For a confessional singer-songwriter, Phoebe Bridgers is something of a different breed. Self-deprecating, caustic and prone to her share of vices, Bridgers says exactly what’s on her mind. On her first full-length release, Stranger In The Alps, she’s got plenty to say. But you have to pay attention. If you don’t you’ll miss some of the most wry, cryptic lyrics ever put to paper.
Name another singer who talks about walking around “with an open heart, open container, I’ve got a stack of mail and a tall can, it’s a shower beer it’s a payment plan.” Who else has lyrics that talk about mass murderer, Geoffrey Dahmer in a song that dreams about a lover who pulls the plug when the time comes? “I hope you kiss my rotten head and pull the plug, know that I’ve burned every playlist and given all…my love.”
She has her share of friends in high places. Her 2015 ep, Killer, was produced by Ryan Adams, and Connor Oberst (who she’s currently touring with) sings the chorus of Would You Rather with her on the new CD. The playing is so sweet and low-key that one has a tendency to miss out on how pointed her pen can be.
Bridgers says what’s on her mind, filters be damned. The chorus to Motion Sickness plays out the pain of hearing a lover blather on, “I have emotional motion sickness, somebody roll the windows down. There are no words in the English language, I could scream to drown you out.” Phoebe Bridgers is nothing if not fearless
Mark Kozelek’s lyrics to You Missed My Heart, the final track, somehow seem to fit perfectly with her own confessional tunes, telling the tale of a lover walking in on her partner drinking whiskey in a bra and underwear with another man. Not exactly the sort of thing a 22-year old girl is likely to pull off, yet in Bridgers hands the song comes alive (even though the singer dies in the end).
Phoebe Bridgers is on a quest to tell the unvarnished truth. Are you ready to listen?
Words: Bob Fish