Mitski – “Your Best American Girl” 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 “Your Best American Girl” touches on themes of cultural identity, love, and self-acceptance. At its heart, it’s about Mitski’s struggle with her identity, particularly in a relationship where she feels the weight of cultural differences. She yearns to fit into her partner’s ‘all-American’ world, but recognizes that her upbringing and background set her apart. Through this song, Mitski portrays the pain of wanting to belong yet feeling the need to stay true to oneself.

Ever felt caught between two worlds, trying to fit into one while staying true to the other? Dive into Mitski’s soulful narrative that many find eerily relatable.

“Your Best American Girl” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with “If I could, I’d be your little spoon,” Mitski expresses a desire for intimacy and closeness. But as the lyrics continue, it’s clear there’s a distance – not necessarily physical, but emotional, driven by cultural differences. The “big spoon” seems preoccupied, symbolizing the ‘American’ lover, while Mitski reflects on her different upbringing and place in the world.

The lines, “You’re the sun, you’ve never seen the night” suggest a person who has never faced the challenges of being ‘different’ or ‘other’ in America. Mitski, feeling like neither the moon nor a star, hints at her own feelings of insignificance and displacement.

One of the most poignant lines, “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me,” showcases the cultural chasm. This doesn’t just allude to a partner’s mother but to the larger societal expectations and norms of the ‘American’ way. The repeated affirmation, “But I do, I think I do,” reveals Mitski’s journey towards self-acceptance.

The chorus, where she admits to trying to be the “best American girl,” showcases her internal struggle. She wants to be what her partner desires but at what cost? By the end, the song isn’t just about a failed romance but also about Mitski’s reconciliation with herself and her heritage in a world that often feels alienating.

The beauty of this song lies in its ability to capture a deeply personal experience that resonates with anyone who’s ever felt out of place, whether because of culture, identity or simply love.

The Story Behind “Your Best American Girl”

Mitski, born Mitski Miyawaki, has a diverse cultural background. Growing up with a Japanese mother and an American father, she spent portions of her childhood moving between countries. This sense of being in-between, of belonging everywhere and nowhere, is a recurring theme in her music.

“Your Best American Girl” can be seen as a reflection of Mitski’s own experiences in relationships and the broader American society. It’s about wanting to be a part of a lover’s world but realizing that there are parts of oneself that can’t be molded or changed to fit another’s expectations. When writing this song, Mitski was likely drawing from personal experiences, feeling like an outsider in a relationship and grappling with what it means to be both American and something else at the same time.

The raw emotion in this song is a testament to Mitski’s talent in channeling her personal experiences into universal narratives. While it touches upon her unique struggles with identity, it also resonates with anyone who’s ever felt the push and pull of trying to belong. The song becomes a bridge, connecting disparate worlds and emotions, making listeners feel seen and understood.