Mitski
Laurel Hell


2.5
average

Review

by jesper STAFF
February 17th, 2022 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: retired from latte, new career in frappuccino

Laurel Hell is a bit of a head-scratcher. There is very little reason for a synth-infused album by one of the 2010’s most popular indie artists to be this… boring. Where previous Mitski albums seemed to build songs around ideas and feelings, the singer-songwriter’s latest full length awkwardly chooses style over substance. Gone are delightful melodies and the intriguingly brief journeys presented within songs; all that is left is a vaguely enjoyable yet entirely unsatisfactory shell.

In spite of being a comparatively expansive record, Laurel Hell rarely ever actually goes anywhere. Opening cut ‘Valentine, Texas’ efficiently introduces Mitski’s new coat: cool, a bit more sparkly, and decently danceable. Its keys present opportunities; its baroque sensibilities feel ready to be explored; its atmosphere yearns to be augmented… and then the album just, eh, doesn’t do or capitalise on any of that. As soon as the distorted guitars underscoring lead single ‘Working for the Knife’ threaten to culminate in a satisfying conclusion, the song ends. As soon as ‘Everyone’ finally presents memorable melodies by way of some wonderfully detached keys, the song ends. As soon as the wistful ‘I Guess’ enters ethereal territories, it decides it’s better off as a semi-interlude and… you guessed it, the song ends. It’s a shame; where past records like Puberty 2 and Be The Cowboy felt entirely organic and satisfying despite and due to their brief tracks, Laurel Hell misguidedly tries to replicate this without paying adequate attention to its aesthetic choices.

Thankfully, the album is perfectly listenable all throughout. Mitski’s vocal performance might just be her best to date; something which becomes abundantly clear as she saves the Royalty Free Background Music For Your Daily Vlogs™-banger ‘Should’ve Been Me’ from itself with nothing but a highly competent delivery. The magical ‘Heat Lightning’ presents the record’s only truly great moment; employing haunting harmonies and a nostalgic atmosphere to its full potential, the song is as excellent as it is frustrating. It functions as proof of the album Laurel Hell could and should have been. As it stands, Mitski’s latest batch of songs feels undercooked, unsatisfactory, and a little too perfect for your local Starbucks.



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user ratings (164)
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


5508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

felt like this needed a rev / wrote this on a plane / wish this were better / god i hate coffee

Slex
February 17th 2022


16663 Comments


Mitski fans are a head scratcher tbh

Love u tho, good review

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


12788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

good rev even tho i don't find this boring!

Pangea
February 17th 2022


10556 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

completely agreed! nice review



i miss puberty 2 mitski

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


5508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

luv u slexy, sorry i didn't like this more

what can i say dedex i have (*turns off simple plan*) high standards

theBoneyKing
February 17th 2022


24515 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I’m not a huge fan of her other work but I found this to be about on the same level, maybe even a bit better… I probably would have dug deeper into it if there hadn’t been so many other great releases that have dominated my time.

BigTuna
February 17th 2022


5907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this! Not on par with the last few for me, but still great.

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


12788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

no worries man i too (*stops shouting in friends we trust*) have the highest standards

Cormano
February 17th 2022


4171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

disagree as well, been loving this new direction it was about time she switched things up

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2022


26621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this finally gets a review and its this smh...

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


5508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sorry daddy

check charly bliss' latest for basically this but much better

Slex
February 17th 2022


16663 Comments


I 5'd that album lol so I guess yr right

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


5508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

oh lol nice, i think i have it 4.5'd so yeah great stuff

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2022


26621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

young enough? i mean its alright but it doesn't have any of the emotional resonance this has

bloc
February 17th 2022


70370 Comments


Yeah this sucks

Tunaboy45
February 17th 2022


18437 Comments


I spent 2 years living with a die-hard Mitski fan and have concluded she's the female Morrissey

AmericanFlagAsh
February 17th 2022


13394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"I’m not a huge fan of her other work but I found this to be about on the same level, maybe even a bit better"



Absolutely not, Bury Me At Makeout Creek through Be The Cowboy were so good

AmericanFlagAsh
February 17th 2022


13394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This album has a few highlights and is not bad at all, but is lacking her trademark emotional intensity, it just feels like she doesn't really care in most songs

theBoneyKing
February 17th 2022


24515 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I spent 2 years living with a die-hard Mitski fan and have concluded she's the female Morrissey


So she’s a narcissistic racist prick?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2022


60894 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

forgot this existed

nice

will read and mayyyybe listen again one day



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