It wouldn’t be quite right to call Mitski’s latest album “upbeat,” but it’s certainly got a bit more disco flavor than 2018’s stellar Be the Cowboy or 2014’s punk-tinged Bury Me at Makeout Creek. While the tempos may have gotten faster, Mitski’s ability to devastate listeners with a single line remains unchanged. “The Only Heartbreaker,” an early single backed by deceptively peppy synths, has a beat you could Jazzercise to, but the lyrics are about realizing you might be the bad guy in a relationship. The gorgeous “Love Me More” could be an early Kylie Minogue deep cut, if not for melancholy lyrics like, “How do other people live?/I wonder how they keep it up.” Mitski started work on Laurel Hell in the pre-pandemic days of 2018, but the record still manages to encapsulate the isolation of the past couple of years—shot through with buoyant hope for the future. –Eliza c. Thompson
This article originally appeared in BUST's Spring 2022 print edition. Subscribe today!