Juddering into life as if broken, Puberty 2 is an exploration through what it really means to be strong.
Taking the confusion and dismay we all automatically turn inwards and voicing it with a burgeoning strength, Mitski Miyawaki gives vitality to every emotion that makes us who we are - no matter how deep or dark they get. "I'm not happy or sad," she acknowledges on the atmospheric "Thursday Girl", "just up or down, and always bad." Liberatingly candid, the record breaks free from the self-imposed shackles of composure, introspective lyrics demonstrating just how alright it is to not feel alright.
"When I find that a knife's sticking out of my side, I'll pull it out without questioning why," she sings on "Fireworks", denouncing the nature of the need for suffering to be kept hidden. "A Loving Feeling" turns that notion on its head, transforming a heartbreaking sentiment of seclusion into a rousing clap-a-long that everyone can admit their troubles along to.
From overdriven punk to the gentlest of ballads, Puberty 2 is a multifaceted venture through what it means to be strong. Out of luck? Lost in love? Unsure and insecure? The songs on this album are all of those things, and in admitting it, showcase an unparalleled grace that can only come from accepting all of who you are.
With "Happy" Mitski spins a lyrical tale of being fulfilled and then forsaken by a significant desire. Whether it's about a relationship or a sense of contentment is up to the listener, but portrayed through the narrative of cleaning up to feel good again the notion is universal. Building from delicate melodies and intimate longings to a storming chorus admission that things just aren't right on "Your Best American Girl", the half-Japanese artist manages to show strength even when admitting "I think I'll regret this".
Equal amounts tender and wild, Mitski places power in vulnerability. Validating every topsy turvy emotion, Puberty 2 is a soundtrack of self-awareness and self-acceptance at its most real.