March 20, 2023
By Anonymous

Mitski’s entire discography is an irreplicable composition of work that cements her as one the best lyricists in our generation. Her role in her unique genre of indie rock is crucial as an Asian-American woman in the unwelcoming music industry. She writes in such raw emotion that is often accompanied with heavy rock beats that express her feelings accurately. Her poetically crafted lyrics are what calls each listener in and captivates them from the first chord. Her creative expression evokes a plethora of emotions, providing a unique experience per listen but a sense of unity because we’re all essentially singing for the same reason. I have gone through a journey with every album I listen to and I find myself in each melody. She has entranced me and gained my allyship without even knowing me, but somehow I feel like she has seen every aspect of my life through her songs. But my favorite underrated piece is “Retired from Sad, New Career In Business.” 

Retired from Sad, New Career in Business is Mitski’s 2nd studio album that was released on August 1, 2013. The 9 track album was written during her senior year at SUNY purchase. She uses the SUNY orchestra heavily in this body of work, providing a raw authentic sound that is crispy and unique to this album. The album is about growing up, anxiety and fear regarding sexuality, romantic relationships and moving on from them. The first track is one of my favorite songs of her’s: Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart. The opening line being, “There’s nobody better than you.” My interpretation of the song is coming to realization that the person she was involved with moved on before she realized her true love for them. The person got sick of waiting for her to make a move and now she is filled with regret, longing for them to accept her now though she knows that is not going to happen. So she switches in chorus to saying that she doesn't blame them for wanting to forget that she exists completely because she hurt them, but they should tell their friends about the person she was when they loved her. Even as she goes through heartbreak, she worries about her reputation and it causes her to beg towards the end of the song.

These sad lyrics are hidden behind an upbeat sound that distracts the reader from the sorrow Mitski is going through is the song, her voice starts to break while singing but the hi-hat makes the song seem everything but sad. The album continues to explore sexuality which is often seen as taboo with women. She represents that in her piece “Shame”, where the chords in the song get more intense and screecher as she explores pleasure. The album continues and she continues to go through the emotional themes of the album, such as choosing a traditional career path instead of your dreams because of financial burdens and trying not to upset someone with the truth. She continues to long for the person the album is about in her esteemed song, “I Want You.” The soundtrack is one of her emptier pieces, purposefully done so that the audience listens to the slow track and lyrics at the same time. It’s the climax of the album. She is explicitly telling the person that she wants to pursue a serious relationship with them, not the strictly sexual relationship they are trying to push due to commitment issues. They split up and Mitski is in agony because they insist on being friends because their previous situationship doesn't work. The album continues and Mitski is upset. Though she pretends she doesnt as she finds the sad lyrics behind happy beats, a true representation of how she feels about them moving on.

The unrequited love seems to be the breaking point for her because in the last song, “Class of 2013” where she sings with everything in her. You can truly feel her heartbreak as she belts out “Mom, will you wash my back this once, and then we can forget.” At this point, Mitski has given up. She is asking her mom for a place to stay because she believes that her career in music isn't going to get her anywhere. She tells her mother that she will give up on music like she wanted, “...leaving what [she] is chasing for the other girls to pursue.” But then she ends by asking if her mother will just give her a little more time, so can chase her dreams a little longer. 

The rollercoaster this album is will leave each listener sobbing as they reflect on everything, and find themselves in Mitski’s heartbreak. 

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