By Eden Unger, Staff Writer
There are some songs you only listen to once, and there are some songs you listen to over and over again. There are also songs you can’t stop listening to. These are the songs that you remember hearing for the first time; they are the songs that stick with you. “Bug Like an Angel,” the lead single from Mitski’s upcoming album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, is one of those songs. I was waiting for the elevator in my girlfriend’s apartment building, a bag of laundry slung over one shoulder, when the lush, layered strains of Mitski’s voice, buoyed by a nigh-angelic choir, washed over me for the first time. My clothes all but dropped to the floor, and I almost missed the elevator door as it opened.
Behind “Behind the Song”
Three days after the release of “Bug Like an Angel,” Mitski released “Bug Like an Angel (Behind the Song),” a deep dive into the process behind the song and a window into the musical choices she makes on the track.
“I wanted the chords to just keep going in that progression,” Mitski says of the four chords that make up the entire song, “because this song is about addiction, and I wanted to show musically somehow that addiction is basically a cycle, you’re just kind of stuck in this repetitive over and over, it doesn’t end.”
She goes on to describe the use of a choir in the song as “the first big jump scare, and you know I love jump scares in my songs.”
In an interview with Matt Wilkinson, who interviewed Mitski after the release of her most recent album Laurel Hell, she talks about how her producer Patrick Hyland pointed out to her that “[She tends] to work in two albums… the first album is like the discovery of an idea, the second album following it is a refinement of that idea.”
If the trend holds, we can expect to see a refinement of, and expansion on, the ‘80s sensibilities of Laurel Hell on The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We.
We’ve Missed You Mitski!
This level of transparency may come as a shock to those who have watched the singer’s career over the years and are aware of her struggles with living in the spotlight. “Bug Like an Angel” marks Mitski’s second album since her return after a much-needed hiatus that began in 2019.
Some, like Matt Wilkinson, thought she might never return: “There was a moment when I thought I wouldn't be interviewing you again,” Wilkinson told her. To which Mitski, in typical Mitski-fashion, responded: “You thought I’d be dead?”
Later in the interview, she says, “I think I was just tired, and I felt like I just, I needed a break and I couldn’t do it anymore.”
When asked what was different post-hiatus, she told Wilkinson that “I think it’s learning my limitations. I now have the great privilege of being able to say no to most things… Making sure I listen to my body, listen to my brain,” which is something we could all do more, quite honestly.
What’s Next For Mitski?
The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is out on September 15, 2023, and while we’ve already got the tracklist, Mitski has not announced tour dates yet, so keep an eye out, and an ear open!
Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!