Tag Archives: Phoebe Bridgers

New National: Laugh Track (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Video: The National – “Laugh Track” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Directed and animated by Bernard Derriman. From Laugh Track, out now on 4AD.

I often think about the tweet where a guy went to see the National in concert: “The singer asked ‘how’s everyone doing tonight?’ and the guy next to me shouted ‘I’m getting a divorce’.”

That’s still funny.

Losing my momentum, losing my mind
Not enough to mention, not enough time
I can’t even say what it’s about
All I am is shreds of doubt.

Sure, the National is the embodiment of sad sack dad rock. But apparently the kids dig ’em. And why not? As Phoebe Bridgers recently told Amanda Petrusich in the New Yorker, “Something middle-aged men and teen-age girls have in common is the act of finding yourself, and being kind of self-conscious. Maybe some beliefs that you’ve held on to for a long time are finally being shed. The teen-age girl in me is obsessed with the National, and feels very spoken to and seen by them, maybe for the exact same reasons that they speak to middle-aged men.”

So there.

The National: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Boygenius: Cool About It

Video: boygenius – “Cool About It”

Directed by Lauren Tsai. From the record, out now on Interscope.

This demonstrates exactly what makes boygenius so awesome. Each band member takes a verse and they come together on the chorus. Most boygenius songs sound like they could be solo songs with the other two adding harmonies, which is still great because they sound so good together, but when it sounds more collaborative it’s even better, showcasing their distinct voice, phrasing, and perspective in one song.

“Cool About It” is a post-breakup get-together song and it’s the opposite of Olivia Rodrigo’s “bad idea right?” Instead of “accidentally” falling back into their ex’s bed, the boygenius narrators just feel shitty about seeing them and having to pretend everything is fine. It’s a perfect short story.

Bridgers told Rolling Stone her verse about taking someone’s medication is true: “I was seeing somebody who was on an antidepressant. It was a low point for me because there’s a part of myself that’s very impulsive, that scares me, where it feels like there’s no thoughts between having the idea to do it and action. It just feels like I have the idea and I do it. And that was one of those moments for me. It was cool to bring light to it in that song because I think it’s actually kind of funny. My verse just becomes immediately so dark, it slows down.”

The video by Lauren Tsai is a haunting animated story about a dog and a chew toy from the perspective of the stuffy. Or maybe it’s about a girl and her boyfriend. Or a girl and her dog and a stuffy it finds on a park bench. Or all of the above. It’s impressionistic and sad. The moral seems to be that it’s hard to keep it together. There are no happy endings.

boygenius: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New National: Your Mind Is Not Your Friend

Video: The National – “Your Mind Is Not Your Friend” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Directed by Jackson Bridgers. From First Two Pages Of Frankenstein, out April 28 on 4AD.

The song is good but the video is definitely worth watching. Matt Berninger’s brother Tom is our protagonist who’s having a bit of a psychotic episode at a playground. It’s a little flippant in its portrayal of mental illness but it still manages to be moving at the same time. You sympathize with Tom as he mopes around the playground, wanting to feel better. Teenagers are laughing at him and he’s making moms uncomfortable. (Phoebe Bridgers’ cameo is perfectly executed.)

You are like a child
You’re gonna flip your lid again
Don’t you understand?
Your mind is not your friend.

In the video Matt Berninger represents Tom’s mind, promising him joy but leading him astray. It’s goofy but well done. Directed by Phoebe’s brother Jackson, who also directed the video for the very first song we ever heard by his sister, her duet with Conor Oberst “Would You Rather” from way back in 2017. Lots of brotherly love going on here.

The National: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Boygenius video: Not Strong Enough

Video: boygenius – “Not Strong Enough”

From The Record, out March 31 un UMG.

Sometimes the output of “supergroups” can seem like the throwaway songs that the members aren’t saving for a solo album. And some songs feel like a solo song with some overdubbed harmonies. “Not Strong Enough” actually sounds like a real collaboration with all three members of boygenius trading off lead vocals, and the video confirms that these artists truly enjoy being together.

Phoebe Bridgers told Rolling Stone that the title is a nod to Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough.”

“The two wolves inside us can be self-hatred and self-aggrandizing. Being like, ‘I’m not strong enough to show up for you. I can’t be the partner that you want me to be.’ But also being like, ‘I’m too fucked up. I’m unknowable in some deep way!’ Self-hatred is a god complex sometimes, where you think you’re the most fucked-up person who’s ever lived. Straight up, you’re not. And it can make people behave really selfishly, and I love each of our interpretations of that concept.”

My favorite moment of the video is when they’re on the rollercoaster and Julien Baker looks like she’s about to hurl. She’s trying so hard to smile and look like she’s having fun but you can totally tell she’s hating it.

boygenius: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Andrew Bird video: I felt a Funeral, in my Brain ft. Emily Dickinson, Phoebe Bridgers

Video: Andrew Bird – “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Single out now.

Andrew Bird and Phoebe Bridgers must be pals now. From reinterpreting Emily Dickinson poems to covering Handsome Family classics, these two are already about 1/7th the way to making a whole album together. A very, very sad album. Happy holidays, everybody!

Their Dickinson jam just got a video, made in collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum and featuring handwritten transcripts and footage of Dickinson’s lifelong home. See where the magic happened! That sweet, lonely, revolutionary, poetic magic.

Andrew Bird: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Phoebe Bridgers video: Sidelines

Video: Phoebe Bridgers – “Sidelines”

From the television series “Conversations With Friends” based on the novel by Sally Rooney, out now on Dead Oceans.

In the opening lines of the very first song I ever heard by Phoebe Bridgers, she sang, “Playing ‘would you rather’ / When it comes to fire / You always say that you’d prefer to drown,” setting up an evocative story about her house burning down when she was 19. These days, that idea no longer seems to bother her.

I’m not afraid of anything at all
Not dying in a fire
Not being broke again.

The glory of anti-anxiety medication, I guess.

“Sidelines” is apparently from some tv show on Hulu. If the song is any indication, it’s about zonked out people who don’t feel anything…until they meet somebody who inspires them “to want to go outside.” Seems like the pandemic has exacerbated the agoraphobia in just about everyone.

I’m not afraid of getting older
Used to fetishize myself
Now I’m talking to my houseplants.

Nothing wrong with that. Houseplants need love too.

Phoebe Bridgers: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Christian Lee Hutson video: Rubberneckers

Video: Christian Lee Hutson – “Rubberneckers”

Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From Quitters, due April 1 on Anti-.

Does this song sample Wilco’s “Born Alone” or just interpolate it? Either way, it’s a good use of a great riff.

I really like Christian Lee Hutson. He’s about 20 years younger than me but he reminds me of people I knew growing up. He just seems like somebody I would’ve hung out with. His lyrics are sad and funny and nostalgic and a little hopeful. And his melodic sensibilities and delivery reveal an appreciation of Elliott Smith, which gets me every time. I’ve been a fan since the first time I heard “Northsiders” with its references to Morrissey apologists and pretentious college kids.

Anti- is calling “Rubberneckers” the lead single from the upcoming album Quitters, so does that mean “Strawberry Lemonade” — released in November — was a standalone single? Doubtful. But whatever. Who knows what “lead single” means anyway. It can mean whatever you want it to mean, I guess, or it can mean nothing at all. Who cares, the song is good and the video is silly.

Hutson says, “The last time I danced was at the 8th grade social and it was mainly just swaying to ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ but I wanted to showcase what a natural, gifted dancer I am.” Absolutely!

If you tell a lie for long enough
Then it becomes the truth.
I am gonna be okay someday
With or without you.

There’s nothing truer than the lies we tell ourselves.

Christian Lee Hutson: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Muna video: Silk Chiffon (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Video: MUNA – “Silk Chiffon” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Directed by Ally Pankiw. Single out now on Saddest Factory.

Is this any good? Or is it boring major label pop music that seems kinda cool because it’s super gay and features Phoebe Bridgers? I can’t tell anymore. A lot of people apparently have a lot to say about Haim, but does that make them interesting?

Muna released two albums on RCA and toured with Harry Styles before being picked up by Bridgers’ Saddest Factory imprint. Is this what passes for independent music these days?

The song is catchy enough.

Like life’s so fun, life’s so fun
Got my miniskirt and my rollerblades on
Bag on my side cause I’m out til dawn
Keeping it light like silk chiffon.

It’s refreshing in a pandemic, I guess, to keep things light and emphasize fun. The video is cute: Our hero gets sent to conversion therapy camp where she faces indoctrination until all the inmates escape to a rock and roll roadhouse gay bar. Yee haw!

Too bad they’re not selling those “straight is great” shirts in their merch store. Come on! Leaving money on the table.

I wonder if Bridgers’ verse that mentions “feeling anxious inside of the CVS” is a reference to her 2020 photo shoot for Rolling Stone in a CVS.

Like all well-crafted pop songs, the more you listen to “Silk Chiffon” the more it grows on you. Turns out it is pretty good after all.

New Jackson Browne: My Cleveland Heart

Video: Jackson Browne – “My Cleveland Heart”

Directed by Alissa Torvinen Kouame. From Downhill From Everywhere, due July 23.

Be honest. How excited would you be for a new Jackson Browne video if you hadn’t heard it features a cameo from Phoebe Bridgers playing a naughty nurse?

That’s alright. Whatever gets the eyeballs in the attention economy.

And it turns out the song is pretty good. Sounds just like a classic Jackson Browne song. Val McCallum plays guitar and there’s some nice lap steel by Greg Leisz, and Browne’s voice is still strong. He told Rolling Stone the lyrics were inspired by stumbling across Cleveland Heart, the place where they make artificial hearts: “I said, ‘Oh, I could use one of those!’”

As for Bridgers’ appearance in the video, Browne said, “I thought it was really appropriate to take out my worn-out, useless heart and hand it to Phoebe. Who better to hand [it] to than somebody young, strong, and possibly as cynical as me?”

Can’t argue with that!

Jackson Browne: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Charlie Hickey: Ten Feet Tall ft. Phoebe Bridgers

Video: Charlie Hickey – “Ten Feet Tall” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From the Count the Stairs EP, due February 26. Single out now.

The kids are alright.

Charlie Hickey is 21. And he’s been writing songs since grade school. The story goes that he impressed Phoebe Bridgers when he was 13 by covering one of her songs. Eventually she introduced him to her drummer/ex-boyfriend Marshall Vore who collaborated with Hickey and produced his upcoming EP. It’s all about who you know, I guess, but it doesn’t hurt to write good songs and be able to perform them so effortlessly.

He went to college for a year before he dropped out to focus on his music, but it sounds like he was there long enough to capture the essence of the whole experience: “There’s not a problem here that can’t be solved with liquor, stickers, and strawberry Boone’s.”

Hickey describes how “Ten Feet Tall” came about:

“I was going to school at the time and was feeling quite alienated in this little world where everybody was instantly partying with their brand new best friends and fun came so naturally. I found solace in Marshall’s studio on the weekends. This was our first proper attempt at writing together and we were writing something really horrible. We were both kind of delirious and Marshall started singing the verse melody for the song as a joke, making fun of what we had been trying to write. But when I heard it, I said to him, ‘Wait, that’s the song that we’ve been trying to write.’ After that, we wrote the rest that night and recorded it the next day.”

And that’s all it takes!

The video makes me nostalgic. It was so much fun to be young and bored and goofy, hanging out with your crew and doing nothing, cracking each other up. Looking for excitement and never finding it.

Charlie Hickey: web, insta, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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