Pick of the Week: Mitski “The Only Heartbreaker”

Mitski "The Only Heartbreaker"
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

Mitski still knows how to hit listeners straight in the heart. It’s been six years since she put out her last album, the art piece that is 2018’s Be The Cowboy. And with the release of last month’s single “Working for the Knife” and her latest, “The Only Heartbreaker,” Mitski proves her music can be danceable, tragic and empowering all in one. 
 

DIVING INTO THE SOUND AND MEANING OF “THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER”

In a press release about her recent works, Mitski openly admitted, “I make mistakes all the time. I don’t want to put on a front where I’m a role model, but I’m also not a bad person.” She went on, “I needed to create this space mostly for myself where I sat in that grey area.”

It is this refreshing sense of honesty and humility that finds its way into “The Only Heartbreaker.” Through the lyrics, co-written by Daniel Wilson, Mitski sings of being the one in a relationship who always makes mistakes and lets her partner down. But a subtle word change in the refrain from “I’ll be the only heartbreaker” to “and make me the only heartbreaker” implies that the other half of the relationship shouldn’t go entirely without blame.

Heavy on synths, “The Only Heartbreaker” takes on a strong '80s-influenced sound. The guitar runs are bursting with energy and the drums, bringing a punch from the start, serve as the song’s heartbeat. Together alongside Mitski’s building vocals, the instrumentation helps set an empowering tone. 
 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MITSKI?

Nine tracks will join “The Only Heartbreaker” and “Working For the Knife” to complete Mitski’s upcoming album Laurel Hell. The LP, which she created alongside her longtime producer Patrick Hyland, is set to come out on February 4.

In a press release, Mitski talked about her inspiration for Laurel Hell. “I needed love songs about real relationships that are not power struggles to be won or lost,” she said. “I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself.” 

Before the album’s release was even made official, Mitski sold out every date of her just-announced U.S. tour. Included are two shows at Roadrunner, the new music venue coming to Allston this spring. When she takes the stage on March 21 and 22, Mitski is set to be only the third artist to perform at the venue. With her dynamic stage presence, she is sure to put on a memorable show.
 

Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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