Mitski - Be the Cowboy: Unbridled Emotion

>> Mitski has long been at the forefront of melancholy anthems. With “Be the Cowboy”, she mixes dejection with disco.

The Good:

Mitski’s voice is nearly unparalleled in modern songwriting. Right from the start, on “Geyser”, the way her tone and volume build to a beautiful crescendo is unlike anything else out there. Her range is stunning, which makes “Be the Cowboy” supremely difficult to sing along to in the car. For her vocals, though, that’s a hit I’m willing to take.

Luckily, the music holds up to the standard of Mitski’s voice. Everything is carefully placed, nothing’s ever extraneous or over the top. Whether it’s a distorted guitar, a synth solo, or a full horn section, no song ever manages to feel like it’s trying too hard. Everything on “Be the Cowboy” feels natural, like an extension of the vocals.

The lyrics, too, hold up to scrutiny. There’s so much depth, so much raw emotion that shows through in every word of “Be the Cowboy”. Yet, at the same time, Mitski doesn’t mince words: when she wants to make a point, she does so succinctly. It’s an excellent mix, metaphor giving way to the meat of an issue.

The Bad:

“Be the Cowboy” lacks a bit of diversity. After a few listens, certain sections of the album can start to blur together, but it takes a long time to reach that point. Really, it’s hard to find things to nitpick on this album.


“Be the Cowboy” is absolutely fantastic. It’s rare that an album comes out with this level of polish, that isn’t over-produced and written by committee. Mitski has hit a perfect balance between raw emotion and careful production, and it makes for a masterpiece of an album. 4.8/5 <<

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