After months of silence, singer Mitski shocked fans by releasing a nineties-inspired grunge song, “Cop Car.” Mitski has not released any new music since her accomplished fifth album, “Be the Cowboy,” in 2018. This song accompanies seventeen other singles on the soundtrack for the recently released movie “The Turning.”
Mitski announced a hiatus from music, performing and social media last fall, so the single crept onto Spotify and other music platforms without any marketing or heads up. Comically enough, the mysterious creation of “Cop Car” completely fits its edgy, disturbing sound.
“Cop Car” explains the self-deprecating yet self-aggrandizing demise of the human psyche to the tune of grinding electric guitar and prickly violin. In “The Turning,” the soundtrack producer, Lawrence Rothman, needed a song to shadow a scene in which the main character, Kate, loses her mind in a car. Mitski’s song delivered.
The song’s lyrics are often repetitive couplets, yet each set of eerie lyrics is completely different and nearly opposite to its preceding pair. In total, Mitski flips from calling herself a “bad dog” who is “cruel” to someone who is “gentle” and “will never die.” She then goes on to describe burning in a movie theater after “preemptively” blocking all its exits.
These troubled lyrics stitch together a new sound for Mitski. Her five albums are generally classified as indie or rock, but “Cop Car” takes on a heavy and crushing sound unheard of from Mitski songs.
However, Mitski actually wrote and performed this song years ago. She sang the song for a live performance on Local Live in 2015. The song was not officially produced and released until 2020, though.
“Cop Car” also brings fans to ask questions about Mitski’s sexual orientation. When Mitski sings, “I’ve loved many boys, I’ve loved many girls,” she could be referring to platonic or romantic love. Because Mitski never elaborated on these lyrics in 2015, and now no longer uses social media, fans are left to speculate on the hidden meaning behind the song.
Although it is unlikely that Mitski will return to music or social media anytime soon, the new sound of “Cop Car” could be a new era for the singer to explore even darker themes than previously expressed through her earlier projects.