I have a feeling she, the singer-songwriter/indie rock musician, would passionately dislike the title, as it would elicit an existential crisis. Identity is one of many present themes in Phoebe Bridgers’ work — longing, pining, heartache, heartbreak, and gaslighting are common topics of interest that are often paired with ethereal vocals, eccentric sounds, and earthy instrumentals to create a wonderfully melancholic track. Phoebe Bridgers somehow ties soft angst with phantom intimacy and a quiet anxiety; after one listen, the listener may find their heartstrings tied into a wonderfully messy knot.
Fresh off a stunning performance on SNL on February 6, 2021, that included the performance of her songs “Kyoto” and “I Know the End” and her smashing her guitar into a stage monitor. She was recently featured in 2021 Time100 Next in which writer Carmen Maria Machado notes, “[she] can’t imagine anyone I’d rather follow through our poisoned age.”
She released her first album, Stranger in the Alps, in 2017, which features songs such as “Smoke Signals,” “Motion Sickness,” and “Killer.” The album features her signature haunting vocals and acoustic sound. In her most recent album Punisher, released in 2020, these signature aspects of her music are featured on songs such as “Savior Complex,” while also combining atmospheric, electronic aspects. Bridgers has been featured in a number of tracks with artists such as Fiona Apple, Kid Cudi, and Manchester Orchestra. Most notably, she recently joined forces with Maggie Rogers, acclaimed singer-songwriter, to release a cover of “Iris” to raise money for Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action in fall of 2020. She also collaborated with indie musicians Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus to form Boygenius — they released an EP in 2018 that gained notable traction.
Bridgers cites influences such as Elliot Smith (in which she gains noticeable influence from him as seen her storytelling lyricism and commanding strings), Bright Eyes, and Nine Inch Nails. She is also outspoken about her battle with anxiety and depression, which are present in her songs at times and provide warmth for listeners who struggle with mental health as well. In addition to her music career, she is a devoted Twitter-lover who crafts pockets of wit such as the following tweet: “hot people who eat croissants are dangerous.”
At times her music is uncomfortably vulnerable in the most wonderful way — the listener has the unique opportunity to walk around her mind, as her lyrics are delivered in a stream of consciousness manner. In addition to poginany storytelling, in every song, Bridgers delivers deliberate imagery and introspection.
In an age where melancholy and neurosis run rampant, Phoebe Bridgers delivers track after track of a beautiful encapsulation of such feelings of isolation and anxiety. Nonetheless, she serves as an indie prophet of a new generation navigating relationships of their own, but does so in a beautifully melodic way. Furthermore, she achieves lovely storytelling that is packed with pop culture references, rhythm, and, for lack of a better term, pure pain. When making your next playlist, consider adding a few of her songs, as long as you have a pack of Kleenex handy.