Happy Friday, everyone! I’ll dispense from my normal greeting, as this isn’t a bookish post…
I discovered Phoebe Bridgers late last year. “Smoke Signals” was the first of her songs to capture my imagination, and it prompted me to listen to her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was gorgeously lyrical and haunting at times. So naturally, I was excited to find out that she was releasing a new album. And she released it A DAY EARLIER! It’s been about a week since its release, now, and now I can say with certainty that her sophomore album, Punisher, is a worthy predecessor that may even surpass some of her older material.
Let’s begin, shall we?
ALBUM REVIEW: PUNISHER–PHOEBE BRIDGERS
TRACK 1: “DVD Menu”–7/10
A strange and haunting instrumental prelude to the album. Woozy, with almost a fever-dream vibe, it’s almost foreshadowing for what’s to come.
TRACK 2: “Garden Song”–7/10
This was the first single to be released out of the whole album. When I first listened to it, something about it got under my skin, but as I’ve listened to it more, something about it has grown on me (no pun intended). A nostalgic, dreamlike opener to the album.
TRACK 3: “Kyoto”–9/10
One of my favorite songs off of the album! This is the perfect song for rolling your windows down in the middle of the road. Bridger’s already stunning voice never fails to give me chills in the chorus. Phenomenal.
TRACK 4: “Punisher”–9/10
Bridgers said in an interview that the album’s title track was about being a huge fan of Elliott Smith. Though I’ve barely listened to his music, everyone from Becky Albertalli to David Arnold have sung his praise. But even if you aren’t familiar with the song, you’re sure to be familiar with the feeling it evokes–that of worshipping somebody that you’ve never met, and people associating you with them. Phoebe Bridgers never fails to be able to connect to her listeners.
What if I told you
I feel like I know you?
But we never met…
TRACK 5: “Halloween”–6.5/10
Though most of Bridgers’ catalog is already more melancholy and mellow, this fails to keep up the pace kept up by “Kyoto” and “Punisher”. It’s still a decent song, but it doesn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as some of the other tracks on the album.
TRACK 6: “Chinese Satellite”–8/10
Picking up from the slight lull of “Halloween,” this track delves back into Bridgers’ signature, heart-wrenching lyricism, weaving a tale of losing yourself and wishing on false stars. Absolutely beautiful.
TRACK 7: “Moon Song”–7.5/10
A soft, drifting track that dives more into Bridgers’ more dreamlike side. A song that could simultaneously rock me to sleep and bring me close to tears, if the mood struck me.
And if I could give you the moon,
I would give you the moon…
TRACK 8: “Savior Complex”–9/10
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of this album. With lyrics that stick and a melancholy melody, this is Phoebe Bridgers at her best. Again, her voice just gives me cHILLS…
TRACK 9: “ICU” (previously titled “I See You“)–7.5/10
A catchy track that leans more into Bridgers’ poppier side. Though it teeters on going into the places that I thought “Garden Song” went when I first listened to it, it’s still a good song; not her best, but not her worst by far.
TRACK 10: “Graceland Too”–7.5/10
First of all, shoutout to Phoebe Bridgers for putting a banjo in a song that doesn’t instantly infuriate me.
With folkier instrumentation, “Graceland Too” weaves a beautiful, melancholy tale of newfound freedom and self-discovery.
So she picks a direction, it’s 90 to Memphis,
Turns up the music so thoughts don’t intrude,
Predictably winds up thinking of Elvis
And wonders if he believed songs could come true…
TRACK 11: “I Know the End”–9.5/10
A positively stunning end to the album. Laced with Bridgers’ signature lyricism, she quickly amps up the emotion, growing tense before erupting into chaotic instrumentation. The album ends with the sound of her raw screams and breathing as she seems to recover, somehow making it feel powerful and intimate all at once. The best possible song to end the album on.
Over the coast, everyone’s convinced
It’s a government drone, or an alien spaceship,
We’re not alone…
I averaged out all of my song ratings, and it came out at about a 7.9, which I’ll round up to 8. Punisher was, without a doubt, a worthy successor to Stranger in the Alps. Phoebe Bridgers has outdone herself on her sophomore album, creating something magical with her lyricism and dreamlike melodies. In short, Punisher is very nearly a masterpiece, and Phoebe Bridgers is an artist to be reckoned with.
Since this post is an album review, you can consider this whole album today’s song.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! HAVE YOU LISTENED TO PUNISHER, AND IF SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
That’s it for this album review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!