It’s been a little over a year-and-a-half since Mitski’s Laurel Hell took over the Billboard Albums Chart in the kind of indie coup d’état not seen since Frank Ocean’s Blonde.
Mainstream breakthrough notwithstanding, the experimentalist singer-songwriter-turned-pop-megastar continues to push forward, announcing a new record, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We (out September 15th via Dead Oceans), from which the the first single, “Bug Like an Angel,” landed at the end of July.
Mitski’s status as a pathbreaker is well secured. A master at what NPR Music’s Ann Powers called “interpreting outsized emotions,” she kicked the door off the hinges, creating an opening for a whole host of rock-inclined singer-songwriters like Japanese Breakfast, Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy to walk through.
A press release for The Land Is Inhospitable describes the record as “Mitski’s most sonically expansive, epic, and wise album to-date.” And, indeed, wisdom seems a logical next step — if not a layup — for an artist who, just five years ago, was hailed as “the 21st-century’s poet laureate of young adulthood.”
We now have three sonically-distinctive previews of the new record, as Mitski unveiled the orchestral “Star” and the twangy, cinematic “Heaven” as follow ups to the choir-backed “Bug Like an Angel.” With its earthy, acoustic foundation and noir feel, “Heaven” sounds the most like the pre-2018 version of Mitski, before the synth-forward grandiosity of Be The Cowboy. “Now I bend like a willow thinking of you / Like a murmuring brook curving about you,” Mitski sings over a sentimentalist soundscape, painted in romantic colors by a full orchestra courtesy of arranger and composer Drew Erickson.
- Stream three new singles by Mitski
Both “Star” and “Heaven” are songs that germinated years ago, and have, according to press notes, assumed varied shapes in the years since. All the the songs on The Land Is Inhospitable found their final forms at both Nashville’s Bomb Shelter and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, her longtime producer Patrick Hyland on-hand, as well as, for the first time, a live band.
The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is out September 15. Mitski also announced a short acoustic tour of Europe in October, during which she’ll preview stripped-down versions of the songs from the new record.
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