Mitski – “I Don’t Smoke” (Stereogum Premiere)

The first time I listen to albums I know I’m going to love, I like to go up onto my roof late at night and lay down on the scratchy pavement and look up at the dark sky. It’s a nice break from staring at my laptop, which I tend to do for most of the day, and the lack of distraction really allows me to absorb what I’m listening to. I did this with Mitski’s brilliant new album and I remember it so vividly: It was one of those nights on the cusp of summer and fall, chilly but not cold, and the clouds were bunched up in tufts and looked as if they were folding in on one another. If I unfocused my eyes, they’d start to glimmer and roll, a shimmering mirage that stretched out for miles. I don’t like to categorize things as “nighttime” music but, as I looked up at that sky as the opening chords of “I Don’t Smoke” played, I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to experience it. The song is the emotional centerpiece on Bury Me At Makeout Creek, and it’s a complete gut-punch about an all-encompassing love that you know is bad for you but you can’t leave. It combines the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and comes out colossal and pummeling and impossible to put aside. From the first crunching guitar to the final, wistful echo, it never lets up. And that chorus? It’s one of the best I’ve heard all year, anthemic in its selflessness and passion. “If you need to be mean, be mean to me/ I can take it and put it inside of me/ If your hands need to break more than trinkets in your room/ You can lean on my arm as you break my heart.” Mitski taps into something wonderful and visceral on “I Don’t Smoke” (and on every song on her forthcoming album, for that matter). It’s an absolute masterpiece of a track, and you can listen to it below.

Tour Dates:

10/02 Brooklyn @ The Silent Barn *

10/09 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Mr. Roboto Project *

10/10 Cleveland, OH @ Mahalls Basement *

10/11 Grand Rapids, MI @ Bike Shop *

10/12 Chicago, OH @ Beat Kitchen *

10/14 Kansas City, MO @ Art Closet Studio *

10/15 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre *

10/16 Salt Lake City, NE @ The Loading Dock *

10/17 Boise, ID @ The Crux *

10/24 Brooklyn, NY @ The Silent Barn (for Miscreant & Father Daughter’s unofficial CMJ show)
* with LVL UP

Bury Me At Makeout Creek is out 11/11 on Double Double Whammy.

Tags: Mitski