Reviewer: Jamie Milton
Released: 17th June 2016
Label: Dead Oceans
A boldly and deeply brave record, Mitski’s new album confronts ugly truths and bleak reality without a second to spare.
Mitski Miyawaki has been making emotionally-bare music for years, but ‘Puberty 2’ goes beyond the twisted heroics of last year’s ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek’ by some distance.
And if you can pinpoint Mitski’s step-up from cult favourite to actual phenomenon, ’Your Best American Girl’ packs that moment. The song relates the New Yorker’s scattered upbringing - she’s lived in China, Turkey and Democratic Republic of Congo - to the American conventions she faces every day. She lets fireworks off with blockbuster-ready, eye-gouging guitars, delivering the line “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me / But I do, I finally do” in an explosive realisation. This is stark, emotional songwriting with the floodgates permanently open - a triumph in every sense.
Nothing matches the blistering force of that track, but don’t expect to feel comfortable with the rest of ‘Puberty 2’. Guts are twisted in ‘Happy’’s bleak personification of one, simple emotion (“I felt happy come inside of me”), and ‘My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars’ is a fleeting, Neutral Milk Hotel-style shooting star of obnoxious fuzz.
‘Puberty 2’ leaves no stone unturned in its attempt to make grim tales seem even worse than you could possibly imagine. It’s a brutally tough shock to the system, one that will leave its trace for years to come.
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