Mitski’s “Be the Cowboy” Tells Tales at the Edge Between Calm and Unhinged

Tight, catchy, and unique.

Album Review

Mitski
Be the Cowboy
Dead Oceans

Lavish and concise at once, “Be the Cowboy” mixes operatic drama and short pop songs in invigorating fashion. Mitski Miyawaki keeps it simple, zipping through 14 volatile tracks in 33 minutes as she acts out tales of all-consuming devotion (“Me and My Husband”), searing desire (“Blue Light”), and crushing loneliness (“Nobody”) with a controlled calm hinting at scary, nearly unhinged obsession. Framed by tight arrangements that rely on spare keyboards and guitar, her catchy songs might reveal faint echoes of predecessors like Kate Bush or Bjork, but this electrifying album feels unique—and stays remarkably fresh after repeated listenings.