Welcome to hell: Laurel Hell, that is, the upcoming album by Mitski. The rock singer-songwriter announced her first record in three and a half years, set to be released on February 4, 2022. It follows both her 2018 smash, Be the Cowboy, which topped a number of best-of lists (including Vulture’s), and the hiatus she took after her 2019 tour. In a press release, Mitski said the new album is “more uptempo and dance-y” compared with her previous, sometimes muted music. She has continued to work with producer Patrick Hyland, and the release also touted ’80s influences on the record.
Last month’s single, “Working for the Knife,” offered the first example of her new sound, as it dives more into electronics than her earlier guitar-centered work. With her album announcement, Mitski also released a new single, “The Only Heartbreaker,” which is decidedly more upbeat than “Knife.” The synth-rock jam is a collaboration with Dan Wilson (formerly of the band Semisonic, he has written with Adele and the Chicks) and is the first co-written song of Mitski’s career. It comes with a video directed by Maegan Houang and Jeff Desom that finds Mitski trapped in a forest consumed by fire. “I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself,” Mitski said of Laurel Hell’s songs. “I make mistakes all the time. I don’t want to put on a front where I’m a role model, but I’m also not a bad person.”