Mitski warmly recalls a quote from sculptor El Anatsui, “Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.”
With this nerve exposed lyrically, and having dived into her new beginning, Mitski chose her 2014 breakthrough album Bury Me at Makeout Creek to explore uncharted sonic territory, trading in large string arrangements for guitar and bass. While studying composition at SUNY Purchase’s music conservatory, she previously recorded music with a full orchestra. However as college graduation inched closer, Mitski moved away from the concert hall and into the campus’ active DIY scene. Upon relocating to New York following graduation, she entered stages at Death By Audio, Silent Barn, and Bed Stuy basements, entrenching her songs of love, fear, lust, and brilliant clarity into entirely sympathetic ears.
“I was so young when I behaved 25,” Mitski sings on “First Love / Late Spring,” “yet now I find I’ve grown into a tall child.” This veritable thesis speaks to sentiments of the poetry and beauty of struggling up the hill to adulthood. Mitski follows El Anatsui’s humbling advice, cathartically revealing snapshots from her adventures in youth, and the empowerment found in sharing these stories with others.