With her fifth album, Mitski has solidified herself as one of the most advanced American songwriters. Or, at least that’s how Iggy Pop would put it. But the superlative bears out: Be The Cowboy is an album of vignettes, largely eschewing traditional song structure in favor of intense, precise portraiture. The songs on Be The Cowboy are more like paintings — hear one at a different angle and the entire meaning might change.
The album is a sampling of sounds from Mitski’s past releases, from the studied theatricality of her earliest releases through to the omnivorous mash-ups present on 2016’s Puberty 2. Be The Cowboy is at turns hopeful, sad, and endlessly ambitious, both economical and completely gutting.
Be The Cowboy is out now via Dead Oceans.