Mitski – Lush | Review


Photo By Elliot Krippelz

Spotify’s display of Lush is shown on a computer screen. While the album wasn’t the most popular upon release, its songs have since been streamed millions of times.

     Japanese-American singer and songwriter Mitski Miyawaki is a self-proclaimed musical artist who started her career in 2012 with her debut album Lush. Her songs reflect her internal struggles with relationships, family and mental health issues with unique-sounding music and creative lyrics. Writing all of her songs herself, the singer highlights taboo things in her personal life to have a sense of connection with her audience. Mitski’s debut album, Lush, demonstrates her creative songwriting abilities and creates a specific type of somber music for new audiences to relate to.

     Looking at all of Mitski’s albums, I genuinely enjoy her music. I can relate to many of her songs, and her music holds a genuine place in my heart. That said, Lush is by far my favorite of her albums, which may be a surprise because it is her debut album. It is common for other artists to gradually find their style within the music they create, taking more than one album to become a fan favorite. I believe that Mitski executed her first album perfectly and was able to set a general idea for the rest of her albums in the future. While Lush isn’t her most popular album, I find it her best lyrically and musically. 

     The album cover of Lush features prominent tones of green and black in its composition. Additionally, a blurred image of Mitski cohesively blends with the background colors. Symbolically, the color green represents life and new beginnings, while black nearly means the opposite with death and depression. The cover shows the colors get darker around Mitski herself, representing more of her mental health issues getting to her and affecting her worse as time passes. The music in the album heavily talks about her interpersonal problems and how she feels as if she’s losing herself, which can be fluently explained by the blurred image on the cover and the darkness around the artist. 

     With nine songs on Mitski’s album, all around three minutes each, this album is relatively short and follows the same musical pattern throughout the album. This pattern is most prominent in her first song on the tracklist, Liquid SmoothLyrics aside, the song starts at a slow, graceful pace. It continues moving at a slow tempo until the first play of the chorus, letting the audience fully absorb the lyrics. As the song progresses, the music becomes more intense and rigid. With Liquid Smooth specifically talking about women’s beauty standards and Mitski’s personal experience with them, the gradual development to intensity matches the overall message that she was providing. This is not the only song on the album that follows the pattern of becoming more intense as the song progresses. Most of the songs follow this structure in their own unique way, which also follows the overall tone of the album. 

     Mitski’s tone of music can easily become boring without unique and captivating lyrics. Many other artists use the general theme of making songs more ‘aggressive’ as they progress but lack lyrical creativity, which can quickly become repetitive. With Lush, however, Mitski comes up with diverse topics and lyrics that are not similar to any other song on the album. Mitski creates her own message in each song she writes, whether about relationship issues or struggles with self-image, but with interpretive lyrics that make the listener analyze the song in closer depth. Personally, I prefer songs with a deeper meaning than the lyrics suggest, which is why the ambiguous themes of each song make the album excellent. One of my favorite songs on the album, Bag of Bones, beautifully portrays how her music is up for interpretation. The song’s true meaning is about Mitski being used in relationships for her body and not being seen for who she is. Still, the song’s overall message can vary from anyone’s personal interpretation of the lyrics. This song shows Mitski’s overall goal in creating music to have her audience relate to her songs in their own way, making this album more personable. 

     My only critique of this album is that it targets a particular audience and mood. While some of Mitski’s other albums have a mixed tone, Lush is extremely somber with sad-sounding music that isn’t for everyone. However, when it reaches its targeted audience, the album is done in a creative way that is unlike any other artist. With this being her first album, Mitski was able to successfully reel in a specific audience that created a strong base for the rest of her albums to come. Overall, this album is beautifully done and is perfect for listening to when you’re sad or want to find a new type of music to vent to.