Mitski’s new album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, was released in mid-September, and with it came new achingly beautiful songs such as “My Love Mine All Mine.”
Unlike some of her previous ballads and heart-wrenching singles that feel as boundless as an empty sky, “My Love Mine All Mine” feels distinctly grounded. The song opens up with a soft drum beat and gentle piano strokes, all background to the forlorn ache of the steel guitar. This last instrument sets up a sonic landscape of Western towns and worn-down dive bars, and it is easy to imagine Mitski’s voice calling out to us from a forgotten era of cowboys, whiskey, and dark bar rooms full of cigarette smoke and crooning.
Lyrically, Mitski has given listeners a guide to the song’s meaning, explaining in a videoabout the creation of the song that “... to love is the best thing I ever did, the most beautiful thing, better than … any material possession I’ve gained or any achievement.”
Upon first listening to the song, a natural assumption by listeners would be that “My love” is a reference to a person whom the singer loves. However, Mitski’s clarification is significant, and her explanation of the song speaks to the lyrics’ more nuanced meaning. The act, not the object, of love is the greatest thing a person can have and share with the world, in the end. Mitski’s capacity to love is the only thing left to her when “nothing in the world belongs to me,” she sings. The ability to love is an end unto itself, and even when another person might take advantage of your love or simply not reciprocate it (as the song implies), you are left with the endless capacity to love even more.