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Analysis of “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski
By: Kathie Chu
“Your Best American Girl” by Mitski is a song about how Mitski feels as if she can never fit into the ideal of an “American Girl.” The first verse starts by explaining how she wishes she could “be a little spoon,” but her partner has so much to do, and she has nothing ahead of her, alluding to the fact that she and her partner have differences that they can’t get past.
The second verse is another look into how Mitski views this relationship by saying her partner is the sun and she's “not the moon, not even a star,” describing how she feels like they are not even from the same universe and that she feels like he shines so much brighter than her. And the fact that he has never seen the night refers to the fact that she is the night. He will never truly understand her because of their completely different backgrounds. She then says, “don’t wait for me. I can’t come.” She likely refers to the fact that it is impossible for them to have a lasting relationship because of their differences.
The chorus says, “Your mother wouldn't approve of how my mother raised me/But I do, I think I do/And you're an all-American boy/I guess I couldn't help trying to be your best American girl.” His mother wouldn’t approve because Mitski, being Japanese American with a Japanese mom, wasn’t raised in a traditional American household. She also explains how she tried really hard to be an “American girl” but ultimately could not have been the one that he wanted because she wasn’t raised that way, and she wasn’t meant to be that way. This fact is hard for her to accept.
The bridge says, “You're the one/You're all I ever wanted/I think I'll regret this.” This presents how everything Mitski had been looking for in a guy was in the guy she sings of in this song, yet the clash of cultures between them won’t allow the relationship to work. Mitski will feel contrite about ever trying in the first place. The chorus the second time around is a little bit different. Instead of saying, “I think I do,” Mitski says, “I finally do.” This explores the interesting relationship families of color have because of the cultural differences with other people. She didn’t want to accept her upbringing at first, but she finally does because she recognizes its beauty.
This song is one of Mitski’s most popular songs and for good reason. Many of her fans are women of color, and this song resonates with this group because it describes a feeling of wanting to belong but knowing you never will.