Be The Cowboy is the forthcoming album from Mitski, due out this summer through Dead Oceans. The follow-up to 2016’s breakthrough Puberty 2 sees Iggy Pop’s favorite singer-songwriter experimenting “in narrative and fiction.” With the help of longtime producer Patrick Hyland, Mitski uses her latest LP to tell the story of “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel.”
In order to realize this character while recording, the pair imagined “the image of someone alone on a stage, singing solo with a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room.” Mitski elaborated:
“For most of the tracks, we didn’t layer the vocals with doubles or harmonies, to achieve that campy ‘person singing alone on stage’ atmosphere. We also made the music swell louder than the main vocals and left in vocal errors like when my voice breaks in ‘Nobody,’ right when the band goes quiet, all for a similar effect.'”
To better understand Mitski’s vision here, she’s shared the aforementioned “Nobody” as her latest Be The Cowboy single. As promised, the track wavers between the calm and the storm — her affecting voice singular and lonesome up against the dynamic music. “Still nobody wants me… no one will save me,” she sings. “I’m just asking for a kiss.”
The corresponding video, directed by Christopher Good, mirrors much of the song’s despair and chaos, as it features faceless people and surreal scenes (like one in which Mitski goes to open a diary only to find an endless parade of smaller diaries inside it). Check it out below.