REVIEW: "Be the Cowboy" by mitski
Mitski’s latest album, "Be the Cowboy," is a musical, heartfelt masterpiece. Mitski is often crowned as the Queen of Sad Alt Pop, in a sense. Her lyrics are as cutting and brutal as they are gentle and honest. With "Be the Cowboy," Mitski makes a shift to being the centerpiece of her own music. Her vocals are not drifting, fleeting, or in the background. She is belting, so clearly, it feels like she is right next to you.
With this more intimate shift, the lyrics walk the line between fact and fiction. Mitski has always been honest with listeners, but not everything on "Be the Cowboy" is first hand narrative. Some tracks, such as Nobody, are visceral and painfully real. Mitski has described the development of the chorus as her on the floor in a “semi-fuge state” saying “nobody” again and again. However, tracks like “Me and my Husband” tell narratives, not far from Mitski or the listeners, but ones that remain only stories and fictions.
The tracks on "Be the Cowboy" emulate show-tunes at times, carrying a realistic story that is clearly influenced by Mitski as a writer and a human, yet are at arms length from her personal experiences. Mitski allows her listeners to live in a fictional world, not too different or less painless from the real one, but one crafted for us, the listeners.