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Meaning of the song ‘I Bet on Losing Dogs’ by ‘Mitski’

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Released: 2016

Alright, let’s dive into the evocative indie-pop realm of Mitski’s “I Bet on Losing Dogs.” This melancholic track serves as an emotive confession of self-doubt, codependence, and a preoccupation with failure. As a teaser, this song primarily explores the highs and lows of relationships and emotional self-sabotage.

Beginning with the repetition of ‘baby’, Mitski’s opening lines, “My baby, my baby/You’re my baby, say it to me,” suggests an emotional yearning for reassurance and validation from a romantic partner. However, her insistent plea might indicate a sense of insecurity or fear of abandonment.

Moving to the central metaphor of the song, Mitski sings, “I bet on losing dogs/I know they’re losing and I’ll pay for my place/By the ring.” Here, ‘betting on losing dogs’ symbolizes a pattern of investing emotionally in situations or relationships destined to fail. Mitski’s commitment to the ‘losing dogs’, even knowing they’re losing, mirrors a masochistic tendency to actively choose painful situations.

The repeated phrase “Where I’ll be looking in their eyes when they’re down” exposes Mitski’s desire to share in her partner’s vulnerability. The intimacy of this act — ‘looking in their eyes’ — assures a deep connection and understanding which she craves, even when it’s laced with pain.

“I always want you when I’m finally fine,” is a brutally honest admission of the push-pull dynamic of a codependent relationship. Mitski’s confession that she actively seeks love only when she’s fine, hints at self-sabotage that interferes with her happiness and mental wellness.

The song ends with a deeply haunting line: “Someone to watch me die.” Here, Mitski might not be talking literally about death, but rather about the intense vulnerability and longing for emotional support at her lowest points.

In essence, “I Bet on Losing Dogs” is a poetic dive into Mitski’s introspective take on love and self-destruction, manifesting an internal struggle that many of us can sympathize with, even if we don’t necessarily put it to such a somber tune.

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