Mitski Makes Use of Every Muscle on Her Return Single “Working for the Knife”

The new single comes with news of her 2022 North American Tour.

A few years ago, when Mitski was doing press for her album Be the Cowboy, she revealed that most of her songs are about her pursuit of music and not always feeling loved by it. Today she’s made her impactful return with the single “Working for the Knife,” which seems to tackle that same contentious relationship between self and work.

“Working for the Knife” is accompanied by a video directed by Zia Anger, which was filmed at The Egg in Albany, NY. In said video, she’s dressed in a cowboy hat—a nod to her 2018 album—and prepares for a showdown with the stage. Later she changes into heavy neon blue eye shadow and bright red lipstick that seems like a nod to PJ Harvey. By film’s end, she’s stomping and gyrating on stage, giving it every burst of energy, every ounce of herself.

Tinkering percussion is followed by a swell of country-western guitar and trumpet (or is that an electric guitar cosplaying as a trumpet?). Anyway, as far as Mitski goes, “Working for the Knife” continues her streak of glorious, layered compositions that are bound to make you rethink your entire life path.

“It’s about going from being a kid with a dream, to a grown up with a job, and feeling that somewhere along the way you got left behind,” Mitski explained in a press release. “It’s being confronted with a world that doesn’t seem to recognize your humanity, and seeing no way out of it.” In under three minutes, she dives into raw emotion spearheaded by a vicious metaphor: “I cry at the start of every movie / I guess ’cause I wish I was making things too / But I’m working for the knife.” Later she indicates that this tragedy has been decades long, and there might be no end in sight: “I used to think I’d be done by 20 / Now at 29 the road ahead appears the same / Though maybe at 30 I’ll see a way to change.”

The new single also comes with the announcement of her 2022 North American tour. Tickets go on sale Friday, October 8 at 9 a.m. PST. Watch “Working for the Knife” below and find tour dates here.


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