Mitski is the patron saint of introverts, a paragon for people who can sometimes experience existential loneliness but also feel nurtured by a night spent indoors alone. She is an idol for hopeless romantics, consumed by their desire and willing to do anything for love, no matter the cost. While she may look like an ethereal priestess that a loving religion prays to, she’s actually one of the biggest names in indie rock. Thousands of people have crowned her their guardian angel in some way because of the resonance of her narrative writing.
Whether you know her or not, Mitski has become one of the hottest pop-star phenomena in the indie world in recent years. The 32-year-old singer (who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father and spent her youth moving abroad due to her father’s job) has been steadily releasing music since her composition studies in the conservatory program at SUNY Purchase College. She first established herself as an independent darling and favorite of the Bandcamp community, bursting onto the New York DIY scene and self-releasing two albums before landing an independent record deal. But with each release, his star only grew, with his excellent 2018 album be the cowboy and her hit single “Nobody” catapulting her to another level of success. Now her hugely loving fanbase, who she used to interact with on Twitter, is lining up for merch pop-ups, and instead of playing in rooms with a capacity of a hundred, she opens for Harry Styles on tour.
What makes fans stand in complete silence on her shows like she’s giving a sermon? His writing. For much of his career, Mitski made opera from an adult age, singing of cursed romance, unrequited love, happiness, loneliness, and the intersection of identity with a particularly raw truth that almost hurts to hear. Whether she writes from her own experience or from the perspective of characters she knows inside and out, the approach to the lyrics of her music is where fans find sanctity. She tells stories they can relate to.
If you’ve never gotten into his music before, we’re breaking down where to start now that his sixth album, Laurel Hell, is outside. The album comes after she nearly swore off music, after speaking out about the struggle to balance her musical momentum with her ever-growing “stardom” – which has reached a level few independent acts have ever reached. Below, find the essential Mitski releases that, at the very least, will prepare you for Laurel Hell. They should also help you understand why her fans might say she destroys them, but they still trust her with their life.