In September of last year, Phoebe Bridgers graced the ears of listeners with the release of “Stranger in the Alps” – her debut album. Nearly six months have passed since the album’s release, but Bridgers has managed to remain a topic of conversation around the music industry’s water-cooler. How? “Stranger in the Alps” is different. Granted, most artist’s will claim to be “different” and there are certainly varying degrees of such a metric. But, it has come to show that Bridgers and her album stand out among the sea of releases in 2017.
Looking to the top albums of 2017, including Ed Sheeran’s “Divide,” Drake’s “More Life” and Zara Larsson’s “So Good,” Bridgers has chosen to pave her own path. She did this through stripping away the frills, catchy hooks and often overwhelming drum production of the “EDM pop fusion.” Instead, she implanted her music in the minds of listeners through her appeal of genuineness rather than short-term memory.
“I wanted to be more genuine with my lyrics, and to me that meant being self-deprecating or a little more self-aware, and not using words that just sounded pretty,” she says. “I had an epiphany that I can be honest with myself and with other people when I’m writing.”
Nearly devoid of drums throughout the entire album, listeners are challenged to slow down their chaotic lives as soon as the opening track “Smoke Signals” begins to play and subsequently dig into the lyricism that delicately floats over soft piano and guitar strums of tracks like “Killer” and “Funeral.”
Because of its simplistic beauty and almost haunting vocals, the first run-through of the album may seem a bit depressing.
“I’d hate for someone to think I’m sipping an espresso somewhere judging people or feeling sorry for myself. OK, I definitely do that once in a while, but I don’t consider myself an intense person,” Bridgers said.
The album is not meant to evoke one particular emotion, but instead free listeners of the madness of our modern world. The goal is to simply make them feel, whatever that may mean to each listener. The track list itself is evidence of this. After drawing audiences in with the somber “Smoke Signals,” Bridgers places one of the most upbeat tracks on the album in slot number two, which consequently has the grungiest ambiance and most prevalent use of drums of the entire album.
In response to beautifully crafted debut album, and to no surprise, Bridgers has received praise from the likes of Billboard, NPR, Stereogum, Pitchfork, and The Fader. The Fader even named her the “#1 Best New Artist of 2017.” Even with the critical acclaim, however, Bridgers has stayed true to herself and her mission to be open, honest and inviting in her music. “I wasn’t trying to be too lo-fi, too hi-fi, too self-serious, too disingenuous…I feel pretty confident that I’m finding my voice,” she says. “I wanted the album to completely represent who I am and these songs are representative of what I set out to do.”
Bridgers is playing an intimate set at White Oak Music Hall this Friday, February 9, 2018 with Soccer Mommy opening the evening. Tickets are cheap selling at only $13. And the weather is expected to be 60 degrees and rainy. The conditions are truly perfect to catch this one of a kind performance and hear “Stranger in the Alps” live.
Click here for tickets!