Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
When Phoebe Bridgers gets it right on Stranger in the Alps, you can see her making a long career of this
LA songwriter Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album, Stranger in the Alps, feels like it’s been a long time coming. Although only 22, she’s navigated the travails of hipster douchebaggery by covering Gigantic in an Apple ad, and toured with Ryan Adams (whose influence you can hear on a song like Georgia) and Conor Oberst (who sings on Would You Rather, the Stipe to Bridgers’ Indigo Girls).
Like Lisa Hannigan (whose Bryce Dessner produced album At Swim is a good reference point), Bridgers is a young, plaintive, melancholy singer whose ever so slightly jaded voice and Raymond Carver-ish observations commingle to create the kind of album you can imagine soundtracking the tail end of many a walk of shame.
There is an endearing simplicity to her words (‘I hate you for what you did / And I miss you like a little kid,’ she sings on her most recent single, Motion Sickness) but at the same time there is a truth and an authenticity to what she’s doing here. Equal parts Mary Lou Lord and Margo Timmins, Bridgers is someone finding her way, trying things out, rarely settling for easy when something more is called for.
Which isn’t to say that she gets everything right – the new arrangements of both Killer and Georgia lack the immediacy of their originally released versions – but when she does, you can see her making a long career of this. The album’s cover also brings to mind David Lowery’s recent A Ghost Story, a movie Phoebe Bridgers' album provides a fair accompaniment to.
Listen to: Motion Sickness, Killer, Would You Rather