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Vinyl, 19 June 2020
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- Product Dimensions : 31.6 x 31.29 x 1.09 cm; 438 Grams
- Manufacturer : DEAD OCEANS
- Original Release Date : 2020
- Label : DEAD OCEANS
- ASIN : B086XZW1S7
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 2,033 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t write love songs as much as songs about the impact love can have on our lives, personalities, and priorities. Punisher, her fourth release and second solo album, is concerned with that subject. To say she writes about heartbreak is to undersell her blue wisdom, to say she writes about pain erases all the strange joy her music emanates. The arrival of Punisher cements Phoebe Bridgers as one of the most clever, tender and prolific songwriters of our era. Bridgers is the rare artist with enough humor to deconstruct her own meteoric rise. Repeatedly praised by publications like The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, The Fader, The Los Angeles Times and countless others, Bridgers herself is more interested in discussing topics on Twitter, deadpanning meditations on the humiliating process of being a person, she presents a sweetly funny flipside to the strikingly sad songs she writes. Fittingly, Punisher is fascinated with, and driven by, that kind of impossible tension. Whether it’s writing tweets or songs, Bridgers’s singular talent lies in bringing fierce curiosity to slimy and painful things, interrogating them until they yield up answers that are beautiful and absurd, or faithfully reporting the reality that, sometimes, they are neither. Bridgers pulls together a formidable crew of guests, including the Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Christian Lee Hutson and Conor Oberst as well as Nathaniel Walcott (of Bright Eyes), Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Jenny Lee Lindberg (of Warpaint), Blake Mills and Jim Keltner as well as her longtime bandmates Marshall Vore (drums), Harrison Whitford (guitar), Emily Retsas (bass) and Nick White (keys). The album was mixed by Mike Mogis, who also mixed Stranger In The Alps. On the album’s epic, freewheeling closer, I Know The End, Bridgers orchestrates wails and horns, drums and electric guitar into a sumptuous doomsday swirl, culminating in her own final whispered roar. This is Punisher in a nutshell: devastating elegance punctuated by a moment of deeply campy self-awareness.
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It is the 2nd album by Phoebe Bridgers, a young singer songwriter who is based in California. The songs are complex, the lyrics are sometimes rather opaque, and the general feel is of someone who is troubled and unsettled. The production is quite elaborate, including strings and horns on some tracks. with some high profile guests including Jim Keltner on drums and Conor Oberst on vocals appearing on selected tracks. It is not an immediate poppy record, but rather complex, and one that definitely takes time to assimilate.
Having listened to it half a dozen times, I am still getting to grips with what is on offer, but it is slowly growing on me. The artwork within the CD booklet consist of black pencil sketches to accompany the lyrics of each song with some detailed fantasy and macabre images, as dense and strange as some of the music. It is tuneful, but not with singalong hooks, and generally rather downbeat and a bit melancholy. The lyrics make for intriguing reading, a complex individual mixing day to day events with a fantasy world. Her voice does tend to hold your attention, sometimes a bit whispy and out of kilter, other times more direct. Some of the songs are more folky in places, but at other times the full on arrangement rock out, and the album builds up to end in a complex crescendo with everything thrown into the mix.
I am still making up my mind on this one, there is lots to get to grips with. She is obviously a talented individual who has created a fascinating album that is strange, distinctively her own sound and work, but rather complex and elaborate. A lot of promise is shown, but my overall feeling is she is trying a bit too hard to be different Maybe stripping things back to simpler basics might reveal more and be just as enjoyable and more enlightening than the rather dense arrangement employed here.
It will be fascinating to hear what she comes up with next.