The title of the album “is a kind of joke,” Mitski says. “There was this artist I really loved who used to have such a cowboy swagger. They were so electric live. With a lot of the romantic infatuations I’ve had, when I look back, I wonder, Did I want them or did I want to be them? Did I love them or did I want to absorb whatever power they had? I decided I could just be my own cowboy.”
We have the benefit of hindsight when it comes to 1950s and '60s pop music. Songs about motorcycle crashes and broken hearts sound quaint now, but the sweet harmonies and four-on-the-floor beats reflected real anxieties of teens and twentysomethings. Mitski Miyawaki — who records under her first name — makes music that looks to that era, both in style and substance. The 25-year-old Brooklyn songwriter channels the "pop" reflection of everyday trauma. This is realness, often riddled with feedback, but more often sung in quiet and determined desperation.
“‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ is happy and sad, honest and autobiographical, and I feel like I’ve truly written from the heart from the first time. It took two years of rewriting and revising as I wrestled with the beauty and anxiety of digital life. Before, I saw the internet as a captor of our time and free will. But now, I see embracing a positive relationship with our online selves as an act of self-preservation and defiance. In this age, the digital world can offer vital support networks, voices of solidarity, refuge, escape. Marginalized people, or socially anxious people like myself can, in fact, be freed. That’s what ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ is about: pessimism, optimism, anxiety, and freedom.”