Mitski’s fourth LP "Puberty 2" is delightfully cacophonous and driven by a visceral emotional intensity. Like profound lyricists of the past, the young artist shares her most intimate feelings with us. She writes about the darkest secrets from her relationships, and while blunt and painful at times, they are ones that we can all relate to. It's easy to become mesmerized by the mess of love and finding ones’ self that she lays bare across these powerful 11 tracks. Puberty 2 is a hidden gem that every 20-something year old can devour guiltlessly.
The young Mitski Miyawaki, having spent most of her life living in different countries, (the singer was born in Japan, but has also lived in Turkey, China and the Dominican Republic of Congo), eventually settled in New York. After completing high school, Miyawaki attended the Suny Purchase Conservatory of Music where she would study classical music and composition. While her solo work is based in indie-rock, with occasional crossover into art pop and punk, her musical training has lent well to the creativity that the artist has implemented into her unique sound.
After developing this sound over her last three LP’s, Mitski has flourished into an artist with a strong and confident voice, one, that is ironically of a young adult so obviously riddled with insecurities. "Puberty 2" begins with an uncomfortable staccato of uniform beats, leading into Mitski’s smooth and delicate voice. “Happy” sets the tone for what will become an exploration of passion and selfhood as she describes an encounter with a lover with honest and descriptive lyrics. “Well I told him I’d do anything to have him stay with me/So he laid me down, and I felt happy, come inside of me.” Miyawaki’s lyricism is one of the most potent and penetrative aspects of the album. Her vocals, while expressive and intricate, are often very calming and soft, making her words more pungent.
Mitski’s punk rock side hits us hard in some of her tracks, almost unexpectedly. “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars,” is an angsty outpour of the artist’s emotions. As she squeals “Kill me, Jerusalem,” over top of a raw guitar riff, she promises us that she is not afraid to be a little rough around the edges.
“Your Best American Girl,” the single off of the album, is perhaps the most accessible, if not highly regarded of Mitski’s songs. The track begins gently, describing the artist’s longing for an intimate relationship. When the track breaks into the first chorus, a distorted guitar kicks in as she describes the differences between herself and her crush. “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me/But I do, I finally do.” In the music video for the song, Mitski illuminates the cultural struggle of mixed relationships: “And you’re an all-American boy/I guess I couldn’t help but try and be the best American girl.” Not only does the video provoke racial differences, but it serves to mock modern American fads.
Watch Mitsuki’s video for “Your Best American Girl”
"Puberty 2" provides a voice for many young adults that are afraid to be honest about the hardships of their twenties. While seemingly abrasive at times, with rough instrumentations and vivid lyricism, Mitski has given us a piece of herself, if not a piece of many of her listeners as well.