Album Review: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski

Written by on October 2, 2023

After a four-year hiatus, Mitski Miyawaki released two albums within two years. She released the first, Laurel Hell, in February of 2022. It garnered a lukewarm reaction from her otherwise dedicated fanbase. However, on September 15, 2023, the indie singer-songwriter updated her discography with a new album titled The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We. 

So far, the album already gained more traction than Mitski’s previous releases, possibly because she grew in fame in the last few years. Consisting of eleven tracks that total thirty two minutes, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We breaks away from the indie, synth pop, and art pop sounds that the artist has come to be known for. 

Instead, the album uses fresh orchestral arrangements, highlighting the skills that Mitski acquired from her degree in studio composition at SUNY Purchase. Additionally, multiple tracks explore interesting choral arrangements, whether they function as the main melody or as barely-there background details. The most notable example of this is in the first song on the album, “Bug Like an Angel,” in which a full, rounded out choir suddenly joins Mitski at the end of the first verse. 

The sentimental and lyrically profound song “My Love Mine All Mine” has far surpassed any other track on the album in terms of streams, and it’s clear why. Many listeners interpret the titular line –– “Nothing in the world belongs to me, but my love, mine, all mine” –– as a passionate declaration of love. However, the song can also be seen as a powerful affirmation of the knowledge of one’s own internal source of love. 

Other notable tracks include “The Deal,” which features an incredibly intense tempo change. Mitski weaves a narrative about the speaker’s metaphorical interaction with a “bird perched upon a streetlight.” According to the singer herself, the penultimate song on the album, “I’m Your Man,” attempts to reckon with her internal patriarchal voice by subverting roles and expressing masculinity. 

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We also comes with short explanatory videos that Mitski posted on her social media. They are certainly worth watching. They break down the production, writing process, and conceptual formations of specific songs from the album. 

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