Most of us who grew up in the 00s got lucky in terms of music—after all, what song expressed our tweenage angst better than “Misery Business?” But as we grow up, our emotions grow more subtle, too, and it’s harder to find just the right song to express how you’re feeling. Enter Mitski, who has a track for every collegiate growing pain.
Treat these 10 Mitski songs as your starter kit for your #collegefeels playlist.
Most people experience this moment in college: You could be catching the blaze of your lipstick in the mirror, buzzing in the dark boom of a house party or stumbling around the big, cool night with your friends. In “Townie,” Mitski describes that moment pre-, during-, or post-party where nothing exists outside of that moment, and you feel invincible. The feeling dissolves with the sunrise, but this song bottles it nicely.
Best lines: And I want a love that falls as fast/ as a body from the balcony/ and I want a kiss like my heart is hitting the ground.
2. First Love / Late Spring
You know from the title what this song laments: first loves. While all your friends go on one bad Tinder date after another, maybe you meet someone at orientation, or happen to sit next to someone in a class you didn’t even think you’d take, and just click. Listen to this after weeks spent cultivating inside jokes about the gross cafeteria food and telling each other everything about each other—and you just don’t know whether they feel the same way.
Best lines: One word from you and I would/ jump off this ledge I’m on baby/ tell me “don’t” so I can crawl back in
3. My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars
When you go back home for the holidays, relatives tend to hit you with that casually existential question: what do you want to do after graduation? This one can send you spiraling—especially when you have already switched your major twice and have no idea what you want to do. If you sometimes want to scream because you honestly have no idea, blast “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” and scream along.
Best lines: I better ace that interview/ I better ace that interview/ I should tell them I’m not afraid to die/ I better ace that interview
Not many people acknowledge that even though all your friends live just a short walk away, college can still feel pretty lonely sometimes. After a week or two buried under homework, ignoring texts and letting all your dating apps dry up, you can start to feel isolated. And if you ever find yourself looking out your dorm window, listening to other people walk and talk with their own other people, then let Mitski keep you company.
Best lines: My God I’m so lonely/ so I open the window/ to hear sounds of people
5. Your Best American Girl
Working through your first loves in college also sometimes can mean working through your first breakup—not because either of you did anything wrong, but because of your differences. Maybe during winter break you go home to meet his family, and you can’t really weave yourself into the fabric of his life. Or maybe every possible path you take after graduation would end up with you two on other sides of the world. Let “Your Best American Girl” help you work through that initial post-breakup angst and accept the differences that led up to the breakup in the first place.
Best lines: Your mother wouldn’t approve of how your mother raised me/ but I do, I think I do
6. Drunk Walk Home
Sure, you have crazy fun nights at college—yelling the words to your favorite song with your friends in the car, finding the perfect party without even trying, and waking up alive, miraculously alive, remembering only hazy flashes of the night before—but for every one of these, you’ll have a truly terrible night. Your friends will flake on you at the last minute. You’ll agree to meet up with this sweet-seeming guy you met on Tinder, only to figure out when you meet him in person that he’s a neckbeard with Cheeto fingers. And then you’ll end up leaving early, stepping outside to wait for your ride home, alone in your smear of makeup and the party dress that will make you question every decision you’ve ever made. On your way back to your dorm, plug in your headphones and listen to “Drunk Walk Home” to purge yourself of that night.
Best lines: And I sit on the curb ‘cause it’s the prettiest night / with no one else in sight / you know I wore this dress for you / these killer heels for you
7. A Loving Feeling
In the age of digital romance, missed connections, unmet needs and unequal expectations can feel like the norm. Even when you know for sure that you want more from that kind of sort of friend you have bio with, or when you think he purposely changes the subject when you even hint at commitment, you can still find it hard to navigate these friend but not friend relationships. Listen to “A Loving Feeling” will help you get a fresh perspective on your situation—and text him to talk first before he hits you up again.
Best lines: Holding hands under the table/ meeting up in your bedroom/ making love to other people/ telling each other it’s all good
8. Lonesome Love
First loves bring, for most of us, first exes. And these first breakups can be especially painful when you have to see him at your econ class Monday morning—where you met him—and you see him laughing in the front with some shy, unsuspecting freshman. You know what you need to do. You need to win the breakup, show up to that Wednesday class looking so good that he knows you feel fine without him, better in fact. But before waking up early on Wednesday to put on your makeup, listen to “Lonesome Love,” and know how quickly trying to impress your ex will devolve into backsliding.
Best lines: Spend an hour on my makeup / to prove something/ walk up in my high heels/ all high and mighty
9. Come into the Water
Many of Mitski’s “love” songs don’t actually trace her relationship with a lover at all, but to music. With this in mind, in “Come into the Water,” Mitski doesn’t just ask a lover to join her, but wonders aloud whether or not her passion, music, will love her as much as she loves it. And in college, especially towards the end, you’re wondering something similar—if, after all the parties and classes and jobs and loves, the path you choose will choose you back.
Best lines: But would you tell me if you want me? / ‘Cause I can’t move until you show me.
10. Class of 2013
And finally, no list of college-pertinent Mitski songs would be complete without the poignant “Class of 2013.” All grown up with four years of college behind you and a degree in your hand, maybe the only thing you want to do is ask your mom to take care of you. Listen to “Class of 2013” when you have mixed feelings about putting on that cap and gown—and know you’re not alone.
Best lines: Mom, am I still young? / Can I dream for a few months more?