On Feb. 4, two new, highly-anticipated albums were released: Mitski’s “Laurel Hell” and Bastille’s “Give Me The Future.”
Bastille’s “Give Me The Future”
Bastille’s first three albums are all similar in style, lending a mix of pop and folk to their discography. “Give Me The Future” is a far departure from their standard. A mesh of synth and artpop, “Give Me The Future” is an entirely new sound for the band. However, some tracks on the album are palatable, such as “Thelma + Louise.”
“Days like these, you wanna gеt away / Close our eyes, prеtend we’re miles away / Hear the sound of my heart exploding,” Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille sings.
Some tracks, however, are downright odd. The song “Stay Awake?” starts off with the voice of some sort of artificial intelligence system, while “Plug In” swells with synth choir. Fans of synth pop or dubstep styles will enjoy this album. Personally, though, I found that “Give Me The Future” does not live up to Bastille’s previous albums.
Mitski’s “Laurel Hell”
Japanese American artist Mitski is known for her soul-crushing lyrics and sad instrumentals. Her previous five albums have all explored themes of self-identity, relationships and mental health. Her sixth album, “Laurel Hell,” breaks through this mold. A blend of 80s synth pop and alternative music, Mitski explains her creative burnout through her masterful lyrics. As an avid Mitski fan, I was waiting for this album to hit shelves, and I was not disappointed.
Mitski previously explained in a conversation with Apple Music that she took a long hiatus after her fifth album “Be The Cowboy” and is still feeling the burnout and gloom that the music industry imparts on artists. The opening track seems to communicate that Mitski is learning how to re-navigate being a person in the music industry.
“Let’s step carefully into the dark/ Once we’re in I’ll remember my way around,” she sings in “Valentine, Texas.”
She lends more upbeat sounds in songs such as “The Only Heartbreaker” and “Love Me More.” Yet, “Laurel Hell” has an underlying finality in its lyrics. In her track “I Guess,” she also showcases this finality.
“I guess this is the end / I’ll have to learn to be somebody else / It’s been you and me, since before I was me / Without you, I don’t yet know quite how to live,” she sings.
The song seems like a thank you to the fans that have supported her over the years, and a new step into a life outside of the industry. Many speculate that “Laurel Hell” may be Mitski’s final piece of work. The album sounds like a final goodbye to her fans and her career. The songs seem as if Mitski is recalling memories of her life and career — both happy and sad. One thing is for sure, though: if “Laurel Hell” is Mitski’s final album, it is a wonderful departure to an expansive career.