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many skilled lyricists, the twenty-five-year-old singer-songwriter Mitski doesn’t like her words to be taken too literally. “And you’re an all-American boy / I guess I couldn’t help trying to be your best American girl.”Mitski took to Facebook.
In April, when she released “Your Best American Girl,” her most straightforward indie-rock single to date, some music blogs assumed that the song was a provocation, designed to position Mitski as a female corrective to the predominantly male world of D. “A lot of reviews have agreed on the narrative that she wrote this song to ‘stick it to the white boy indie rock world!
The album opens with “Happy,” which presents happiness as something that can muddle experience as much as soothe it: “Happy came to visit me / He bought cookies on the way / I poured him tea and he told me it’ll all be O. / Well I told him I’d do anything to have him stay with me.” Later in the song, Mitski grows ambivalent toward her house guest.
’ but I wasn’t thinking about any of that when I was writing it,” she posted.In 2010, Mitski moved to New York, where she studied film at Hunter College before transferring to Purchase student musicians, put a discordant twist on her musical training.Light on drums and guitar, they often showcase Mitski’s vocals against spare piano or string arrangements, occasionally working in some horns.Then she made a concession to the armchair psychologists.
“Yes in the musical composition I used tropes from ‘white indie rock’ of my adolescence,” she wrote. I would never ever fit [in].” (Also like many skilled lyricists, Mitski is better at translating her experience into song than she is at defending her motivations on social media.)Born into a Japanese-American family, Mitski Miyawaki spent her childhood moving around the world.In the world of guitar music, which can seem constitutionally stale or overly nostalgic, this shift in perspective toward the female counts as innovation.