Mitski’s Be The Cowboy album released this August, and to celebrate the musical defibrillator that is Mitski’s lyrical sorcery, we’re counting down the top emotional breakdowns that a Mitski song has caused, not-so-loosely based off of actual events. Grab a tissue and delete your ex’s phone number, we’re just some sad kids listening to some sad songs.
Album: Be The Cowboy
And I know no one will save me I’m just asking for a kiss Give me one good movie kiss and I’ll be All right
There is only one way to create music: repeat nobody, nobody, nobody over and over and over in a fugue state, sobbing underneath a piano, channeling every note of loneliness in the universe until either the floor opens up into a chasm, or your producer says “this could make a great single.” Mitski’s dynamic instrumentation comes to a head with “Nobody,” making for a disco dance bop that also resonates so deeply with existential loneliness that you’ll want to throw ass straight into a boundless, unforgiving void.
But more alien than the narrator’s feeling of estrangement is this notion that “one good honest kiss” could fix it all — even though in reality, we know we could spend the rest of time fixing our lives from one good kiss. Or, in the artist’s case, spend the rest of a discography fixing herself from one kiss. Pain from loneliness is not a void at all. Someone has to take up space for it to hurt when they leave. But also, that key change.
2. Francis Forever
Album: Bury Me At Makeout Creek
I don’t know what to do without you I don’t know where to put my hands I’ve been trying to lay my head down But I’m writing this at 3am
Heartbreaking is this ballad of longing from a lonesome narrator. Even more wrenching to hear for a girl who wants to kiss another girl. Agony, thy name is having a crush on your straight best friend. Catharsis, thy game is bawling “Francis Forever” lyrics into a pillow.
3. A Loving Feeling
Album: Puberty 2
Kisses like pink cotton candy Talking to everyone but me I’m staying up late just in case You come up and ask to leave with meWhat do you do with a loving feeling If the loving feeling makes you all alone?
When you and your boo post up to a 21st birthday party, you don’t expect to be six shots of Bailey’s deep into an existential crisis where the existence is yours and the crisis is the lack of acknowledgement your existence receives from the person you’ve been smashing tonsils with for the last month or so.
And sure, maybe somebody finished all the salami from the cheese plate, and that’s just plain rude to do at a party, but that’s not the real reason why you end up emptying your stomach contents from the last 24 hours into the birthday girl’s toilet. No, the real reason is because at the end of the party, the arm to your candy is going to want to suck the skin off your neck, and you’re going to let him. You moron.
4. A Pearl
Album: Be The Cowboy
Sorry that I don’t want your touch. It’s not that I don’t want you. Sorry I can’t take your touch. It’s just that I fell in love with a war. Nobody told me it ended. And it left a pearl in my head, and I roll it around. Every night just to watch it glow. Every night baby that’s where I go.
Waiting three days to text someone back is an archaic rule made up by knobs who didn’t have to deal with the anxiety of read receipts. That being said, there should be a different kind of three-day rule which dictates how long you should wait before oversharing intimate details of personal trauma to a Tinder InBetween. This rule will come with terms and restrictions such as: If a guy’s online dating profile explicitly mentions that he’s looking for a girl to have meaningful and [pseudo]intellectual conversation with, it means he’s going to give you backhanded compliments and perform an unsolicited TED Talk on ethics and moral philosophy on the first date. When he takes his first break for air, go ahead and drop the bomb that your aunt once stole your uncle’s social security information to buy land in Michigan.
Then, if Bargain Bin Aristotle still wants to pursue the lyceum between your legs, you give him a good old Socratic Seminar on all the emotional baggage you’ve been carrying since the seventh grade. Put that in your E-Cig and smoke it.
5. I Want You
Album: Retired from Sad, A New Career in Business
You’re in the house And I am here in the car I just need a quiet place Where I can scream How I love you.
A week after breaking it off with the first person you ever loved (who wasn’t a waiter at IHOP during finals week), you’re going to drive over 400 miles across the ugly terrain of Texas to get drenched in a downpour waiting for the doors to open for Mitski’s Marfa concert. You may start to feel queasy from inhaling a gas station corn dog 15 minutes before, and you may start to mentally draft up your will because there’s a strong chance of death by hypothermia and Mitski. But you’ll watch the show. Your heart will ache. The rain will offer its applause by slapping the roof of the building. The thunder will chime in with its own boisterous approval. Only the cicadas outside will demand an encore, and that’s because they have to die at the end of the night. And you’ll probably join them.
6. I Will
Album: Bury Me At Makeout Creek
I will take good care of you I will take good care of you Everything you feel is good If you would only let you I will wash your hair at night And dry it off with care I will see your body bare And still I will live here
Mitski frequently prefaces her performance of “I Will” at live concerts by explaining that she wrote the song because she needed to hear someone say it — even if it was from herself. She needed to hear someone tell her that everything was going to be okay, that she would be taken care of, and that “we’re not out of the tunnel, I bet you though there’s an end.”
Someday, you may have an unscheduled breakdown while trying to send a two-line email to a professor (even though you know, in your heart, that Dr. What’s His Nuts will reply with “thx – Sent from My iPhone”), or trying to buy kimchi from the Korean grocery market (because you don’t know what brand, your mom won’t answer the phone, and you didn’t pay attention in Korean school when you were 8) or just trying to fold a STUPID fitted sheet into a reasonable pile (everyone can link all the YouTube tutorial videos they want, it’s still an impossible task).
Follow Mitski’s example. Take a deep breath. And tell yourself what you need to hear: “Get it together, man.”