The legendary singer-songwriter Mitski has released a new music video for her track “Stay Soft.” The track comes from the artist’s new album, Laurel Hell, which was released today through Dead Oceans.
Musically, “Stay Soft” is intended to mix between the guitar riffs of a normal rock song and the drum beat of a dance song. In a statement, Mitski revealed that she had decided to use a dance beat because the riffs she wrote in combination with the “darkly sexual lyrics sung in that context felt too heavy and melodramatic.” However, she decided to leave in an interlude without the drum beat that keeps the original “grungy feeling.”
The music video for the new track starts off peacefully before descending into madness. At first, we see the artist inside of a garden tending to and picking the plants around her, seemingly without a care in the world. However, lurking behind her is someone waiting to attack her, which she cannot see. At one point, she cuts her hand to feed one of the plants in the garden as the surrounding area fades to darkness, and we see her grabbed and attacked by the disguised attacker.
Even in the middle of the attack, Mitski is able to show off her performance ability and dance moves, as we see her moving along with the beat even as she is on the floor being dragged away. We also get to briefly see her dance alongside her attacker, prior to the end of the video where we see her repeatedly stab them. The director for the video, Maegan Houang, described its aesthetic as being “heavily inspired by Romanticism and paintings and artwork from the Victorian era. Like the lyrics of the song ‘Stay Soft,’ paintings from that era have a gentle quality, but they still evoke a certain feeling of unexplored darkness and danger.” Houang goes on to explain the relationship between the beauty of the dancing and the violence shown between Mitski and her attacker, stating that “The violence lurking beneath the surface emerges, and yet is still transformed into something beautiful via dance. Through the dance sequence, Mitski’s character is able to conquer the violence, but not without irreparable harm to her psyche.” Watch the music video for “Stay Soft” below.
Previously, Mitski released a track and music video titled “Love Me More” as a single for Laurel Hell.