To paraphrase the artist herself: I cry at the start of every Mitski song, I guess ‘cause I wish I was making things too. Thankfully, Mitski’s latest creation, Laurel Hell, is well worth the tears. Mitski released her sixth studio album in February, her first project following a two year hiatus. Epitomized by “Working for the Knife,” Laurel Hell centers on her resentment towards her celebrity and her apprehension about returning into the spotlight. With its title inspired by the folk term for being trapped in thickets of laurel, Laurel Hell illustrates the dark side of fame. She suggests that, although the music industry seems glamorous, as laurel flowers are beautiful, it destroys those who fall into its trap.
Mitski communicates her messages through beautiful lyricism that haunts the listener even after the final note plays. Like her past albums, Laurel Hell moonlights as a compilation of poetry, with lines like “Fury pure and silver / You grip it tight inside / Like a knife / It glints in your eye” from track “Stay Soft” that demonstrate her prowess for profound imagery. Even more musically upbeat songs, like “The Only Heartbreaker,” disguise forlorn lyrics, creating an alluring yet unsettling juxtaposition. Listen to Laurel Hell, but not when you want something uplifting. Instead, listen during your next existential crisis, heartbreak, or breakdown, and you will be a teary-eyed Mitski fan by the end.
Sydney Worrell is a freshman in the SFS studying Culture and Politics.