By: Katie Stam, Kunika Trehan, and Avery James
Singer-songwriter and KVRX-favorite Mitski has collaborated with Z2 comics to create the soundtrack for This Is Where We Fall, a science fiction graphic novel. Written by Chris Miskiewicz and illustrated by Vincent Kings, This Is Where We Fall “delves into complex questions on science, faith, mankind's need to believe in something bigger than itself, while also questioning what defines the human spirit.”
So far, Mitski has released the first song from the soundtrack, “The Baddy Man.” The full soundtrack and graphic novel will come out on May 5, 2021. Currently, a softcover edition of the graphic novel and a hardcover edition with the soundtrack on cassette are available for pre-order. There is also a deluxe, limited edition package available for pre-order which includes an oversized hardcover copy of the graphic novel, a slipcase, and the soundtrack on vinyl.
In a press release, Z2 publisher Josh Frankel added that this collaboration is “the perfect marriage of a visual art form like comics, and music. Fans of Mitski’s music will not only get something new from one of their favorite artists, but a companion piece that completes the experience. Comics readers will find an original work of science fiction from top creators that is enhanced by the music that accompanies it.”
With no plans to release the album on streaming services, this release acts as a defining shift into a new age of music. The atypical deluxe release will run only 2,000 copies, meaning limited supply and access to the music, which could allow it to become a collector’s item. Streaming services have been increasingly problematic in regard to paying artists a living wage, but with this new release style, potential high demand could inspire artists to do more collaborations with other works through companies such as Z2. However, Mitski is not the first artist to collaborate with Z2, nor will she be the last. In October of 2020, Gorillaz released Gorillaz Almanac accompanied by a mix of their music on vinyl. Additionally, Machine Gun Kelly is set to release Hotel Diablo, a graphic novel alongside a re-release of the album of the same title in July of 2021.
Where Mitski differs is that she crafted her music to specifically fit with the cues of the graphic novel. Approaching it like a score, Mitski wrote the music along with visual cues to create a more immersive experience as the reader consumes the comic. While scores have always been a way to move people emotionally alongside a visual, a reader’s varying pace poses an interesting question as to whether the music will stay in line with the story.
In addition to this project being her first taste of scoring, Mitski also takes on a new genre: country. Her latest single released on Soundcloud, “The Baddy Man,” gives us a chance to hear her new sound and what we could expect from the album. The previously indie-pop artist gives us country folk twang, showing off her incredible versatility. Coming from the synthesizers and electric touches featured in her previous album Be The Cowboy of 2018, the single takes a 180 with bouncing vocals, acoustic and blues guitars, and a chugging rhythm. Shifting from songs about secret passions to this mysterious and foreboding introspection, she tackles a dark theme that could reflect the story of This Is Where We Fall. Mitski has always had a diverse repertoire of work, but this project brings her into a new space creatively and stylistically.
As this collaboration marks a departure from Mitski’s past work, fans are left to wonder what this may signal for her going forward. Following the release and promotion of her fifth studio album, Be The Cowboy, and its subsequent world tour, Mitski announced a hiatus from music, performing, and social media for the foreseeable future. Her accounts remain deactivated, and the release of This Is Where We Fall is the most fans have heard from her since.
2020 included a couple of quiet collaborative releases: a contribution to the soundtrack of the horror movie The Turning as well as pop duet “Susie Save Your Love” on singer Allie X’s newest album, Cape God. These releases have confirmed Mitski’s claim that she’s not “quitting music”-- she’s simply taking some time to rest and recuperate after five years of non-stop producing and touring.
Fans eagerly anticipate the future of Mitski’s artistry. While she has done virtually no promotion over the past few years, her audience continues to grow, largely as a result of social media bringing attention to her discography. As her fan base increases in size, excitement only rises for future projects and performances.
The eerie and cinematic “Cop Car,” the shimmering, synthy “Susie Save Your Love,” and lastly, the upbeat and distinctly country “The Baddy Man” indicate an eclectic future for Mitski’s sound. While we don’t know when she’ll make her return to the public, we are certain of one thing: Mitski isn’t done surprising us quite yet.
Graphics: Lindsay Brunger
Editor: Tony Ninov