Mitski’s “Stay Soft” Lyrics Meaning
“Stay Soft” is a piece which Mitski has described as possessing “darkly sexual lyrics”. And by the looks of things, said description breaks down to the wording possessing three characteristics.
First is, as stated, this being a sex song. The lyrics are in large part metaphorical. But even if you omit the vocalist referring to herself as the addressee’s “sex god” and what have you, it would still be pretty obvious to even a semi-mature mind that she is referring to sexual intercourse throughout.
Secondly would be that yes, there is some dark wording, if you want to call it that, contained therein. Or let’s say that this is perhaps the first sex song we have come across where the vocalist makes statements such as “open up your heart like the gates of hell”. So that can be deemed the shtick of the song, i.e. amorous language mixed with references to hell, if you will.
Thirdly and relatedly, it can be said that the lyrics are borderline masochistic, for lack of a better word. That is to say that even though the vocalist doesn’t get painfully specific as to what all she idealizes going down between herself and her lover, and is pretty clear that she likes it rough.
Meanwhile, what isn’t abundantly clear is what the phrase “stay soft” alludes to within the context of the chorus and as applied to the addressee. But going back to Mitski’s description of this piece, she has stated that this is one of those types of songs where “depressing lyrics” are recited over “an inviting dance beat”. So maybe the title is acknowledgement of the instrumental or something like that.
But honestly, it does read as if the vocalist is perhaps criticizing the disposition of the addressee within the grand scheme of the song. In other words, instead of ‘staying soft’, she wants him “to harden up” to the task at hand, which once again would be sleeping with her. So if understood as so, it can be said that the vocalist is challenging the addressee to step up to the plate.
And to reiterate, one thing that is ascertainable even with all of these unconventional lyrics is that the singer is looking forward to being vigorously sexed by the person she is singing to.
Release of “Stay Soft”
This track is one of the songs to be found on “Laurel Hell”, Mitski’s album which a label known as Dead Oceans released on 4 February 2022.
In October of 2021, the album’s first single (“Working for the Knife“) was released. Other singles from the album are:
- “Heat Lightning”
- “The Only Heartbreaker”
- “Love Me More”
“Stay Soft” was written by Mitski, with its producer being Patrick Hyland. Filmographer Maegan Houang served as the director of the track’s music video.
What has Mitski said about “Stay Soft”?
In a press release, Mitski shed some more light on Stay Soft‘s meaning. According to her, it is about “hurt people finding each other” and making use of sex to overcome the pain they are going through. However, she was quick to state that indulging in sex isn’t the right way to deal with trauma. Below are her exact words in relation to the song and its meaning: