Mitski supplies assurance and solid craft on beautiful, shocking ‘Puberty 2’

Mitski Miyawaki has become one of indie rock’s most fervently adored singer-songwriters, balancing her incredibly assured voice with startlingly intimate depictions of below-the-surface tumult. On her fourth album she doubles down on craft, creating complex, churning tracks that borrow from all over the pop spectrum — “Your Best American Girl” wrestles with the unsolvable puzzles brought up by romance amid anthemic triumph, while the moody “Crack Baby” briefly calls back to the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” in a way that only makes the song’s desperate search for happiness seem more impossible. Her lyrics reveal a jarring empathy; the slow-burning “I Bet on Losing Dogs,” in which Mitski croons “I’ll be there on their side/ I’m losing by their side” over a swirl of synthesizers and background oohs, makes it explicit, but the brisk “Dan the Dancer,” which places her rich voice among thorny, dissonant guitars, is a gorgeously rendered portrait of sadness lurking behind a brave façade. The album is simultaneously beautiful and shocking, its razor-sharp originality infinitely relatable.


ESSENTIAL “Fireworks”

Mitski performs at Brighton Music Hall on June 22.

Maura Johnston can be reached at