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She shares DNA with a broad spectrum of artists, ranging from Fiona Apple to Adele—artists who produce songs that cut to the heart of shared emotional experience, and who write a good hook, too. Her 2014 album, “Bury Me at Makeout Creek,” was louder and more traditional than anything she’d written before, drawing from the punk and garage rock that laid the foundations for indie rock.
Her new album, “Puberty 2,” continues this progression.
(“Puberty 2” is not a sequel, but it may be a comment on the everlasting nature of growing pains.) Inside the belly of despair, on “Fireworks,” Mitski predicts how she’ll feel in the future.
“One morning this sadness will fossilize / And I’ll forget how to cry,” she sings.
Experienced in sum, Mitski’s music sheds the baggage that accompanies associations of genre or era.
Early one morning, in a slightly drunken haze, and never having played much music before, she sat down at a keyboard and wrote her first song, “Bag of Bones.” The lyrics contain what today sounds like a mission statement: “Let’s shake this poet out of the beast.” Mitski felt that she’d discovered something important about her future, and yet was struck by the sensation that it wasn’t a happy moment.
In 2010, Mitski moved to New York, where she studied film at Hunter College before transferring to Purchase student musicians, put a discordant twist on her musical training.
Light on drums and guitar, they often showcase Mitski’s vocals against spare piano or string arrangements, occasionally working in some horns.
The songs are wispy and high-drama, like the score to a piece of moody, experimental theatre.
But they also demonstrate a simple melodic sweetness that puts Mitski in the company of the better female pop singer-songwriters of the past two decades.