Album Review: Retired from Sad, New Career in Business by Mitski


Hannah Whitehead, Staff Writer

Mitski is an indie-pop singer whose songs truly hit close to home for a lot of people. The real and raw emotion she presents is genuinely impressive. I reviewed and summarized the album: Retired from Sad, New Career in Business. These are my personal opinions and interpretations.


“Goodbye, my danish sweetheart”

This song is about being in a relationship with someone, and they help you grow to love yourself. Soon enough they realize that you are emotionally unavailable in a sense. Your passion keeps you from falling apart, but it makes you unavailable and cold. You want them to help you figure out how to love yourself like they loved you. You know that you are not who you are supposed to be, but you are hoping that they do not hold that against you. Although, they probably will. The song ends with the line, “There’s nobody better than you.” The tone she sang this line in feels cold and monotone. This line ends the song very well because it feels like she is coldly accepting her fate. 



This song feels like a toxic relationship that you are aware of. Although everyone is aware of this toxic relationship, you continue to do nothing about it.  You do not love yourself or have any self worth. There is a line in the song where Mitski says, “They’re right outside the door and they don’t know how it/ feels so good.” This line feels so raw. It feels like you are ashamed, yet no one understands how it feels behind the closed doors in your relationship. You are ashamed that you do not  want to leave the relationship because the small moments behind closed doors make you feel a sense of worth that you cannot give yourself. 


“Because Dreaming Costs Money, My Dear”

This song is about growing up without money or worth, but you found a passion in music. Using music to cope and something to devote your life to. There is a line in this song where Mitski says, “I know it’s what you live for… we will manage somehow.” You cannot afford the thing that will help you excel, but your guardian wants you to continue with your passion. The guardian does not have something to live for other than you, so they are trying to live vicariously through you. They see you as something worth living for, and they will do anything to make sure it stays that way. 



This song feels like when you are coming down from an anger outburst. You are angry at someone for leaving you, so you destroy everything that reminds you of them. Nothing is left of you and your home because they were everything to you. The ‘eggshells’ symbolizes you trying to pick yourself back up after they left you. You are trying so hard to come back to who you used to be before them. “Humpty Dumpty” is you and the person you were back then. The bathtub is cool and clean (perfect), so you decide to live there. It is neutral territory in a sense because everything else in the house reminds you of them. 



I see this song as you doing something you regret and people see you stripped of all the pride you had. You are not able to give all of yourself to someone. The ‘lie’ Mitski is referring to are the words ‘i love you.’  You want to give your heart away, but your last partner put it at the ‘top of the tree’ where you cannot reach it. Your heart is a seed falling from the tree when provoked. The tree that grows from the seed symbolizes your heart disappearing and being covered up by the huge tree. There is a line at the end where Mitski says, “And nobody knows my lover is buried underground.” Your heart and ability to love is buried far beneath you and unable to reach.


I want you:

This song is about a toxic relationship. It describes the want for someone so strongly but not being able to have them in every sense. You and your partner are in two completely different places and you’re screaming and crying out about how much your heart bleeds for them, but they don’t care. They come back to you after you apologize and beg for their forgiveness. Although it soon turns sour and you’re still holding onto the idea that they’re a good person and still love you. At one point it mentions a ‘door’ and when you stepped through there was no floor, symbolizing that it’s an insanely unstable relationship. Repeating “I want you” over and over again knowing it will never be reciprocated. 



This song feels like craving to be with someone, but not being able to achieve their love. You act like the person you love so that maybe they will notice you. You want to give them the world, but you are not able to earn their love because you are not good enough. You find happiness in them being happy even though it does not involve you. Mitski talks about snow falling with mute screams as they approach their death. You see yourself falling but you’re unable to say anything or ask for help.


“Strawberry Blond”

This song is about looking up to someone and admiring them so intensely that it causes a deep ache within you. They do not love you back, but you still try to live your life in their footsteps. They love someone else, but you will never be that person. All you can do it be happy for them. You find happiness in denial. 


“Class of 2013”

This song feels like not knowing yourself. You need a familiar and neutral place to get yourself back together. This song is based around a toxic relationship with your mom. She never cared for you and never helped you find yourself. She never helped you be comfortable in your own skin. Mitski says, “Mom would you wash my back/ this once, and then we can forget.” She does one small thing for you and it makes all of the trauma suddenly go away. You are forced to forgive her for all the wrong she has done. You ask your mom questions that she will never answer because she is not emotionally present nor wants to be. 

My ranking of the songs:

  1. Shame
  2. Class of 2013
  3. Humpty
  4. Goodbye, my danish sweetheart
  5. Circle
  6. I want you 
  7. Because dreaming costs money, dear
  8. Square 
  9. Strawberry Blond