In Review: Phoebe Bridgers - 'Kyoto'

Californian indie rock singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has released her new single ‘Kyoto’ to coincide with the unveiling of her sophomore studio album Punisher.
Posted: 20 April 2020 Words: Jess Hodgson

Having recently guested on songs by The 1975 and Hayley Williams as well as riding off the back of the success of her last single ‘Garden Song’, Phoebe Bridgers shows no signs of letting up with the release of new single 'Kyoto'. Since the release of her debut LP Stranger in the Alps back in 2017, Bridgers has received critical acclaim for her thoughtful songwriting and melancholic production. Her work doesn’t end with solo artistry, either. Bridgers is also part of two supergroups: boygenius with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, as well as Better Oblivion Community Center with beau Conor Oberst.

‘Kyoto’ was put out alongside an announcement that Bridgers’ new album Punisher will be released in June 19th of this year on Dead Oceans. Telling the story of a day off tour in Japan, ‘Kyoto’ features that classic Bridgers 'sad girl' lyricism, dealing with the dichotomy of being in the same emotional state despite being in an entirely different one physically. Utilising that emo-ish, Elliott Smith-inspired introspection to drive the track, Bridgers' humour never wains in what suggests a more cinematic approach to her song-writing.

About ‘Kyoto’, Bridgers said: “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”

Featuring guest instrumentation from Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg and Bright Eyes’ Nathaniel Walcott bringing lush horn sections to the track, 'Kyoto' culminates in an uncharacteristically upbeat track which signals an exciting artistic growth for Bridgers. 

To hear more from Phoebe Bridgers, click here.

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