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Laurel Hell

by Mitski

Released February 4, 2022 via Dead Oceans

Reviewed February 15, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Valentine, Texas (37%), Working For The Knife (35%), Stay Soft (33%)

In line with the recent resurgence of synthpop and new wave-inspired music, Laurel Hell is Mitski’s most reminiscent of that resurgence. The biggest drawback of that shift is the maximalist direction’s tendency to overshadow her lyrics at first glance. Regardless, Mitski manages to keep the feeling of her older, more indie rock catalog. The vulnerable lyrics and melancholia are right there where she left them. If there was one flaw that stood out, it’s the sequencing. The tracklist takes on an emotional rollercoaster of sorts, from slow ballads to groovy ‘80s-Pop several times. Laurel Hell can get hectic, and had it been ordered better the end result would’ve been an improvement. But if there’s anything to write home about, it’s that Mitski fixed one of her negative habits: Her previous albums tended to have a lot of <2 minute songs that were already amazing, but could’ve been better with extended length and substance. At around three minutes per track, Laurel Hell offers more complete efforts. It may take a while to catch on for some, but Laurel Hell is a truly great effort from one of the best indie artists of this generation. – Alan (8.5/10)

Every storied career deserves a change of pace, and Mitski is shedding some of the morbid romantics that made her a star. The melancholy and melodrama hasn’t run completely dry for Mitski; yet and still, she interprets herself in her notoriously complex tone. The synthpop perspective of Laurel Hell’s instrumental profile contrasts Mitski’s work behind the microphone well, with sequences of high energy keeping the album lively and tuneful. Ultimately, Mitski can certainly be applauded for working a bit outside her usual zones, though it’s apparent she’s not in total harmony with her new modus operandi. – DeVán (7.5/10)

Alan: 8.5/10 | Victoria: 8.5/10 | Pax: 8.1/10 | Cam: 8/10 | Hadley: 8/10 | Dominick: 7.6/10

Henny: 7.6/10 | DeVán: 7.5/10 | Peter: 7/10 | Jared: 5/10


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