Mitski Miyawaki, 2018

Mitski was inspired to write this song while alone and lonely on a trip to Malaysia. Have you ever been alone like that?

Based on what you know about Mitski’s background and career, why do you think she often writes about loneliness and isolation?

The synth-drenched dance vibe, as well as the witty lyrics about global warming in the second verse, lend a sense of levity to the weighty lyrics. Why do you think Mitski chose to write the song in this way?

"Nobody" performed by Mitski Miyawaki on Be the Cowboy Dead Oceans, © 2018.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:

Japanese-American indie singer-songwriter Mitski Miyawaki (b. 1990), has endeared herself to audiences with her deeply personal and witty songs. Because of her parents’ jobs, as a child she lived in many places around the world. She recently said, “I didn’t even make friends because I knew it would be goodbye in a year. Everyone else just thought I was different and weird. … When people looked at me they couldn’t recognize any of the history of me, like, ‘Where is she from? What’s her ethnicity? Who is she?’ I just didn’t make sense to anybody” (qtd. in Schnipper). Such feelings of detachment followed her as she studied music at Purchase College and became a globe-trotting touring musician. And yet her songs, many of which explore themes of angsty lovesickness and isolation, allow almost anyone to relate.

Mitski Miyawaki.

As Mitski “made it” in the music industry, her music shifted from expressing the concerns of an early twenty-something finding her way in the world to more mature topics. In the catchy and upbeat “Nobody,” released on her 2018 album Be the Cowboy, she gives voice to her feelings of isolation and her longing for human connection. She recently explained that the inspiration for the song was a trip to Malaysia. “I thought it would be great to finally get to decompress,” she said. “Except I didn’t prepare for how frickin lonely it would be to just be all alone in a country where no one knows me” (qtd. in “Mitsky ‘Nobody’ Official Lyrics & Meaning”). In a classic Mitski witticism, she quantifies the intensity of her desire for companionship by pondering whether her feelings could contribute to climate change: “Venus, planet of love, was destroyed by global warming. Did its people want too much, too?”



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