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Meaning of the song ‘A Pearl’ by ‘Mitski’

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Released: 2018

“A Pearl” by indie pop sensation Mitski is an emotionally complex track dripping with melancholy, longing, and introspection. It fuses heartbreak with self-exploration, navigating the aftermath of a tumultuous relationship and the personal transformation that ensues. Key themes emerge from the lyrics: an unspoken emotional war, a symbiotic yet debilitating connection with a lover, and the indelible mark of the past that glows like a precious pearl.

The song begins with a confession: “You’re growing tired of me / You love me so hard and I still can’t sleep / You’re growing tired of me / And all the things I don’t talk about.” From the outset, Mitski reveals a profound disconnect between her and her lover, marked by emotional exhaustion and unspoken tensions. As the beat goes on, our indie darling slips in the word “war” – this ain’t your average lover’s tiff, mate. It’s deep, all-consuming, and takes a toll on her psyche. Her war metaphor calls out the emotional battles within relationships, ushering in a level of raw, trench-like intimacy laced with pain.

“Sorry, I don’t want your touch / It’s not that I don’t want you / Sorry, I can’t take your touch / It’s just that I fell in love with a war.” This chorus drives the nail deeper into the coffin of their relationship. Her apologies aren’t cushioned expressions of regret, they’re tough-love caveats – she’s in a self-preserving mode, struggling to differentiate between love for her partner and an addiction to the conflict they brew.

The “pearl” in question here ain’t your grandmother’s jewelry. It’s a metaphorical badge of her emotional battle scar – a trophy from a war she didn’t even realize had ended. Its luminescent quality speaks to her inability to let go, as she rolls it around in her mind, reliving the past and basking in its glow. This is a woman, no, a warrior who relishes in her emotional battles, a notch in her metaphorical belt of life experiences.

And that hole she mentions? Pure emotional void, filled repetitively yet vacantly by her lover. The war she fell in love with? The tumultuous rollercoaster of a relationship that left her emotionally scarred, yet irrevocably changed. Mitski’s track is less about a love lost and more about the self found amidst the emotional debris, symbolized as the glowing pearl within her. It’s a powerful ode to the personal growth that can ensue from emotionally charged relationships and a testament to Mitski’s lyrical prowess and emotional nouse.

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