Title: Retired from Sad, New Career in Business
Keywords: Alt Pop, Orchestral Pop, Indie
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, singer-songwriter Mitski presents Retired from Sad, New Career in Business, a self-released album that is touching, at times kooky, and all-around astounding. Escaping the traditional singer-songwriter cliché of a melancholy, acoustic-guitar-wielding Bob Dylan acolyte, Mitski describes herself as “orchestral pop for excited young people.” That excitement is kept up throughout the album, not just in the form of high energy songs (most of the songs are slower, more meditative numbers), but also in an incredible attention to detail.
Recorded at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music with an army of session musicians, Mitski had many assets to utilize, and she did so in spades. It is indeed the little touches that take the already solid songwriting and heartfelt lyrics of Retired (…) and lift them into a higher level of musical paradise. From the energetic and off-kilter opener “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart,” to the gang vocals and kazoo chorus towards the end of “Strawberry Blond,” and the delicate interplay between strings and horns on tracks like “Square,” “Humpty,” and “Shame,” each song is full of luscious detail. Lyrically, the songs are about traditional young adult topics like love, sex, relationships, and the cash-strapped life, but with the meticulous song construction, listeners’ hearts swell and are carried along with the narrator’s, borne in her capable hands. What is most interesting and endearing about the album, despite all the orchestration this review has focused on, is demonstrated in two bonus tracks that accompany the album: a solo piano rendition of “Square” and solo electric guitar take on “Shame.” In these stripped down versions, the songs still carry the same weight, proving that whether Mitski is by herself or accompanied by a mass of other talented folks, she still knows how to write damn good songs.
Retired from Sad, New Career in Business was self-released through Mitski’s bandcamp page here: http://mitski.bandcamp.com
Music videos were also created for each of the album’s nine tracks, which can be seen on her tumblr page here: http://mitski.com