As? That autumn hasn’t officially started yet? It doesn’t matter that it’s not September 23: the launch of “The land is inhospitable and so are we” marks the beginning of fall 2023, whether you like it or not. Just one year after “Laurel Hell”, Mitski Miyawaki returns leaving behind that attempt at retirement and confirming that, as he declared when he spoke about “Geyser”, ‘I will abandon anything, including myself, just so I can continue making music.’ Of course the timing was not exactly to retire: “Laurel Hell” It reached first place in sales in the United States, and he also received an Oscar nomination for his song for the multi-award-winning “Everything everywhere at once” and, ultimately, its popularity has not stopped growing. And, at least for the quality, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to do it after this album.
Once again with his faithful squire Patrick Hyland in the production, and with orchestral arrangements by Drew Erickson (who has worked with Father John Misty or Weyes Blood), Miyawaki embarks on a project that reminds us with a certain irony that he once titled A disc “Retired from sad, new career in bussiness” (13), or that “therapists hate her” meme: “The land is inhospitable, and so are we” is probably the darkest album of Mythicalalthough at the same time it has a certain light, as we will now see.
Solitude is the main theme of the album, something that is not new for the author of “Nobody”but here perhaps in a more personal, even more vulnerable way. “Bug like an angel” It’s already starting strong with an alcoholic throwing verses like “did you go and make promises you can’t keep? / well, when ya break them, they break you right back / amateur mistake, you can take it from me” and those sinister choruses, but things get more. “I don’t like my mind” It speaks of obsessive thoughts and regret, of self-destruction in which one tries to escape from it only to end up creating more (“I don’t like being left alone in a room / with all its opinions about the things that I’ve done”), “The Frost” is another example of loneliness (“it’s just witness-less me”) and how poor existence is if there is no one to share it with, and in “The Deal” He talks about selling his soul for nothing in return, just to get rid of it… and yet, “your pain is eased but you’ll never free”.
“Heaven” could seem romantic in your everyday life with a phrase as beautiful as “a I sip on the rest of coffee you left / a kiss left of you”but what is understood is that that love is no longer there, and that holding on to that nail means that “heaven, heaven”. “I’m yours no matter that love’s gone (…) we’ve travelled very far, I’ll / keep a leftover light / burnin’ so you can keep lookin’ up / isn’t that worth holdin’ on?” is asked in ‘Star’, after having lost someone to whom he says “you know I’d always been alone, til you taught me to live for somebody”. And it goes further: in ‘I’m your man’ (“you’re an angel, I’m a dog, or you’re a dog and I’m your man (…) you believe me like a god, I betray you like a man”)she blames herself for the breakup and is so sure that “no one will love her the same” that “I should die, I deserve it, right?” “I’ll meet judgement by the hounds” she says shortly before, indeed, we hear how some dogs arrive barking to devour her.
Even “My Love Mine All Mine”, one of the great cuts on the album and a priori one of the few luminous ones (and perhaps the ‘happiest’ love song that Mitski has written), can have a bitter reading: if all the thoughts we have seen are from the same character, no It would be strange if he were seriously considering suicide, and sought the small consolation that, after he died, the Moon would ensure that his love continued to accompany that other person. Luckily the album closes with “I love me after you”, a passage of loneliness but on this occasion seen as something positive and dedicated to self-care.
It is curious that, except in songs like in ‘When memories snow’the instrumentation is more in the background, giving prominence to the voice and lyrics of Mythical and, intentionally or not, accentuating the author’s loneliness. “The land is inhospitable, and so we are” captures that perfectly.