Mitski - Laurel Hell - Opaque Red Vinyl LP

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We don’t typically look to pop albums to answer our cultural moment,
let alone to meet the soul hunger left in the wake of global catastrophe.
But occasionally, an artist proves the form more malleable and capacious
than we knew. With Laurel Hell, Mitski cements her reputation as an artist
in possession of such power - capable of using her talent to perform
the alchemy that turns our most savage and alienated experiences into
the very elixir that cures them. Her critically beloved last album, Be the
Cowboy, built on the breakout acclaim of 2016’s Puberty 2 and launched
her from cult favorite to indie star. She ascended amid a fever of national
division, and the grind of touring and pitfalls of increased visibility
influenced her music as much as her spirit. Like the mountain laurels for
this new album is named, public perception, like the intoxicating prism of
the internet, can offer an alluring façade that obscures a deadly trap—one
that tightens the more you struggle. Exhausted by this warped mirror,
and our addiction to false binaries, she began writing songs that stripped
away the masks and revealed the complex and often contradictory
realities behind them. She wrote many of these songs during or before
2018, while the album finished mixing in May 2021. It is the longest span
of time Mitski has ever spent on a record, and a process that concluded
amid a radically changed world. She recorded Laurel Hell with her
longtime producer Patrick Hyland throughout the isolation of a global
pandemic, during which some of the songs “slowly took on new forms
and meanings, like seed to flower.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the change
when you’re the agent of it, but for the lucky rest of us, Mitski has written
a soundtrack for transformation, a map to the place where vulnerability
and resilience, sorrow and delight, error and transcendence can all sit
within our humanity, can all be seen as worthy of acknowledgment, and
ultimately, love.

1. Valentine, Texas
2. Working for the Knife
3. Stay Soft
4. Everyone
5. Heat Lightning
6. The Only Heartbreaker. Love Me More

8. There’s Nothing Left for You

9. Should’ve Been Me

10. I Guess

11. That’s Our Lamp