“Your Best American Girl” is the standout track from Mitski’s latest album Puberty 2. Just by listening to it, it seems pretty clear that it is a very personal song, although all of Mitski’s songs seem quite personal. However, Mitski, along with collaborator Patrick Hyland, were recently on the Song Exploder podcast hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway to discuss the song.
While “Song Exploder” is a process heavy podcast, and they do go into Mitski’s songwriting process and play snippets of the song, it’s what’s at the core of “Your Best American Girl” that is most interesting and most notable. She says that the song’s origin comes from being in love with somebody, but it couldn’t work because their backgrounds “were just so completely different.” She further elaborated on the conflicted emotions that drive the song, saying:
“You always want what you can’t have, and that all-American thing, from the day I was born, I could never enter that dream. That all-American white culture is something that is inherited instead of attained. So yes, it’s a sad song, but I wanted to make sure it reflected all of the contrasting feelings. You can be heartbroken about a relationship, but also, from it, realize you are you and you’re okay with who you are, or where you came from.”
Mitski’s music is so textually rich that it was great to see one of her songs unpacked a bit on Song Exploder. “Your Best American Girl” was a particularly worthy choice. Listen below.