“Heat Lightning” by Mitski

Mitski’s “Heat Lightning” is highly symbolic as well as poetic. Owing to this, it necessitates listeners to use some creative interpretation, as nothing contained in this narrative is stated forthrightly. 

For instance, “lightning”, which plays a major allegorical role in the lyrics, can have a number of different symbolic applications. And that’s even before adding the titular adjective to it, with “heat” being an even more ambiguous term as far as poetic lingo goes. Also it is never specified who the addressee, as identified in the chorus, actually is.

What is more apparent is that from a sentimental standpoint, this piece mainly focuses on the vocalist being in some type of discontent state, which reads a lot like she is anxious and stressed out. 

And as far as the aforementioned addressee goes, it is also clear that Mitski perceives him, her or it as being the remedy to the psychological malady she’s going through. In other words, instead of giving in to overthinking, as seems to be her modus operandi, the singer is now rather deciding to “surrender” to the addressee. In doing so, she is leaving it up to him to solve the issue, as under her estimation she is personally powerless to effect any change in the matter. 

So whoever the addressee may be, it is clear that the vocalist has a lot of faith in this individual.

Lyrics of "Heat Lightning"

What Mitski herself has said about “Heat Lightning”

Meanwhile, Mitski has described this piece outside of the lyrics themselves as being premised on the concept of forgiveness. According to her, it touches on her wanting to practice forgiveness more not only in regards to others who may have offended her but also intrapersonally. 

So with that in mind, perhaps it can be logically put forth that the source of her aforenoted anxiety is an inability to forgive, even herself. And with that concept in mind, it is also theoretically possible that the addressee may also be the vocalist. Simply put, this may be a soliloquy or Mitski speaking to a spirit, if you will. 

Or conclusively, let’s say that if the vocalist’s goal is in fact to practice a higher level of forgiveness, then that would logically be more of an internal than external affair.

What Mitski said of "Heat Lightning"

When did Mitski release “Heat Lightning”?

On 7 December 2021, through a label known as Dead Oceans, “Heat Lightning” was released. It came out as the third single issued from “Laurel Hell”. “Laurel Hell” is actually the title of Mitski’s sixth studio album. 

Other singles to come out from “Laurel Hell” are:

Who is Mitski? Did she write this song?

Mitski is a singer, currently being 31 years old. She is an NYC native but is also half Japanese. As a result of her father’s profession with the US government, she has traveled throughout the world. And her most-recent studio album, 2018’s “Be the Cowboy”, was her first to appear on the Billboard 200.

Mitski wrote “Heat Lightning”. The producer of the track is Patrick Hyland. Mitski has actually been professionally associated with throughout her music career.

The lyric video to this track, which is animated, was created by a media professional named Alex Moy.

Heat Lightning

2 Responses

  1. mitski obsession says:

    i am depressed

  2. Anonymous says:

    when i first hear these lyrics ‘so i gave it up to you’ my first thought was that “you” in the sentence is me, my other self

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