Music Notes: The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We – Mitski (2023): Review


The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We – Mitski (2023): Review

Mitski, a Japanese-American indie-pop singer, released her 6th studio album, “The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We” on September 15, 2023, just a year and a half after the release of her album “Laurel Hell”. She is known for her orchestral instrumentals, gut-wrenching lyrics, as well as her delicate yet angsty energy that radiates through every song without fail.


This album begins with the track “Bug Like an Angel,” a sullen homage to struggling with addiction, disappointing others, and being disappointed.

Did you go and make promises you can’t keep?

Well, when ya break them, they break you right back

In terms of emotional messaging, this song is a fitting opener to the rest of the songs that follow it. Most deal with disappointment or romanticizing toxicity in some way. In any album, the first song in the tracklist is the most defining moment of the listen; it’s a preview into what you can expect from the rest of the album, as well as a glimpse into what messages may be resolved by the end. In the case of “Bug Like an Angel,” this track shows that this record will be dealing with the artist’s pain, regret, and aspiration for the end of a difficult era in her life. 

In regards to the musical decisions in this song: the slow and delicate instrumentals and voice, occasionally broken through by the chorus of loud and aggressive chamber vocals, were an interesting choice. Upon first listen, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. It highly contrasted the energy that was introduced in the beginning of the song—but as I listened on, the sounds started to blend together. In the chorus, the defeated cries were abruptly shattered by the loud, overpowering sense of abandonment and regret. While in my opinion it may feel out of place audibly, it serves a greater purpose in accenting the emotional intent of the lyrics. “Bug Like and Angel” is not a song I think I would turn on for leisurely listening, but in context of the album, it does what it intends to do.

Although the musical decisions in each song on this album are often unexpected and different from those in the last, Mitski uses her lyrics and symbolism to tie everything together. Throughout this album, (for example, the opener “Bug Like an Angel”), the artist uses bugs as a metaphor for feeling beautiful, yet fragile, complex, and misunderstood by others. In the second track, “Buffalo Replaced”, she opens with the line:

Mosquitoes can enjoy me, I can’t go inside

I’m sucking up as much of the full moon, so bright

The rest of the A-side follows similarly with the tone and lyricism of the songs before it: either soft and beautiful or deep and eerie. While I was enamored with most of what I heard in the beginning of this album, the song “My Love Mine All Mine” stood out to me the most. This track, as soon as you read the title, gives you a sense as to what experience in its message.

My baby here on earth

Showed me what my heart was worth

So, when it comes to be my turn

Could you shine it down here for her?

This song is very musically delicate, with slow piano accompaniment in the background and light percussion: a fitting instrumental choice for the vibe of this song.

In a self-published video by Mitski where she explains the inspiration and intent behind writing this song, she said, “…‘My Love Mine All Mine’ is about how to love is the best thing I ever did, the most beautiful thing.”

This song also explores a topic which Mitski has adamantly avoided throughout much of her career: her sexuality (which can be noticed in her pronoun choice in the lyrics of the above stanza). While the artist has never labeled herself as LGBTQ+, “My Love Mine All Mine” is the first open glimpse she has given her fans of sapphic romance in her discography.

This bold choice, among many others she made when producing this song, has paid off; this track has sat  at number 1 on the TikTok Billboard Hot 50 chart for three weeks in a row, 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 (and climbing), and since the release of this album, Mitski has reached 26 million listeners on Spotify. “My Love Mine All Mine” is, at least for the foreseeable future, by far the most popular song on The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We.

The rapid inclination of popularity in this song begs the question: What do people love about this song?

This song is more intimate than anything Mitski has ever released, and in my opinion, it reflects a change in both society and modern media to be both more welcoming and more interested in showing gratitude towards the things we love and exhibit throughout our lives.


This album as a whole explores adagio and romantic tones, as well as some jazzy experimental pieces in the latter half of this record. Overall, this record is beautifully put together and well thought out, and every word and every sound has a unique purpose. Even when I don’t completely agree with certain musical choices in this album, the intent and the message is never lost. The songs both sound and feel as though they belong together.

I give this album an 8.75/10