Mitski - “Laurel Hell” Album Review

Story posted February 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Fernanda Lopez

Beloved indie alternative artist, Mitski, has managed to catapult to fame alongside the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Lana Del Rey thanks to her beautiful and melancholic discography – now coined as sad girl music.

With “Laurel Hell,” the Japanese-American singer has yet again surprised critics with her highly anticipated sixth album. This album covers Mitski’s relationships, career and experience with love in a beautiful and elegant way.

The opening act, “Valentine, Texas” is a great way to start the album, as the song is enchanting and mysterious. With the signature piano and isolated vocals, Mitski delivers a short but memorable song.

The second song “Working for the Knife” was one of the singles the pop-indie artist released. Amounting more than nineteen million streams, Mitski narrates how she lost motivation to keep creating art while being pressured to do it for monetary gain.

Lyrics like: “I cry at the start of every movie, I guess 'cause I wish I was making things too but I'm working for the knife” are very “Mitsky-esque”, thanks to the vulnerability and even comedy that she incorporates in her songwriting.

After the first two tracks, the Japanese-American singer delivers enjoyable but forgettable filler songs where her vocals sound flat. In “Stay Soft,” Mitski gives homage to her hit “Nobody,” with the groovy disco-inspired instrumentation and catchy chorus. Despite being a song that could make anyone dance, this song doesn't have the ‘it factor' that “Nobody” had — making this track a less enjoyable version of this song.

Followed by “Everyone,” Mitski navigates regret and the struggle that takes place when loving someone that you know is not good for you. With lyrics like: “Everyone said, don't go that way, so, of course, to that, I said I think I'll go that way.” This song can be interpreted as the description of self-sabotage, as Miski delivers the passionate lyrics over simple, yet intriguing drums and synths. This song, however, does not stand out and manages to fade away as a filler song.

“Heat Lightning” is the strongest track on the album. With a haunting intro that sounds like The Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs,” Mitski crafted a song that stood out from her usual songwriting, as she vividly describes her experiences as a person that struggles with insomnia with lyrics like: “I've laid awake since 1:00 and, now, it's 4 o'clock, though I've held on, can't carry it much longer.”

Mitski finished the album with strong tracks like “There’s Nothing Left for You” and ‘Should’ve Been Me.” These two songs about love and heartbreak have similar lyrics but completely different sounds.

“Should Have Been Me” has a more joyful, and even a Hall and Oates instrumentation, while, “There’s Nothing Left for You” is more of a melancholic ballad with synth, echoes and piano.

Mitski delivered a solid album with intricate lyrics and musical experimentation. Despite getting repetitive and following the same musical formula in some songs, her lyrics and artistic approach to songwriting set her apart from other acts.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Heat Lightning, ”Valentine, Texas”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Stay Soft”

Fernanda Lopez is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email