Bridgers pleases with “Punisher”


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In an effort to mix things up a bit, I opted for something a little more mainstream and listenable than my previous albums. I settled on Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, a 40-minute long indie pop record which is admittedly different from my preferred genre of music.

Punisher is a 40-minute long indie pop record released on June 18 of this year. The opening track “DVD Menu” is a short, eerie folk-based song, which sets the tone for the rest of the album with its hazy production. 

“Garden Song” is another lo-fi guitar pop song with a significantly gloomier sound than the spooky “DVD Menu.” I really enjoyed the introspective lyrics on this song, particularly how Bridgers examines her own thought process. The imagery of killing a skinhead to grow a garden over his corpse seems to serve as a metaphor for the violent thoughts that humans try to suppress. 

 I also was drawn to “Halloween” and its exploration of human interaction and the inherent deceitfulness that lies within how we present ourselves. 

“Moon Song” is my favorite song on the album instrumentally with its lo-fi 808 drums and hints of a vibrato-embellished guitar. On the flip side, I found the lyrics to be less engaging than those of other tracks on the album. 

I also enjoyed “ICU’s” rock-inspired instrumental fused with the pop production of the rest of the record, particularly the fuzz embellishments. Similarly, “Savior Complex” has a unique, acoustic sound that draws heavily from folk influences and differs from the rest of the album. 

The most impressive aspect of this album for me was how Bridgers’ willingness to experiment with the lo-fi pop formula. Songs like “ICU” and “Savior Complex” did a good job of breaking up the album and keeping the listening experience fresh. 

However, there were instances in which I didn’t enjoy some of her sonic choices. I initially enjoyed “Kyoto,” but after the first minute, a horn melody is introduced which appears several times throughout the rest of the track. This felt out of place and tarnished the song for me. 

Another issue I had with this album is repetitive it feels at certain points. During the first half of the album (excluding “Kyoto”), every song sounds and feels structurally similar. I believe putting “ICU” or “Savior Complex” earlier in the album would have helped with this a lot, as it would make the sequencing much more interesting. 

Punisher was my first experience with indie pop and I was impressed by what it presented. The album is very well made and Bridgers’ vocal performance is incredible. While I did find the album to be repetitive at certain points, I think that Bridgers’ vocal performance and the sheer production value is enough to make up for that. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good 3 a.m. listen. 

FINAL RATING: 4/5 stars