User ratings in Music are temporarily disabled. More info
Be the Cowboy Image

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 210 Ratings

  • Summary: The fifth full-length release for the New York City indie rock artist was recorded with producer Patrick Hyland.
Buy Now
Buy on
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Aug 17, 2018
    Mitski’s songwriting trademarks are strong enough to transcend the stylistic revamp--arrangements that are rich without being precious (Pink in the Night), plus her terrifically mordant worldview.
  2. Aug 14, 2018
    Be the Cowboy shows that love and loss can be grand and small at the same time. That two minutes is more than enough time to melt down emotion into a pure concentrate and nearly drown yourself in it. That every moment can be a epic love story, that every heartbreak can be as hard and small as a pearl and just as coveted.
  3. Aug 17, 2018
    Though it’s a record perspiring uncertainty and the fear of becoming stagnant, Be The Cowboy is Mitski’s most personal and confrontational thus far. It’s violently poignant and the mark of an artist who’s barely tapped into her singularity.
  4. Aug 14, 2018
    Decidedly more disco for Mitski, Be the Cowboy is a showdown of electrowave and her signature fretwork that brings a pop pep to heartbreak and humanity’s greatest gluttonies. With that formidable force of a voice, she forces us all to be the cowboy and lament for a while.
  5. 80
    Be The Cowboy is a standout because of its restlessness, Mitski winding each lonely melody through the peripatetic music and always landing someplace unexpectedly moving.
  6. Aug 15, 2018
    The album is all the more impressive because her words and music are meticulously calculated, expertly arranged and still filled with feeling.
  7. Uncut
    Aug 13, 2018
    [The songs] all feel very much of a piece thanks to the coherence fostered by Mitski's high but agile voice and wry, self-deprecating humour. [Sep 2018, p.35]

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Feb 8, 2019
    I mean, this album is insane!!! Mitski is a real genius and art pioneer! Never get tired of any track in this album.
  2. Aug 18, 2018
    Wonderful album. Synchronic, well elaborated, smooth and shocking. Mitski did a beautiful job on it. His only mistake is to be too short.
  3. Feb 8, 2020
    she's a real goddess omg. this album is everything. can't wait for more music from her
  4. Aug 17, 2018
    So raw and unpolished yet so sad and meaningful. A really great album. Possibly AOTY
  5. Aug 17, 2018
    the power that this has, the intelligence that this has, the clearance that this has, the impact that this has, the access that this has, thethe power that this has, the intelligence that this has, the clearance that this has, the impact that this has, the access that this has, the influence that this has, the profile that this has, the international implications that this has Expand
  6. Aug 19, 2018
    That voice and charisma, utterly charming .
  7. Jul 26, 2019
    I'll be honest, this album took some time to grow on me, as I had some expectations about it before listening. But eventually, I came toI'll be honest, this album took some time to grow on me, as I had some expectations about it before listening. But eventually, I came to appreciate it and thought that it was pretty solid. Around the end of 2018, I was a bit surprised to see this record very high up in most "best of 2018" lists, sometimes getting a perfect rating, and even earning the title "album of the year" from many music sites. So I thought that I might have missed something, and decided to revisit the record.

    While I still think that it's good, I still don't seem to enjoy the album to the extent that others do. Now, I'm not trying to be negative. I like Mitski and I'm super happy to see her do well! But I just think that there are things that hold this project back, the main culprit being the track lengths. At times, some songs seem like they could be really great, but their brevity results in them having little impact instead. Many songs seem to end abruptly, sometimes right when it feels like the music could be going somewhere interesting. It feels like running a race and you're making amazing time - but halfway through you just lose all of your energy and stop in your tracks. For me, one example of this is "Come Into the Water."

    But basically, that's my only complaint. I don't mean to seem too harsh, because I do think that this album is good! There a good amount of genuinely moving moments on here, especially the closing track "Two Slow Dancers." Truly deep, gorgeous, and filled to the brim with emotion. And "Nobody" is a great track too, very fun to jam out to. In addition, there are some cases where I think that the short track length works well, such as with "Geyser." That track flows very nicely!

    Overall, this is a good record, and is definitely worth a listen. It's not perfect, but maybe I'm still missing something. Let me know if I am! Either way, it shows an enormous amount of potential. If Mitski takes her ideas from this album and then really expands on them and fleshes them out, I think that she can come out with something absolutely amazing. Excited for what she puts out in the future!

See all 32 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. The Best Albums of 2018

    The Best Albums of 2018 Image
    Published: December 22, 2018
    We reveal the 40 highest-scoring album releases of the year, as well as some of 2018's bests and worsts in other music categories.
  2. Best of 2018: Music Critic Top Ten Lists

    Best of 2018: Music Critic Top Ten Lists Image
    Published: November 26, 2018
    Over the next month, we'll be collecting year-end top 10 album lists from over 200 music critics, publications, record stores, and other sources. Find all of the individual lists and 2018's consensus rankings inside.