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Mitski, 'Working for the Knife'

Many of Mitski's most compelling songs – from 2018's "Geyser" all the way back to 2013's "Class of 2013" – are about chasing your dreams: not the romantic majesty that promises, but the grueling, humiliating, dispiriting labor of it all. "Working for the Knife," her new track, is a powerful entry into that canon. "I cry at the start of every movie," she sings coolly in the song's opening lines, "I guess 'cause I wish I was making things too."

In 2019, following the Be The Cowboy tour, Mitski logged off social media and announced she'd be playing her "last show indefinitely." This track feels like a comeback, reflecting the gaze of hungry fans with a daring intensity. Mitski's despair is set over a syncopated beat and roiling production that surges and sways. In the video, she wanders alone through a performance venue in Albany, N.Y.; her presence is both startling and magnetic – particularly in the video's final minute, soundtracked only by the sound of her breathing and vigorous choreography. It's impressive but, frankly, unsurprising that Mitski, in her return to the public eye, is able to transform a song about feeling hollow and adrift – about being unable to escape "a world that doesn't seem to recognize your humanity," as she put it in a press release – into something transfixing and staggeringly alive.

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