Laurel Hell by Mitski
Mitski’s most recent release Laurel Hell is a reflection on her relationship with her fans, her art, and herself. Her previous album Be The Cowboy (2018), launched her into indie pop fame, with tracks such as “Nobody” and “Me and My Husband” blowing up on TikTok and leaving her a much younger and larger audience than ever before. Whilst grappling with this newfound fame, a few online incidents occurred which left Mitski feeling like she had no choice other than to quit social media and music altogether in 2019. Because the contract with her label required her to complete one more album, Mitski has provided us with this 33 minute long synth-pop record that grapples with the consequences of being perceived by a very large audience. Mitski still loves her fans simply because she would not be able to create art without them, however she recognizes that the parasocial relationships that people form with her are concerning and dangerous. Laurel Hell contains many complexities and contradictions, and despite its short length, its catchy 1980’s-reminiscent hooks and expectedly thought-provoking lyrics make for a beautiful project.