It all started at the beginning of September. It was a day like any other day. I was getting bored thinking about how bored we can get sometimes. In an attempt to kill time, I grabbed my computer and started browsing for some TV shows to watch: One Mississippi popped up.
I had never heard of it, so I looked up the cast and saw Tig Notaro. She’s an American comedian – I think – and I remembered seeing her on the web-broadcast of some American radio show called Wits – I found it pretty good, but I think it’s not running anymore – and thought she was funny. Here is a Wits video if you’re interested, it features David Cross and Har Mar Superstar, both singing and slam-poeting, you’re in for a treat.
Anyhow, I decided to watch the show. I liked it and watched it all. I enjoyed not only the story, but also the soundtrack. And in one of the episodes, this song came on, and just like that, I had a new obsession. The song was Your Best American Girl by Mitski. This was the start of a new love for me. For now over a month, I have been listening to her 4 albums on repeat.
I sometimes get those phases during which I get fixated on a band/singer/artist and can’t make myself listen to anything else. It happened with Regina Spektor, Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, the list goes on… It’s good fun for me but I guess my housemates and friends don’t feel the same way about it.
Now I’m in love with Mitski, and I want to share it with the whole world. So for you, here are 15 Mitski songs with lines that made me fall for her. I hope they will make you like her at least a bit, if not as much as I do.
15 – Texas Reznikoff – Bury Me At Make Out Creek, 2014
“You make it there, you make it anywhere/[…]/But I’ve been anywhere, and that’s not what I want/I wanna be still with you”
We’re starting with Texas Reznikoff; it’s the perfect starter in my opinion. Why? It’s all quiet and sweet and sad, and, all of a sudden, it goes big and noisy, which really sums up Mitski for me. Let’s also appreciate the album title, Bury Me At Make Out Creek, it’s the perfect amount of teenage cheesiness, nostalgia and death.
14 – Strawberry Blond – Retired from Sad, New Career in Business, 2013
“You tell me you love her/I give you a grin/Oh all I ever wanted was/A life in the shape of you”
Unrequited love, I feel like we can all somehow relate to this; don’t we all feel like we’ve liked – loved, if you’re one of those – people just so much more than they did us? I sure as hell do. And once again, this album title is a special one.
13 – Bag of Bones – Lush, 2012
“Let’s shake the poet out of the beast”
Casual sex helps kill the loneliness sometimes, even when your room is messy and you feel like you can’t keep going on doing that sort of crap; this is what Mitski is telling us here. As a messy bored lonely girl, I’m not gonna disagree with her.
12 – Dan the Dancer – Puberty 2, 2016
“He liked her more than life itself/I’m sure”
I don’t seem to be able to forget this one. I think it might not only have to do with the song but also with the fact that I have a good friend named Dan, whom, I believe, fits this song very well.
11 – Abbey – Lush
“I am waiting/I have been waiting/I was born waiting”
The main event in this song is the human voice. Isn’t it impressive all the things we can do with our mouths?
10 – Townie – Bury Me At Make Out Creek
“I’m not gonna be what my daddy wants me to be”
Dads are hard to please. My dear papa lost all faith in me when I stopped studying linguistics, now he thinks I lie around all day and sing like a little bird at university for £9,000 per academic year. So let’s party and disappoint our daddies all together with this song.
9 – I Bet on Losing Dogs – Puberty 2
“I bet on losing dogs/I know they’re losing and I pay for my place by the ring/Where I’ll be looking in their eyes when they’re down”
I Bet on Losing Dogs is hard for me to write about: every time it comes on, my brain stops working and I start slowly rocking and swaying and I sing along to it as if I were an indie diva on stage.
8 – Brand New City – Lush
“But if I gave up on being pretty, I wouldn’t know how to be alive”
This line against a background of heavy guitars becomes even sadder and more intense than it first seems on its own.
7 – Fireworks – Puberty 2
“One morning this sadness will fossilize/And I will forget how to cry”
I’m still waiting for the day ‘sadness will fossilize’. In the meantime, I cry and listen to sad songs and songs about not being sad anymore like this one.
6 – Square – Bury Me At Make Out Creek
“Everything had its own place/And I wondered what space would I take”
This is another beautiful song about casual sex. I believe good songwriting can turn the most trivial events of life into something pretty and special; like here, the story behind it is probably something along the line of “that time I had sex with that boy who had a girlfriend and I kind of didn’t know him but I liked him anyway”. There’s a big symphonic background, and it sounds like the snow when she sings about the snow, it makes this little story sound so much more epic than it probably was.
5 – Your Best American Girl – Puberty 2
“You’re the sun, you’ve never seen the night”
And one more love song from Mitski! This is the first song I’ve heard from her, the one that started it all. Mitski is Japanese and American, here she touches on her cultural background. She does it with a big guitar and pretty vocals.
4 – Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart – Retired from Sad, New Career in Business
“I don’t blame you if you want to/Bury me in your memory”
The best thing about this song for me is not the lyrics. Not that the lyrics are not good, I find them great. But really what sets it apart is the unusual and weird instrumental loops and the way Mitski makes her voice jump to those high notes.
3 – Last Words of a Shooting Stars – Bury Me At Make Out Creek
“I always wanted to die clean and pretty/But I’d be too busy on working days”
Don’t you sometimes catch yourself thinking “man, if I died right now, that would not be a pretty corpse”? Well, I do regularly, so I’m happy Mitski wrote this song; now I know it’s at least 2 of us.
2 – My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars – Puberty 2
“I wanna see the whole world/I don’t know how I’m gonna pay rent”
Being young and trying to make something out of yourself is not that easy really; this is a joyous and explosive expression of this. My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars is another song I think we should play more at parties.
1 – Francis Forever – Bury Me At Make Out Creek
“I don’t need the world to see/That I’ve been the best I can be”
When I was in school there was a kid named Francis. He was so mean. I hated the name Francis for years after meeting him; but now, when I hear that name, I just think of this and I sing to myself. Thank you Mitski for rehabilitating the name Francis for me.
If you’re a fan of Adventure Time, you might have heard Marceline, the Vampire Queen do a pretty good rendition of Francis Forever.