Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Written by Lindsey Hardison on November 19, 2020
Phoebe Bridgers is an alternative artist that I’ve seen grow a lot in popularity within the last year. I listened to her debut album, Stranger in the Alps, earlier this year and was happy to find out her sophomore album, Punisher, would be debuting in June.
Something I really enjoy about Bridgers’ music is how each song is specific to the experiences she has gone through. Even with the specifics, often times you can still find yourself in her perspective. She reflects on her life in a beautiful way, and it really makes her stand out as an artist.
The debut single from Punisher was “Garden Song.” I interpreted “Garden Song” as the weird, scary feelings one experiences as they grow older and leave their teenage years. A lyric that stuck out to me in this song was “And when I grow up, I’m gonna look up / From my phone and see my life.” This lyric really hones in on how media driven our society is. As we spend so much time on our phones, our lives just continue to pass us by.
A lot of her songs have a similar slow, melancholy feel, sometimes resulting in her them meshing together and sounding the same. A song on this album that broke away from that pattern was “ICU.” The lyrics on this one explain how she’s felt dead her whole life, but when she sees a specific person, it finally makes her feel something. It also talks about how although she can see the flaws within this person, she still loves them regardless. I personally really enjoy this song because it breaks the mold of what she usually does, and it breaks up the album nicely.
Another theme within the album is how Bridgers would do anything and be anything for the people whom she loves, but they do not give her that same energy back. On “Halloween,” she talks about how she and her partner can be anything for the night and pretend they don’t have problems. She’s practically begging this person to just do something, trying to save their dead relationship. “Moon Song” also shares this common, dark theme. She knows she’ll always come back to this person no matter the way they treat her, and she would give them the moon if she could.
The album ends with an apocalyptic song, “I Know The End.” On this song, she explains how she does not really know what to do when she gets done with touring, leaving her with an empty feeling. She also talks about a potential lover and no matter how many times she tries to push them away, they always come back to her. This was interesting when first listening to it because almost every other song was saying how she’d do anything for this person who gives her nothing in return, and she could potentially be doing that to someone as well. This song also delves into a religious theme that other songs on the album talked about too, and the fear of not knowing what happens when we die. It ends with abrupt screaming that lasts about a minute, and I loved it.
Overall, I think this was a really well-done album, and it showcases Bridgers artistry really nicely.
Favorites: “ICU”, “Graceland Too,” “Moon Song,” and “I Know The End.”