. Mitski, accompanied simply by an acoustic guitar, sounds like a lonely rural balladeer or the drunkard on the other side of Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars.” In keeping with Mitski’s pattern of opening her albums with a surprise, an unexpected and powerful chorus of voices joins her as she compares her drink to “family.”

The hug of a lover soothes her on the triumphal, pedal steel-laden “Heaven,” as “something set free is running through the night/And the dark awaits us all around the corner.” Mitski is at her most romantic in the face of dread in this song, and even as her emotional mood shifts from yearning for love to a short sigh of relief that she’s found it, the music remains cathartic and her voice as clean and sweet as ever.

On “The Deal,” Mitski weaves a narrative about signing over her soul to a bird perched on a lamppost, and the aforementioned presence takes on a malevolent character. She adds tension and a new narrative sensibility to the song to fit her love of Americana. Mitski, as the bird, sings, “I’m taken, the night has me,” as a cacophony of drumming drowns out her voice, representing her wish to detach herself from her feelings.

The song’s ending, like a beautiful symphonic outro, effectively places the album into the pantheon of great 21st-century folk albums about lost love. Nonetheless, Mitski weaves strands from her previous work into her investigation of new genres. She starts “I Don’t Like My Mind” on a global tone before she ‘Mitskifies’ it with a viscerally painful yet revelatory detour about being lonely at Christmas, eating too much cake, and puking. She relates her mental health to her work, reviving her long-standing interest with work.

The gloomy “I’m Your Man” brilliantly inverts the notion of Leonard Cohen’s song of the same name, portraying Mitski’s boyfriend as a dog and her as its master. She closes the song with another perplexing and nuanced lyric: “You believe me like a God/I betray you like a man.” This sudden spiritual worry lifts the desolation of heartbreak, a topic she’s spent years scrutinizing from every angle, to the level of a faith crisis.

Album Theme

While the first half of the album concentrates on open wounds and self-loathing following the breakdown of a relationship, we begin to witness progress and self-worth toward the end.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Bug Like an Angel 3:32
2 Buffalo Replaced 2:40
3 Heaven 3:44
4 I Don’t Like My Mind 2:25
5 The Deal 3:52
6 When Memories Snow 1:44
7 My Love Mine All Mine 2:17
8 The Frost 2:48
9 Star 2:59
10 I’m Your Man 3:29
11 I Love Me After You 2:48

Production Credits

Patrick Hyland singlehandedly produced the album.

Stream

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