When Mitski announced her upcoming album Be The Cowboy in May, she promised that it would be a narrative record, describing a woman who craves the little control that she has: “[I had in mind] a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.”
She delivers on that in her new video for “Nobody,” in which her character grapples for power in a surreal environment, as the colorful world around her changes and is filled with supernatural and absurd elements like human arms hanging out of walls and people without faces. These not-so-happy themes are undercut by the joyful and upbeat sound of the song; Mitski describes the track on Twitter, “My new song ‘Nobody,’ because sometimes you just got to dance the lonesome away.”
She previously said she and producer Patrick Hyland let the imperfections of this and other songs from Be The Cowboy slide for an intimate effect:
“[Hyland and I kept returning to] the image of someone alone on a stage, singing solo with a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room. For most of the tracks, we didn’t layer the vocals with doubles or harmonies, to achieve that campy ‘person singing alone on stage’ atmosphere. We also made the music swell louder than the main vocals and left in vocal errors like when my voice breaks in ‘Nobody,’ right when the band goes quiet, all for a similar effect.”
Watch the video for “Nobody” above, and find her upcoming tour dates here.
Be The Cowboy is out 8/17 via Dead Oceans. Pre-order it here.