Posts Tagged ‘Puberty 2’


Mitski is a singer-songwriter fresh off the release of her album, Puberty 2. The follow-up to 2014’s ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek’, named after a Simpsons quote and hailed Best New Music by Pitchfork as “a complex 10-song story [containing] some of the most nuanced, complex and articulate music that’s come from the indiesphere in a while,” Puberty 2 picks up where its predecessor left off. “It’s kind of a two parter,” explains Mitski. “It’s similar in sound, but a direct growth [from] that record.” Musically, there are subtle evolutions: electronic drum machines pulse throughout beneath Pixies-ish guitars, while saxophone lights up its opening track. “I had a certain confidence this time. I knew what I wanted, knew what I was doing and wasn’t afraid to do things that some people may not like.”

This installment of the AEA Sessions video series features New York-based singer-songwriter, Mitski, as she performs three songs from her 2016 album, ‘Puberty 2’.

Alone with her guitar and washed in a warm, orange glow, Mitski delivers dynamic performances that explore a range of texture and tone. In ‘My Body Is Made Of Crushed Little Stars’, she sings of youthful restlessness while her guitar roars with energy and ferocity. In contrast, her words of somber sympathy in ‘I Bet On Losing Dogs’ ring most true atop her delicate finger-picked guitar playing.

“…so the lyrics and the vocal melody are king in my songs. they always come first.” Mitski’s approach to songwriting begins from the ground up, with a deliberate vocal melody that manifests the vivid imagery of her words. “The way I learned to write was just writing things down on paper and hearing it in my head and kind of hoping for the best.”

In these sessions, Mitski’s voice and guitar come together to create singular, evocative moments that linger in the mind.

To best capture these moments, we rely on the simple, but effective combination of the near-field N22 and far-field, stereo R88. Both Mitski’s vocal and guitar cab are recorded by the near-field NUVO N22, while the stereo R88 records the room. All tracks are without equalization or compression and the reverb is provided by a plate reverb unit.

In terms of message though, Mitski cuts the same defiant, feminist figure on Puberty 2 that won her acclaim last time around (her hero is MIA, for her politics as much as her music). Born in Japan, Mitski grew up surrounded by her father’s Smithsonian folk recordings and mother’s 1970s Japanese pop CDs in a family that moved frequently: she spent stints in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, China and Turkey among other countries before coming to New York to study composition at SUNY Purchase.


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A traditional housewife being cheated on by an insipid mansplainer – but wait. There’s a huge plot twist. At the end, when the housewife wanders around the house in the middle of the night, we find that the horrible man is actually slaughtering all of these women in their very own basement. Mitski brings all of the blood and gore into a somewhat sweet-sounding song, and adds even more detail to an already vivid story.

mitski puberty new album Top 50 Albums of 2016

Mistki has shared the music video for the final track from her 2016 album,Puberty 2, following the releases of videos for “Happy” and “Your Best American Girl.” “A Burning Hill” is a resolvedly drowsy track that begins by quickly declaring “I’m tired of wanting more/I think I’m finally worn” but then closes the album out on the small resolution of “And I’ll love the littler things/I’ll love some littler things”; it’s an ending that’s not happy, per se, but that finds a melancholy peace in the decision to continue to, as one gets older, accept joys that are smaller and smaller.

The song itself is not much longer than 2 minutes, and the video that’s just been released follows suit in being wholly unadorned — focusing most of its brief time on close ups of Mitski’s face or her hand, as it floats through the water or past a landscape in a car, basking in a seeming “love of [those] littler things.”

Mitski said of the filming of the video (which is directed by Bradley Gray):

The director and I spent a weekend just driving around New York and Pennsylvania while the camera kept running, and most of the time I’d forget I was being filmed. It felt like a vacation, but it was also quite emotional, as I was thinking about the song and what it means to me now while jumping in rivers and driving down dirt lanes.

Mitski, A Burning Hill from the record, ‘Puberty 2’ released  June 17th on Dead Oceans.


Not many artists have had better years than Mitski. With the release of her celebrated album “Puberty 2” (via Dead Oceans Records), Mitski only got bigger and bigger, but always on her own terms. On November 21st, she played her largest headlining show in New York yet, with a sold out performance at Webster Hall, along with two great openers in Weaves and Fear Of Men. It was even more impressive to see the hold she had over Webster Hall crowd during every living moment of her personal 15-song set. She attracts a young and passionate fanbase, who are devoted to every word and line she delivers, singing it back even more emotional than it was originated. There’s a sincere power to her voice, and it’s hard not to be swept up by it all.
Mitski is only going to garner more accolades as the best of the year lists continue to file in, it’s safe to say that her star will only rise even more over the years. It’s been a great pleasure to watch her grow as an artists, and here’s to whatever she does next.

In “A Loving Feeling” from her new album Puberty 2, Mitski Miyawaki asks, over static and guitars, “What do you do with a loving feeling/ if a loving feeling makes you all alone?” It’s a question she poses, in various forms, throughout the record, sometimes in a hopeful whisper, other times in an enraged, accusatory shout. By the end of “Puberty 2″, it becomes clear that it’s a question she can only answer herself.

The album’s title positions it as a sequel—the awkward, cruel extension of a life stage few people would willingly revisit. She depicts that tension and confusion with particular pointedness in “Happy,” where the titular emotion finally visits her, only to leave a mess behind. “Well I sighed and mumbled to myself/ ‘Again I have to clean,’” she sings in amusement. The sax riff and dry applause that follows land like a punch line.

Subtle images of “pinky promise kisses,” of being the little spoon that “kiss[es] your fingers forever more,” of taking one last look at a lover in the rear view mirror, convey a vulnerable intimacy; it’s as if Mitski, in the midst of self-doubt and anxiety, wants to make herself smaller. Yet throughout the album, those subtleties give way to sudden, explosive moments of exhilaration and self-assertion: slow doo-wop declarations of love in “Once More to See You,” ragged howls and aggressively-strummed guitars in “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars,” the invasive flash of sweet memories during “one warm summer night” in “Fireworks,” and the fierce look of love on “I Bet on Losing Dogs.” By the record’s end, it’s clear that Mitski has made peace with her question about a “loving feeling.” She finds all of the strength and peace she needs simply by loving herself. She may be alone, but she’s never lonely.

Mitski — Puberty 2

That might make Puberty 2 sound meek. It is anything but. Mitski and her sole collaborator and producer, Patrick Hyland, trade the slightly rustic quality of 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek for grungy sharpness and spacey ambience, These 11 tracks creep up on you, as her coiled melodies suddenly explode into cavernous freak-outs or build to a crescendo of unbearable catharsis.

Mitski – Puberty 2 (Dead Oceans Records)

Puberty is a motherfucker. It’s a time when your body’s doing weird stuff, your hormones are running wild, and every little problem seems like the end of the world. But things gets easier. Your emotions don’t go away or even get smaller, necessarily — you just learn to deal with them, to manage them, to live your life anyway. That’s what growing up is, and Puberty 2 is the sound of Mitski growing up.


The fuzzed-out indie-rock that’s become her signature is supplemented by drum machines, synths, even a saxophone, blossoming from the soft/loud dichotomy of Bury Me At Makeout Creek to a more nuanced spectrum of sound. Lyrically, Mitski is focused on what basically amounts to Newton’s third law of emotion: for every feeling, there is an equal and opposite un-feeling. On opener “Happy,” that endless and inevitable cycle is cause for hopelessness and exhaustion. But by the closing track, you get the sense that she’s figured out the secret to living, which is that that there isn’t really a secret to living — you kinda just have to do it. Or, as she sighs in the album’s closing lines: “So today I will wear my white button-down/ I can at least be neat/ Walk out and be seen as clean/ And I’ll go to work and I’ll go to sleep/ And all of the littler things.” Puberty 2 might be a huge achievement, but it’s the sound of all the littler things that get you through the big things. It matters.