Discovering Mitski: Our Indie Music Gem

Discovering Mitski: Our Indie Music Gem
13th May 2024 Elena
Mitski Indie Gem

Mitski Miyawaki, known professionally as Mitski, has made an indelible mark on the indie music scene with her profound lyrics and innovative sound.

Born in Japan and having moved frequently throughout her childhood. Her father worked for the United States Department of State so her multicultural background is at the core of most of her work.

This blog post delves into her career, including discography, sound, and impact on the indie music landscape.

Discovering Mitski: Our Indie Music Gem

Mitski’s journey into music began earnestly while she attended the SUNY Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music, where she studied studio composition. During her time there, Mitski released her first two albums, Lush (2012) and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013).

These early works are elaborate and orchestral. She has an academic background in composition and it set the stage for a distinctive approach to music.

American Girls and Cowboys

Her breakthrough came with Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014), which departed from her classical and orchestral beginnings into a rawer, more rock-oriented sound. This album features standout tracks like “First Love / Late Spring” and “Townie.” It helped Mitski gain followers for her emotional openness and grungy sound.

Mitski’s subsequent albums, Puberty 2 (2016) and Be the Cowboy (2018), evidenced a refined sound and lyrical prowess. She continued exploring personal and introspective themes but with a slightly more polished production than in 2014. Tracks like “Your Best American Girl” touch upon Mitski’s feelings of cultural alienation and identity.

This song, in particular, became a defining anthem for Mitski. It highlights the clashes of expectations and reality in her own experiences as a half-Japanese American:

Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me
But I do, I finally do
And you’re an all-American boy
I guess I couldn’t help trying to be the best American girl

Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me
But I do, I think I do

Be the Cowboy pushed further, displaying Mitski’s ability to convey complex emotions with more concise and controlled bursts of energy. The album received widespread critical acclaim for its experimentation with narrative and form.

The disco-infused “Nobody” and haunting “Two Slow Dancers” are great examples. They showcase Mitski’s talent for melding lyrical depth with eclectic sounds, earning the album top spots on many year-end lists.

Mitski Lost in a Salad Bowl

One of Mitski’s most compelling qualities is her lyrical honesty. Her songs often revolve around themes of identity, loneliness, longing, and the intense desire for connection and understanding.

What makes her work resonate with so many is her ability to articulate the nuances of these feelings; the bittersweetness of human existence in her melodies and words. For example, “I Will” is the comforting reassurance that you’re loved, warts and all:

I will take good care of you
I will take good care of you
Everything you feel is good
If you would only let you

I will wash your hair at night
And dry it off with care
I will see your body bare
And still I will live here

It’s something we’d all like to hear from our partner or anyone we feel deserving of. Mitski’s music also frequently addresses her complex feelings about her cultural identity and sense of belonging. As someone of mixed heritage and a transient childhood, she captures a unique perspective on the search for a place in the world.

Strawberry Blonde” tackles the complex subject of Asian-American desires versus her white romantic partner’s. She confesses:

I love everybody because I love you
I don’t need the city, and I don’t need proof
All I need, darlin’, is a life in your shape
I picture it, soft, and I ache

Beat the Melting Pot

Mitski’s impact on indie music is profound, influencing a new generation of songwriters and fans with her introspective and thoughtful songwriting. Her ability to blend different musical styles (punk rock to electronic and folk) encourages others to experiment and find their voice in a sometimes monotonous industry.

Moreover, her openness about mental health struggles and the pressures of the music industry triggered conversations among her peers and fans. Mitski briefly stepped away from music after her Be the Cowboy tour. It’s said that she needed to tend to her mental health. And we’ve seen how this is not an isolated case.

Mitski Found

Mitski returned with Laurel Hell (2022), an album that continues to explore complex emotional landscapes through a slightly more synth-pop-influenced sound. The album’s singles like “Working for the Knife” and “The Only Heartbreaker” delve into themes of perseverance in the face of existential dread and the imperfections of human relationships, respectively.

Today, Mitski remains a significant figure in the music world, celebrated for her musical talents and ability to connect deeply with listeners.

This is why we’re excited to say that she’s set to perform this June 1st at Primavera Sound! And, as you know, it’s one of the most renowned music festivals, taking place each year in Barcelona since 2001. It’s known for its eclectic and diverse lineups that cover a wide range of genres (indie, rock, pop, hip-hop, electronic music, etc.).

Mitski: Our Indie Gem

Mitski is not just an indie artist; she is a vital voice in contemporary music, her songs reflect her inner life, inviting listeners into a world where they can find solace, understanding, and beauty.

Whether through the energetic strums of a guitar, the haunting echoes of a piano, or the somber tones of her voice, Mitski’s music promises a journey into the depths of human emotion, making her one of the most compelling musicians of her generation.

As Mitski continues her musical journey, her influence and importance only seem to grow. She promises more innovative music and heartfelt lyrics that will resonate with audiences for years to come. Her discography is not just a collection of songs, but a mosaic of human nature blended in melody and verse.

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