Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
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I know you have heard Phoebe Bridgers’ name over the last few years. If you haven’t, I truly don’t know what you’re reading or listening to, but shift positions, because you’re missing out on a special songwriter/performer.

Bridgers has been everywhere since 2017; on her first record, she instantly exploded among the indie/folk scene. Constantly touring, helping create supergroups (one including Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) – the list goes on and on. She is here, in the chaotic year of 2020, to tap into your emotions and help ground you and make you laugh with her second solo release, Punisher.

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The album opens with the short instrumental ‘DVD Menu’ and transitions effortlessly and beautifully into the calming ‘Garden Song’. It feels like exactly what you have learned and love to expect from Bridgers – soft intricate guitar; a song that feels as if she’s having a conversation with you one-on-one on a park bench at midnight, soothing to the core.

The entire track holds gems of lyrical content, but a standout is the closing verse, “The doctor put her hands over my liver, she told me my resentment’s getting smaller, no I’m not afraid of hard work, I get everything I want, I have everything I wanted.” The ability to weave fanatical imagery along with vivid past memories and a hopeful future into a blanket is something truly unique that sticks in your brain.

‘Kyoto’ picks up with energy and Bridgers’ voice carries with her haunting tone over lyrics that are out of control, relatable, and dripping with pure authenticity like, “Sunset’s been a freak show on the weekend, so I’ve been driving out to the suburbs, to park at the Goodwill and stare at the chemtrails with my little brother, he said you called on his birthday, you were off by like ten days, but you get a few points for trying.”

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‘Punisher’ is a love poem for Elliot Smith and without question, goose-bump-inducing. With a section of the track, “The drug stores are open all night, the only real reason I moved to the east side, I love a good place to hide in plain sight. What if I told I feel like I know you? But we never met. And here everyone knows you’re the way to my heart,” it’s obvious that not only did she love and appreciate Smith’s talent, but found a part of herself in his music.

Bridgers has assembled some amazing talent from her previous bandmates, from boy genius Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Better Oblivion Community Center Conor Oberst, along with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, and Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg. All of this talent accompanies the closing track on Punisher, “I Know the End”.

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A concept that Bridgers has been able to perfect is being introspective in a way that never excludes anyone. Some songwriters write about topics that relate to the listeners, which for them connects on a deep level, while the rest enjoy the songs and music, but don’t get that feeling like it’s a part of them.

Although heartbreaking and tragic in moments, Bridgers’ songs are about human emotions (good and bad), and how sometimes leaning into those will make you pull through and become a more balanced person on the other side.

Her previous work felt heavy and soaked in emotional heartbreak and questioning the existence she was placed in. Punisher still has these topics but feels like instead of singing them hunched over in a dark room, Bridgers is standing upright, and her eyes are wide open.

Punisher is out this Friday, 19th June. Pre-order and pre-save it here.