Arts and Culture

Mitski Wants To “Be The Cowboy” And You Should Too

In a rather small and intimate venue at the Columbus Theater in Providence, singer Mitski Miyawaki, known mononymously as MItski, performs an intricate, soothing, mesmerizing setlist of music. She is known to prefer these types of places and form close and memorable moments with both the audience and herself.

MItski just released her fifth album titled “Be The Cowboy” an album which in a sense, thematically centers around the mythos of the American cowboy, referring to the attitudes of Clint Eastwood and the overall arrogance and freedom of a cowboy. MItski has explained this appeals to her because being an Asian woman, for much of her life she had to apologize just for existing and the concept of freedom, arrogance, and never having to apologize were all themes she wanted to explore and reflect throughout the album. It comes to no surprise that none of the songs on the album are actually about the old wild West or its cowboys.

I have been to countless concerts in my lifetime but MItski’s by far is the most unique and memorable experience I have ever had. Throughout the entire show she would perform small choreographed movements and gestures that elegantly embodied the spirit of each song she played. At times it felt almost as if I was watching a small scale musical or something even more realistic, but just as enchanting. For ballads, she would make slow, graceful, and exquisite gestures varying from pointing her foot to the side over and over, to moving her arms in a careful and calculated manner. For some of her more emotional and louder songs such as “Geyser,” she would embody the song even further by thrashing about, kneeling on the ground, slamming her hands on the floor and shaking – all of which felt so appropriate and, after looking around, noticed that the desire to romp about and release emotions was a universally shared feeling amongst the crowd.

I left the concert that night feeling genuinely different and almost more self-assured than when I had entered. Her show from beginning to end had this captivating and almost therapeutic quality to it that made one forget about his troubles, stress, and/or sadness. Mitski managed to uplift us all, leaving the crowd feeling as if they too could “Be The Cowboy,” and not have to apologize. She made the crowd feel as if they too could live their life with their own sense of self assurance and arrogance.

Besides a T-shirt and a vinyl record that I had bought from the merch table, I think I left that night with something else as well, something far more meaningful and uplifting: the idea to not shy away from life, refuse to watch life pass me by, live unapologetically, and abandon the feeling that I should feel bad about existing. This is something most concerts could never come close to doing.