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Disco for one: Nobody by Mitski Song Analysis

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Disco for One

The song I chose that is significant to me is “Nobody” by Mitski because this song, to be honest, is a bop, despite its haunting words but also because of the mix between vulnerability and strength used to capture loneliness which anyone can relate to.

“Nobody” is an upbeat disco song sung by Mitski, a Japanese-American singer, songwriter, and musician, from her latest album Be the Cowboy which fully released in early August 2018. “Nobody” has an eerily upbeat rhythm accompanied by the contradicting and melancholic lyrics which causes it to be quite a catchy tune. What inspired her to create this song was based on her lonely childhood days in Malaysia where she thought she would be able to relax and decompress but as it turns out she soon learned the hard way that she was not prepared for how lonely it would be to be in a country where nobody even knows her name, as her other family and friends’ happiness echoes around her as she slips into the white background noise. She was finally able to put her feelings and experience into a song after an emotional incident where she was on the floor in a semi-fugue crying and repeating the words “nobody” and I quote, “Let me use this pain and exploit it for my money” (Mitski) Therefore this song is meaningful to me because it encapsulates the feelings of loneliness and knowing there are ways to lessen the feeling but just cannot help but experience it no matter what, a mix of vulnerability and strength.

When I first heard this song I was lying in bed with my headphones on staring at the ceiling as the last remaining sun shoots through my blinds as it begins to become dusk it was 2 weeks after I had graduated from high school. I guess in this moment it could be described as a waking realization of being over with high school of four long years had finally kicked in and, almost out of nowhere, began to weep nonstop as I looped “Nobody”nonstop eventually I had cried myself to sleep waking up the next morning feeling refreshed dismissing the emotional incident had ever occurred in the first place: “And I don't want your pity, I just want somebody near me, Guess I'm a coward, I just want to feel alright” (Mitski). In other words to me she describes that pity is an emotion used when someone is lower than you are, but no she does not want your pity. She just wants to feel another human being next to her and that is it.

Here is a review from The Harvard Crimson: “That’s why ‘Nobody’ is so ingenious and refreshing. Loneliness is a complex emotion, an inevitability far more vicious than most people take it for. And Mitski manages to capture all of its dimensions with her lyricism, using sparse imagery that’s both straightforward (‘My God, I'm so lonely / So I open the window / To hear sounds of people’) and whimsical, traversing the universe to showcase the all-consuming expansiveness of loneliness and its crushing power (‘Venus, planet of love / Was destroyed by global warming / Did its people want too much too?’)...That’s the complicated thing about loneliness—it’s perpetually multifaceted. It’s a blessing, it’s a curse, it’s liberating, it’s addicting, it aches, it inspires, and sometimes, it’s incurable by everyone else but yourself” (Li).

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