Mitski – “A Pearl” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Mitski’s “A Pearl” is a complex song about the nuances of love, emotional baggage, and vulnerability. In the lyrics, we see a relationship strained by internal and external conflicts. The protagonist loves deeply but also struggles with accepting love due to past emotional “wars.” These unresolved battles are likened to a “pearl” in the mind, a beautiful but constant reminder of past pain. It’s like the singer is saying, “I want to love you, but my past won’t let me.”

Ever wondered what’s behind Mitski’s hauntingly beautiful lyrics in “A Pearl”? We dig deep into this lyrical gem to reveal its raw, emotional layers. Stick around to unlock its secrets.

“A Pearl” Lyrics Meaning

“You’re growing tired of me / You love me so hard and I still can’t sleep.” The song immediately opens up with a stark contradiction. On one hand, the protagonist is loved intensely. On the other, that very love becomes a source of discomfort, leaving them restless.

“Sorry, I don’t want your touch / It’s not that I don’t want you.” Here Mitski articulates a complex emotional state. It’s not about not wanting love; it’s about being unable to accept it due to past emotional experiences. “I fell in love with a war / Nobody told me it ended.” This line suggests the protagonist is accustomed to conflict and finds it hard to adapt to peace or unconditional love.

“And it left a pearl in my head / And I roll it around every night / Just to watch it glow.” The “pearl” symbolizes emotional baggage, the residue from past relationships or personal struggles. Though these experiences were painful, they are also cherished, replayed, and even glamorized in solitude.

“Sorry, I can’t take your touch / There’s a hole that you fill, you fill, you fill.” Even though love is right there, filling the emotional gaps, the protagonist is still guarded. They recognize love’s potential to heal but remain fearful, partly because they’re still nursing the “pearl” born from previous emotional turmoil.

The song encapsulates the agony and ecstasy of love, revealing the barriers we sometimes put up, often because of past experiences that we carry like precious but burdensome pearls.

The Story Behind “A Pearl”

Mitski, a Japanese-American indie-rock singer-songwriter, is known for her deeply personal and emotive lyrics. When she wrote “A Pearl,” she was at a pivotal moment in her career. Her previous album, “Puberty 2,” received critical acclaim, and the pressure was on for her next project.

“A Pearl” is part of her 2018 album “Be the Cowboy,” an album that explores loneliness, desire, and the intricacies of relationships. Mitski has spoken about how the album was a departure from her earlier work, both musically and thematically. She opted for a more theatrical approach, utilizing the album to play a character that embodies the emotions she was dissecting.

During interviews around this period, Mitski revealed that she was dealing with feelings of imposter syndrome, anxiety, and her identity struggles as a female artist in a male-dominated industry. These emotional complexities could very well be the “war” she refers to in the song, an ongoing battle that leaves marks on the psyche, represented by the metaphorical “pearl.”

In “A Pearl,” Mitski masterfully turns these struggles into art, providing an emotional outlet for her and her listeners. The song serves as a reminder that it’s okay to carry emotional “pearls,” but it’s also crucial to recognize how they might influence our ability to accept and give love now.