Mitski and America Are Doing Our Best To Figure It Out
In Mitzki’s critically acclaimed song and music video, “Your Best American Girl,” she starts out feeling cute. Then, she is rebuffed in exchange for an “All-American” prototype that she doesn’t fit into. That most Americans do not fit into. True to Mitzki’s wise – though, absurd – style, she turns to herself for answers. One thing I love about Mitzki’s music and her videos is that the absurdism takes the stance: “well, what did you expect me to do?” Absurd situations are going to get absurd responses. It’s not her that’s absurd, she’s just a thinking and feeling person living in a crazy world. Many people can relate. So much so that “Your Best American Girl,” has been listed by many music reviewers as one of the best songs of the 2010s and even the 21st century.
The stand-out lyric for this song is the lyric, “your mother wouldn’t approve of my how my mother raised me but I do, I think I do.” In the end, the “I think I do,” changes to “I finally do.” Such a powerful recognition would be a breakthrough in therapy. In this case she has differentiated from problems in her surrounding culture in order to better connect with her family.
Mitzki and her conscientious, beautiful, everything music is such an honest reflection of American culture at this time. Beyond the catch-all “indie,” musical style, Wikipedia classified her as both “folk rock” and “art pop” – two styles that might contradict each other, yet describe her as best as anyone could. Her sound ranges anywhere from the clear melodic beauty of Joni Mitchell to the shoe-gazing chaos of My Bloody Valentine. It makes sense that she was part of the composition team for a song featured in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.
Mitzki has been open about her identity crises/exploration, and even considered quitting music. Again, I think many Americans can relate with the feeling of just not knowing what to do with ourselves right now. “Your Best American Girl,” comes from her album Puberty II. America is going through its own adolescent reconning. We are figuring out who we really want to idolize. We are figuring out what to ignore, and what to listen to from previous generations. In this song she recognizes she couldn’t help trying to be the best American girl, but she has to define what that means for herself.
Anyway, Happy Independence Day!