Innovatively Evocative Pure Emotion
Puberty 2 by Mitski is all based around the notion that “Happiness fucks you,” and she doesn’t let us down with twisted, poetic lyrics and heavy choruses that leave us lyrically and sonically fucked, so to speak. There’s something discordant yet beautiful about these leave-it-all-out-there arrangements. Pure emotion shines, and interesting, ever-changing sonic combinations add to the powerful allure. There’s something innovative and evocative about this that we’ve been missing from other releases this year. It’s what we’ve been waiting for, and it’s intoxicating.
The opening track starts off with an uncomfortable steady speed-beat backdrop that turns into some urban tinny textures and a stark horn blare. The lyrics match the sonic unease, with the raw, jarring opening line, “Happy came to visit me/ He bought cookies on the way/ I poured him tea, and he told me it’ll all be okay/ Well I told him I’d do anything to have him stay with me/ so he laid me down, and I felt Happy cum inside of me.” The noises conjoin into a unique pop-rock backdrop, while the tale continues before entering back into a horn solo and finally ending with that same opening beat that spazzes out for the finale.
“Dan the Dancer” follows up with a juxtaposition of a mellow rock melody and a cacophonous clash. “Once More to See You” then opens with a dark and deep beat alternating with a tambourine strike. Electronic organ bleeps keep a subtle backdrop noise, while lyrics angelically harmonize of unrequited love. “If you would let me give you pinky promise kisses/ then I wouldn’t have to scream your name atop every roof in the city of my heart.”
“Fireworks” then enters with brilliant, picture-painting lyrics, “One morning this sadness will fossilize, and I will forget how to cry.” We’ve all felt this way at some point. The image continues, growing more vivid, “And when I find that a knife is sticking out of my side, I’ll pull it out without questioning why/ And then one warm summer night, I’ll hear fireworks outside and I’ll listen to the memories as they cry, cry, cry.”
“Your Best American Girl” is the stand out single of the disc, with “If I could, I’d be your little spoon and kiss your fingers forevermore,” the track starts out sweetly. Then, the rock ballad takes shape, exploding into a sea of sound matched by impassioned vocals. It’s a little pop, a little rock, a little punk, a little weird, and a lot of heart. A clattering jangle commences with “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars,” blended with strained, urgent vocals. Then, a rainstorm clatter arises with “Thursday Girl” before fading into an organ-drenched ballad with heavenly vocals that soulfully plead, “Somebody please tell me no.”
“A Burning Hill” concludes things in 1 minute and 50 seconds with another poetic story complemented by minimalist music. “I’m tired of wanting more/ I think I’m finally worn…And I’ve been a forest fire/ And I am a forest fire/ And I am the fire/ And I am the forest/ And I am a witness watching it/ I stand in a valley watching it/ And you are not there at all.”