It’s been more than three years since Mitski released her stunning fifth album Be the Cowboy (which, among many other accolades, was Vulture’s No. 1 album of 2018). Since then, the singer-songwriter took a hiatus from touring, recording, and using social media, only occasionally returning to soundtrack films and graphic novels. Now, Mitski Miyawaki is properly back — and after all that time, she’s still the cowboy. After teasing a song yesterday on social media, she released new single “Working for the Knife” on October 5. Not only does the video once again find her donning a cowboy hat before moving through an empty building (the Albany, New York, performing arts space The Egg), the song also builds on the intricately textured rock of Be the Cowboy, rooted by clattering, churning percussion. “I used to think I’d be done by 20 / Now at 29, the road appears the same / Though maybe at 30 I’ll see a way to change,” sings Mitski, now 31. In a statement, she describes the song as “being confronted with a world that doesn’t seem to recognize your humanity, and seeing no way out of it.” Once the song is over, the video ends with a discomforting moment of Mitski in an empty theater, throwing herself around the stage without an audience.
That won’t be the case come next year, when Mitski returns to the road for the first time since those 2019 shows. She’s set to play nearly 50 dates across North America and Europe, kicking off in Asheville, North Carolina, on February 17. The tour will also hit venues like Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium (March 3), New York’s Radio City Music Hall (March 24), and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (March 31). Tickets go on sale on October 8, at noon ET.