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  • Hiba Awais

3 Mitski Lyrics that Changed the Trajectory of My Life

Mitski’s ongoing U.S Tour, in honor of her seventh studio album The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, has been flooding my for you page with her performances which showcase her outstanding vocal range and heart-wrenching lyrics. In honor of her talent in both singing and songwriting (and to cope with my incredible FOMO), I am highlighting the top three Mitski lyrics that struck a chord with me and earned her the title of my favorite alternative/indie artist. 

  1. I’m Your Man: “You believe me like a god. I’ll betray you like a man.” 

I’m Your Man is the tenth track on Mitski’s most recent album, The Land is

Inhospitable and So Are We. Mitski effectively reflects the despair of not feeling worthy of love through her lyricism and angelic vocals. In just two verses, Mitski tells a story laced with metaphors that leave the listener pondering what it truly means to love and be loved.

The lyrics that stand out to me are “You believe me like a god. I’ll betray you like a man,” because they emphasize the unspoken burdens of being loved. Mitski highlights the conflict between how the person you love views you versus how you view yourself. Love means being placed on a pedestal by the people who love us, “like a god,” which often means being viewed as unconditionally perfect. The pedestal they placed you on, and in turn their love for you, ends up being a burden because you feel obligated to live up to this unrealistic image of yourself. Ultimately, we fear we will let the people we love down and betray their image of us, “like a man” because we’re simply human and make mistakes. Mitski beautifully conveys this message throughout the song with the play on roles such as angel, dog, god, and man to express the different levels of how two people view each other in a relationship versus how they view themselves.

2. Class of 2013: “Mom, am I still young? Can I dream for a few months more?

Class of 2013 is the ninth and final track on Mitski’s second studio album,

Retired from Sad, New Career in Business. In only one minute and fifty seconds, Mitski captures the tragedy of abandoning your dreams to withstand the harsh reality of our world. Throughout the song, Mitski addresses her mom and asks her if she’s still allowed the luxuries of youth, like having her back washed or staying at her mother’s house. Accompanied by the bittersweet melody of the piano, Mitski passionately expresses the ache and nostalgia of growing up through her purposeful changes in tone throughout each verse. 

Ironically, when I first heard this track in middle school, I dismissed it as too short and unnecessarily sad. However, it seems that I have now reached the age where I can fully understand and appreciate the raw emotion and heartbreaking reality that echoes in Mitski’s voice as she sings the closing lyrics, “Mom am I still young? Can I dream for a few months more?” Part of growing up is transitioning from relying on others to taking responsibility for every aspect of your life. As adults, we often struggle with the internal conflict of decision-making, between what we want to do and what we should do. By directing the questions towards her mom, Mitski describes how tiresome being independent can be and how we long for someone else to decide for us, to tell us yes or no as our mother would. These lyrics stuck with me because they are dripping with nostalgia and the relatable desire to be free of responsibility and have everything done for us.

3. Liquid Smooth: “I’m pulsing, my blood is red and unafraid of living. Beginning to End” 

Liquid Smooth is the first track on Mitski’s debut album, Lush, which was her junior-year project at SUNY Purchase and arguably her most iconic work. Liquid Smooth carries a message about burdensome beauty standards and their contribution to the fear that one’s worth is equivalent to their appearance. Mitski expresses that because she feels her value is determined by her beauty, she should try to make the most of it while she’s still young. The song escalates with each verse from when she emphasizes how she feels objectified, “Biology, I’m an organism, I’m chemical. That’s all, that is all,” to the dramatic bridge where she belts her growing fear of losing her worth when she inevitably ages, “How I feel this river rushing through my veins. With nowhere else to go, it circles round.

My favorite lyric is in the second verse, “I’m pulsing, my blood is red and unafraid of living. Beginning to End” because it expresses how life progresses regardless of the despair or anxiety we feel. Mitski's description of her blood emphasizes the inevitability of aging and the separation of mind and body. The second line “Beginning to End” refers to how the end of Mitski's prime is the beginning of her end. I love the way Mitski sings this line because it marks the shift in the song from accepting the weight of beauty standards to the anxiety and fear of losing it all to something that’s out of your control.

I find Mitski’s lyricism captivating as she says so much in so little words. Every aspect of her music is purposeful, from her tone and vocals to the purposeful melodies and backtracks. Her music is like literature, it carries messages and metaphors to be interpreted differently by each listener. 



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