Mitski has discussed her forthcoming album Laurel Hell, revealing that it's "been through so many iterations", and was a "punk" and a "country" album "at some point".
In February 2022 Mitski will release her follow-up to 2018's Be The Cowboy album. So far, she's unveiled three singles from Laurel Hell - "Heat Lightning", "The Only Heartbreaker" and "Working for the Knife" - and now she's discussed the album in more detail with Rolling Stone.
Speaking about how Be The Cowboy changed her career, she said, "I felt it was shaving away my soul little by little. The music industry is this supersaturated version of consumerism. You are the product being consumed, bought, and sold. Even the people on your team who are your friends, the very foundation of your dynamic is that they get a percentage of your income. Every time I turned something down, it would mean that they would make less money."
"In order for me to survive in the music industry as it exists, I had to stuff a pillow over my heart and tell it to stop screaming, and be like, ‘Shut up, shut up, take it'," she continued. "After a few years of doing that every single day, my heart really did start to go numb and go silent. And the problem with that is that I actually need my heart - my feelings - in order to write music. It was this paradox."
Mitski added, "This is what really made me quit. I could see a future self, who would put out music for the sake of keeping the machine running. And that really scared me."
Of her forthcoming album Laurel Hell, Mitski said, "This album went through so many iterations. This album has been a punk record at some point, and a country record. Then, after a while, it was like, ‘I need to dance.’ Even though the lyrics might be depressing, I need something peppy to get me through this."