2023 TLR Albums of the Year: Mitski’s “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We”

Mitski’s “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We” album cover. Photo courtesy Ebru Yildiz.

Mitski released her seventh album “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” on Sept. 15, 2023. This latest drop is the indie singer-songwriter’s much calmer, freer and folkier confessional; it comes on the heels of her far more intense 2022 synth pop-fueled “Laurel Hell” album.

The word that comes to my mind the most when listening to “The Land” is “peace.” Although the topics that Mitski treks through across the record are not exactly the most peaceful, she finds ways to come to terms with them and even control them.

The tracks on the record play out as if they were poems. “I Don’t Like My Mind” uses vivid imagery to convey the song’s subject as they struggle with their own subconscious.  “There’s another memory that gets stuck / Inside the walls of my skull, waiting for its turn to talk.” The tracks are all relatively short, as the 11-song album clocks in at just above 32 minutes long. They all use their allotted time, though, to convey the most meaningful storytelling possible.

Songs like “Heaven” and “My Love Mine All Mine” are some of the artist’s most love-induced tracks to date. The theme of the latter, which since its release has become Mitski’s biggest hit in years, is how she wants to be remembered for her love towards others and love in general. Both are slow burning ballads that shine for their vulnerability. The lyric, “Now I bend like a willow thinking of you” from the track “Heaven” provides a simile for this infatuation that feels like finally being able to let go and fully care for someone. Likewise, the lyric “Nothing in the world belongs to me but my love” from “My Love Mine All Mine” taps into this by fully realizing this “love” as someone’s entire being.

“The Land” is an album that sounds like it was made by an artist who seemingly feels no boundaries anymore regarding her sound. While her previous albums each fixated on a specific genre of sound, Mitski now seems to achieve perfect cohesivity on “The Land” within its ability to feel genre-less. For the first time in a career-long span of terrific albums, with her seventh,  Mitski has finally reached perfection.

Listen to “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We” on Spotify.