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The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

A Review of Mitski’s Latest Album

By Shannon Street

Rating: 5/5

Image: David Lee on flickr. License: CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Since the beginning of her career, Mitski has been busy curating a very distinct sound. Her music is melancholic, often exploring love, loss and loneliness.

Mitski strayed ever so slightly from her typical sound with her 2022 album Laurel Hell, which was full of songs that make you want to dance (which is almost unheard of when it comes to Mitski). After the release of Laurel Hell, Mitski began to consider retirement. I am thankful that, instead, she gifted us with perhaps her best album yet, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We.

You may have easily missed the release of Mitski’s seventh album. Despite going viral on Tiktok, Mitski released her album with very little fanfare, yet it is deserving of much more attention than it received.

The Land Is Inhospitable is an organic return to the original Mitski sound and an exploration of the themes that have defined her music from a more mature perspective.

Mitski herself has described this album as her “most American” yet. It is an ode to love and land, beginning with the almost hymnlike ‘Bug Like an Angel’, a song that reiterates Mitski’s cycle of loneliness and desperate pursuit of love. This time, however, Mitski’s perspective is different. Her lyricism has improved, and rather than let the album be defined by an absence of love, it remains hopeful. ‘Bug Like an Angel’ addresses Mitski’s fears, but she doesn’t let this fear consume her album. The following two songs, ‘Buffalo Replaced’ and ‘Heaven’ flow easily, echoing the melancholy of the first track. Unlike Mitski’s other albums, however, it seems like her love songs on this latest release are dedicated to the world, rather than one specific person.

The following track, ‘I Don’t Like My Mind’, is a raw and honest confessional, a breakaway from the melodic tributes to Mother Nature. Many of the songs echo one another, with themes of love and nature intertwining through each track. A newfound appreciation for her home and nature makes the album cohesive, straying from the anxieties emphasized in Be the Cowboy, her 2018 album. Mitski keeps the album interesting by maintaining contradictions within it. It is simultaneously a collection of love songs to herself and love songs to the universe.

The highlight of The Land Is Inhospitable is the seventh track, ‘My Love Mine All Mine’. It is a beautiful track that embodies the spirit of Mitski’s return. She sings of her desire to love, saying in a triumphant reclamation of her self-worth. This song embodies the spirit of the album and welcomes the new, more mature Mitski.

Whilst The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We fits in with Mitski’s earlier discography, it re-examines her earlier anxieties from a more nuanced perspective. The songs are reminiscent of her previous albums but her growth as an artist is evident. It is an album that compliments her previous work but also holds its own. The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We isn’t a lamentation over lost loves and heartbreaks endured. It is instead a celebration of oneself and the beauty of life, even when difficult. It is well worth a listen.


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