Abbey by Mitski Lyrics Meaning – Decoding Solitude and Existential Hunger

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Mitski's Abbey at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


I am hungry
I have been hungry
I was born hungry
What do I need?

I am something
I have been something
I was born something
What could I be?

There is a light that I can see
But only, it seems, when there’s darkness in me
There is a dream that I sometimes see
That only appears in the dark of sleep

I am waiting
I have been waiting
I was born waiting
I was born waiting for that something
Just one something

I was born something
I was born

There is a light, I feel it in me
But only, it seems, when the dark surrounds me
There is a dream and it sleeps in me

Keeps me awake in the night

Crying sets me free

And I wake every night

Crying sets me free

Full Lyrics

Beneath the deceptively simple surface of Mitski’s ‘Abbey’ lies a multifaceted exploration of existential yearning and the human condition. The track, echoing Mitski’s reputation for poignant and introspective lyrics, glimmers as a meditation on longing, identity, and the tireless quest for meaning.

While the lyrics might seem straightforward at first glance, diving deeper into their potential interpretations reveals a landscape filled with introspective symbolism and poignant reflections. Let’s unpack the layers of Mitski’s artistry within ‘Abbey’, examining how it resonates with listeners on a visceral level.

The Unending Quest for Fulfillment

Mitski channels a universal sentiment of insatiable hunger—a metaphor for a deeper spiritual and emotional craving. From the opening line, ‘I am hungry’, she establishes a narrative of constant searching. This theme of hunger goes beyond the physical; it is an existential call, a plea for the nourishment of the soul itself.

It becomes clear that the hunger Mitski speaks of is not one that can be easily satiated. It’s linked to an intrinsic part of her being, something she was ‘born with’. Here, Mitski taps into the human experience, the intrinsic need for a purpose or connection that can fill the emptiness she embodies within her lyrics.

Identity and Self-Reflection: Who Could I Be?

‘I am something’ is a powerful affirmation of existence, yet it also begs further inquiry into what that ‘something’ could be. The repetition of ‘I have been something’ and ‘I was born something’ suggests an evolving sense of self, one that questions not just the present, but the essence of one’s lifelong identity.

Throughout ‘Abbey’, there’s a palpable struggle between knowing and becoming. Mitski presents the listener with a mirror, reflecting the same questions we often ask ourselves in moments of solitude. The song becomes a vessel through which we confront our own varied perceptions of self and the potentials that lie within us.

Delving into the Paradox of Light and Darkness

One of the most compelling images in ‘Abbey’ is the juxtaposition of light and darkness. Mitski describes a light only visible amidst darkness, symbolizing perhaps how clarity often comes from our darkest moments, or how personal growth is rooted in the challenges we face.

This motif resonates with anyone who has felt the paradoxical comfort of despair—the way it can strip us bare, yet simultaneously offer profound moments of self-discovery. The ‘dream that I sometimes see’ further introduces the element of hope that persists, even when it’s not immediately accessible or tangible.

Unveiling the Song’s Hidden Meaning: The Freedom of Tears

In a world where vulnerability is often seen as weakness, Mitski reclaims the act of crying as liberating. ‘Crying sets me free’ is a significant line, hinting at the hidden strength in emotional release. By shedding tears, one can free the weight of unspoken thoughts and pent-up feelings.

The recurring theme of nighttime and sleep could imply the personal and intimate nature of these revelations—those which often come in the quiet, introspective hours when one’s guard is down. In embracing the catharsis of tears, the song champions authentic emotional expression as part of the human experience.

Memorable Lines: The Siren Call of the Chorus

The chorus of ‘Abbey’ is a siren call, a haunting echo of the hunger from the opening lines, now multiplied in its emotive potency. When Mitski sings, ‘I am waiting,’ it’s more than just temporal; it’s a profound admission of being in a state of liminality, on the brink of an indefinable but deeply sought-after ‘something’.

The phrase ‘I was born waiting for that something, just one something’ is the heart cry of the song and encapsulates the yearning for fulfillment that resonates with listeners. It eloquently articulates the shared human experience of longing, the elusive search for something we can’t quite name but desperately need.

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