Review: Mitski delivers profound ‘Puberty 2’

When I stumbled across Mitski Miyawaki’s bandcamp page toward the end of 2014 I remember feeling like I had struck gold. On the brilliant “Bury Me At Makeout Creek,” her voice was resilient, though at times shaky, tinged with melancholy as she recalled lost love and the voids left behind once it crumbles. Her lyrics made me feel alive and less alone in the world.

“I want a love that falls as fast as a body from the balcony / And I want a kiss like my heart is hitting the ground,” she sings on “Townie,” a portrayal of the pangs of post-adolescent existentialism.   

Mistake released her fourth record “Puberty 2,” June 17.

Much like the heady, profoundly honest nature of her previous albums, Mitski’s fourth LP finds the songwriter coming to terms with imperfect love and the messy nature of existing.

Album opener “Happy,” opens with a jilting, yet intoxicating drum sample and displays Mitski’s uncanny skill at crafting narratives that display the complex nuances of emotional vulnerability. After a lover has his way with her and leaves without a trace, she’s left alone, again, to clean up cookie wrappers and empty cups of tea.

“If you’re going take the train so I can hear it rumble, one last rumble / And when you go, take this heart, I’ll make no more use of it when there’s no more you,” she sings, beckoning a masterfully placed saxophone interlude.

Mitski’s discography is rife with sad songs, but she isn’t wallowing. Her cutting observations on love and twenty-something growing pains are profound.

On “Fireworks,” she sings of compartmentalizing sadness, pain and anger–all the emotions that keep a young person alive.

“One morning this sadness will fossilize and I will forget how to cry,” she confesses.

On the track she acknowledges being an adult often means suppressing certain emotions to maintain a sense of normalcy and balance–that is until they come bubbling to the surface without warning.

“And then one warm summer night, I’ll hear fireworks outside / And I’ll listen to the memories as they cry, cry, cry,” she coos in the chorus of “Fireworks”.

Album closer “A Burning Hill,” finds Mitski coping with the weight of sadness and the fleeting nature of happiness. She’s choking back disappointment as she buttons up her white button-down, confronting another new day.

“I’ve been a forest fire,” she admits. Mitski closes the wistful track with wisdom.

“I’ll go to work and I’ll go to sleep and all of the littler things / I’ll love some littler things.”

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