Mitski Be the Cowboy Dead Oceans
“For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” says Mitski Miyawaki. There are certainly plenty of literary devices at play on her fifth LP, Be the Cowboy. It is full of adroit, vivid metaphors, opening with her as a ‘geyser’, unable to hold everything in any longer. We are told lost love is a pearl that we roll around endlessly in our minds. Later, Mitski asks someone to “toss their dirty shoes into her washing machine heart”.
The unfolding narrative reveals a character looking for control amongst the loneliness and disarray of life. It’s a neat trick, allowing Mitski to delve into aching emotional territory while still keeping at a knowing distance. There’s also a certain sense of growth from her breakthrough album, 2016’s Puberty 2 – this is bolder, more ambitious and experimental. Songs veer between plaintive piano ballads and a flood of horns, synths and handclaps soundtrack our omniscient narrator attempting to understand desire, love and growing old. But as the guitars crash over Remember My Name, she acknowledges that “I need something bigger than the sky” – a realisation that acceptance, rather than answers, are all we can hope for.