Mitski's music career is fascinating to see how she's evolved since started over a decade ago. From making her debut album LUSH while still in college, she's managed to prove herself as an artist whose level of talent knows no bounds.
Her way of approaching several themes like anxiety, heartbreak, the fears of youth, sex and growing up was always presented with such a beautiful aura, as if she knew how to cut deep and drive you to tears with how down to earth and heavily realistic her songwriting was, which is why her music is beloved by many people.
This follow-up comes after her 2022 album Laurel Hell, which I was underwhelmed by due to its unfocused tonal shift that didn't fit too well with Mitski's emotional songwriting, despite I admire the different approach.
Thankfully, I can say that The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We sees her resorting to her chamber pop roots we know well from her older material whilst having that luscious orchestral sound that will potentially leave you shedding a few tears.
I love how this album sounds with its blend of her signature musical style that's restrained in terms of her melodic touches with slow but sharp piano keys or country-esque guitar plucks, mixed with an occasional lo-fi aesthetic. However, Mitski isn't afraid to dive into some raw, hard-hitting instrumentation towards the end of certain tracks that hint at emotional breaking point.
There's no denying Mitski's vocals are tender, still carrying that gorgeous soft-spoken tone that always leaves you feeling comforted and also willing to tug on your heartstrings. I described her voice as having that emotive range that will give you chills, which drives her songwriting further with such resonance.
While I had my complaints with the runtimes of her previous albums, saying they were all short at 32 minutes, I feel like it's justified here since Mitski gets everything out into the open in terms of her storytelling, adressing themes like isolation, broken relationships and celebration of freedom. Everything feels neatly compact into this short runtime without feeling overdone.
The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is a massive improvement from Laurel Hell, signalling a step back in the right direction in her discography that's full of emotion and powerful songwriting along the way. The hype is worth it.