Mitski: Be the Cowboy (Dead Oceans) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 20th, 2024  


Be the Cowboy

Dead Oceans

Aug 14, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Mitski Miyawaki has a hard task: She has to somehow produce a follow up to her 2016 album Puberty 2, a master-class of indie-rock with punk and balladeer edges that touched on identity, love, and rage. Mitski’s new album, Be the Cowboy, doesn’t quite reach those but it almost feels unfairif this wasn’t following up such a monumental album, it would a great achievement.

Opener “Geyser” sets the tone nicelyinstead of jagged, post-grunge guitars and anthemic build-ups, Be the Cowboy is, by-and-large, more tightly controlled with occasional crashes of emotions (with the exception of tracks like “A Pearl”). Mid-tempo songs like “Remember My Name” and piano-driven “Me and My Husband” aren’t bad by any means, but they feel plodding as they get to their conclusions.

Mitski’s lyrics are sharp as ever“nobody fucks me…like me” she coos on “Lonesome Love,” and “Why Didn’t You Stop Me” opens with “I know that I ended it, but why won’t you chase after me,” perhaps the best encapsulation of the confusing post-relationship period I’ve ever heard.

There are plenty of high points on Be the Cowboy. The driving “Washing Machine Heart” has a slinky synth line that propels the song forward, and Mitski takes real chances with her spin on disco on “Nobody.” Closing ballad “Two Slow Dancers” is one of the best songs she has ever written. “Does it smell like a school gymnasium in here?” she asks, and it’s a smell every listener will immediately know. “It would be 100 times easier if we were young again,” she sings, and you can feel the ache because you have felt it before. Be the Cowboy may not hit the highs Mitski is capable of hitting, but it’s still a solid effort from one of today’s best artists. (

Author rating: 7/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 9/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.