Mitski picks her favourite jazz album: “It generally sounds better on vinyl”
(Credits: Far Out / Ebru Yildiz)
Mitski is generally championed for her unique lyrical style, endearing rhythms, and knack for weaving existential complexities into her compositions. Amid this admiration, however, lies the recognition that Mitski is a blend of her influences and inspirations amalgamated into a mesmerising concoction of sheer talent and raw creativity.
Mitski experienced her breakthrough after the release of 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek. This was the album that brought her widespread recognition, showcasing a distinct sound which blended elements of indie rock, punk, and folk. At the same time, her evocative and deeply personal lyrics resonated with audiences across the globe.
Her most recent album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, was absolutely phenomenal. In a four-and-a-half star review, Far Out described the album as a record that “harms and heals in equal measure, flitting between Mitski’s internal monologue and external self-reflection, with highly concentrated emotion infusing every line and every instrumental swell.”
Therefore, Mitski has repeatedly underscored an ongoing ascension in her musical journey, showcasing a seemingly boundless trajectory. Her evolving and consistently exceptional work instils excitement and anticipation among fans and music enthusiasts, eagerly awaiting her next moves. As an innovator within the indie scene, it’s no surprise that her musical influences extend even into the realms of jazz.
Discussing Thelonious Monk’s Monk in Tokyo in particular, Mitski explains her seemingly love-hate relationship with the genre. “I’ve got to be honest, I hate how most live jazz recordings are panned, including this one,” Mitski admits to Vinyl Me, Please. “I get it, the piano was stage right. But I was born in the 1990s. I need to hear everything in one earbud. Anyway, I love Monk, and I have a soft spot for live jazz recorded in Japan.”
Alongside Thelonious Monk, one of the singer’s all-time favourite jazz albums is Charles Mingus’ Ah Um. Candidly, she explains: “I’ve never even listened to this record on vinyl, haha! But jazz generally sounds better on vinyl, and right now, this is my favourite jazz album.”
Mitski’s appreciation for jazz extends further. Among her selections, she also points out Chet Baker Sings by the renowned impresario and Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Verklärte Nacht’. Describing Chet’s voice as “soft grainy” and fittingly suited for vinyl, Mitski succinctly shares her thoughts on his esteemed album.
“I get it, Chet Baker’s ‘My Funny Valentine’ is like Jazz Lite for Teenage Romantics,” she writes before adding: “But [his voice] was made for the warmth of vinyl. Just sit back and feel it.”