Album Review: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Less than three years ago, I wandered around parts of Seattle (then, later, an evening in Portland), falling in and out of record stores, trying to find a copy of Stranger in The Alps. 

The album, the debut full-length from singer and songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, had been released only a few weeks prior, but the harder I looked for it, the more difficult it proved to find. Making things even more frustrating was the fact that on the day my wife and I hopped off of the Amtrak Empire Builder in Seattle (nearly 40 hours after we departed the Midwest), Bridgers was playing that very night at The Moore Theatre, opening for The War on Drugs. 

In one of the stores I walked into—cramped aisles, racks overstuffed with expensive vinyl—the clerk behind the counter hadn’t heard of Bridgers at all, and when asking what kind of music she played, after I responded, tried to sell me on some Courtney Barnett and Sharon Van Etten instead. 

In Portland, after striking out totally empty handed at the Jackpot Records on Hawthorne, I sat on my phone in the airport, waiting for our incredibly delayed flight home to board, and, much to my chagrin, purchased a copy of Stranger in The Alps on vinyl of color1 from the Amazon app2. This was on a Saturday, and somehow, the record arrived by Monday or Tuesday, if I’m remembering this correctly.


In my review of Stranger in The Alps, written shortly before my wife and I went on vacation in the Pacific Northwest, I refer to Bridgers as a performer who was the rightful heir to the evocative, earnest, and devastating throne left vacant by Elliott Smith. It was the first thought that came to mind after hearing the lyric, “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time. That’s just how I feel—I always have, and I always will,” from the album’s somber, stark third track, “Funeral.” It was very reminiscent of Smith’s iconic, “My feelings never change a bit: I always feel like shit. I don’t know why, I guess that I ‘just do,’” from XO’s “I Didn’t Understand.” 

The ghost of Smith more than likely played a large, though possibly indirect, role in shaping Bridgers’ aesthetic as a songwriter as she was working on Stranger in The Alps, but his ghost plays an even more prominent and very obvious role in, Punisher, the startling, visceral, and gorgeous follow up—a collection of 10 songs (with one instrumental introductory track) that, if anything else, shows the leaps and bounds in confidence and intelligence Bridgers has grown into as a songwriter and arranger over the last three years. 

Subjectively, it is hard to believe that three years have elapsed since the release of Stranger in The Alps, because I am uncertain I’d be able to name another artist who has successfully managed to stay in the public eye and grow her profile after the traditional ‘album cycle’ has ended. Touring incessantly in support of the record, even a year after it was released, certainly helps—but her other endeavors are more than likely what contributed to her rise, and the anticipation surrounding the release of Punisher. In 2018, she formed a ‘super group’ with peers Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, boygenius, recording and releasing an excellent self-titled EP; and in 2019, she formed a band with her teenage idol Conor Oberst, the Better Oblivion Community Center.


Punisher isn’t a concept album—however, as it unfolds, it becomes very clear that it’s a collection of loosely connected songs, with imagery that repeats, or is referenced more than once at different points in the record; there are points, too, where it may even tip its hat to imagery from its predecessor. A few days after Punisher had been released, I asked a friend3 if she had taken a listen yet; she hadn’t, and we had a very short conversation about how she and I consume (for lack of a better word) music differently, and that she is not one to immediately sit down with something, like a new album, and obsessively listen from start to finish, the way I do. 

And that is fair. Not everyone I know is album oriented; some people I know don’t even really listen to a lot of music. And not everyone is an internet music writer who needs to immerse themselves into an album in order to write an overly verbose review that only a handful of people will ever actually read.

Punisher isn’t inaccessible—even in its darkest, most self deprecating moments, or even at its most cacophonic peak, Bridgers, as a songwriter, has a deep understanding of how to write things that are still accessible, or in some cases, infectious. But, in comparison to Stranger in The Alps, it is a lot more insular of a record that, from the moment it opens, requires exponentially more patience, but in the end, is worth every moment you spend with it.


Since the release of Stranger in The Alps, one thing that has not changed for Bridgers, and has arguably only gotten better the more she has worked with other artists, and as she, as a songwriter, has matured, is her ability to turn a phrase. There were stunning moments throughout her debut, and Punisher, as anticipated, is full of arresting, evocative phrasing and imagery that, even when it is something that seems so simple (like a day off from touring in Japan), she places you in that moment with her, whether or not it is fact, fiction, or a messy blurring together of the two.

From the beginning, Bridgers has implemented the idea of ghosts (see the cover art to Stranger in The Alps) and on Punisher, the ghosts have found their way into her lyrics—right out of the gate, in the album’s proper opening track, “Garden Song,” Bridgers is living with ghosts, mostly metaphorical, but also, perhaps, literal as well. “Everything’s growing in our garden,” she sings near the ending of the song. “You don’t have to know that it’s haunted.” She follows this with one of my favorite lines on the record—and one of her most memorable: “The doctor put her hands over my liver; she told me my resentment’s getting smaller,” which, according to a recent profile in Playboy, is an actual conversation Bridgers had with a nutritionist. 

“Garden Song,” as an opening piece, isn’t misleading of the direction the album will take, but it is, however, a drastically different song (musically speaking) than anything Bridgers has done in the past—set against a minimalist, glitchy and manipulated rhythm, and featuring booming, low backing vocals from her tour manager, it’s borderline skeletal and incredibly reserved in its aesthetic, which gives the listener a chance to really focus on Bridgers’ lyrics, as she paints a stark portrait of Los Angeles, tries to recall a dream, and retraces the steps of her childhood home catching fire the year before her parents divorced. 

Released as the first single from Punisher, back in March, it arrived on its own, with the announcement off an imminent new album coming later with the album’s second single, and third track, “Kyoto,” a jaunty, rollicking number that, as mentioned earlier, follows Bridgers on a day off of touring in Japan. The song’s arrangement, again, musically like nothing she’s attempted thus far (including a small amount of bombast from the inclusion of horns), is used to distract the listener slightly from when the song’s lyrics become less about hating being on tour, but also hating home, and more about her damaged relationship with her father, as well as his alcoholism. “I’m gonna kill you if you don’t beat me to it,” she sings in the song’s first refrain; then the second time around, “I don’t forgive you. But please don’t hold me to it.”


The title Stranger in The Alps is a bit of an in-joke, or at least, an attempt at not taking things so seriously on a record full of serious things—it’s the edited for television line that that is dubbed over dialogue from The Big Lebowski. And when Punisher was revealed as the title to Bridgers’ second album, even with the gorgeous blue, red, and black cover art—a photo of her, dressed up in a skeleton pajamas, gazing up at the night sky—all I could think about was the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

The idea of ‘the Punisher,’ in this context, is revealed in the album’s breathtaking titular track—arriving fourth on the record, it’s here that the tone of the album really shifts; lyrically and aesthetically, it starts to become the thing that it will be by the time it concludes. 

It’s also on the album’s titular track that you realize just how far Bridgers has come as far as her interest in layering and depth of production. Not to say that Stranger in The Alps was one-dimensional, sonically speaking, but here, there is a lot going on, and you know that there’s a lot going on when someone is credited with ‘sound design’ in the liner notes. Like, even in “Garden Song,” you should have realized how big of a step forward this album is; by “Punisher,” there should be no question. 

Bridgers’ songs are always about a lot of things, or, at the very least, not just about, or written to, one person—“Punisher” is no exception, and it’s the song on the album that the ghost of Elliott Smith haunts the most. 

It probably would have been easy to find Smith’s ghost in the lyrics to “Punisher,” even if I hadn’t read ahead and looked at the annotation on the song on Genius; one of the neat tricks Bridgers’ pulls off here, aside from sending chills down my arms each time she heads into the refrain, is that she simply alludes to Smith through imagery only, and never mentions him by name. 

And here, everyone knows you’re the way to my heart,” she sings at the beginning of the song’s second verse, lamenting that she will never get to meet the person who had such an enormous influence on her songwriting, but also reflecting on how she, despite her best efforts, if ever given the opportunity, would become a ‘punisher.’

In the annotation on the song, Bridgers’ explains what, or who, rather, a ‘Punisher’ is, in this context, and that she, herself, is worried about being one: “That when I talk to my heroes, their eyes will glaze over,” she explains, adding, “The worst way it happens is with a sweet fan, someone who is really trying to be nice and their hands are shaking, but they don’t realize they’re standing outside of your bus and you’re trying to go to bed. And they talk to you for like 45 minutes, and you realize your reaction means everything to them, so you are trying to be there for them too.”

Bridgers knows that if Smith were still alive, she would have cornered him at the Silverlake Lounge, and “not known what the fuck I was talking about” as she approached him, which is one of the many images she alludes to in the song, also presuming that Smith would have been a little easier on ‘Punishers’ who approached him. “Hear so many stories of you at the bar—most times, alone, and sometimes looking your worst. But never not sweet to the trust funds and the punishers.”

Within the song’s lyrics, too, Bridgers takes stock of her own reaction to fan encounters, as well as the way Smith’s influence has specifically woven its way into her own work: “Man I wish I could say the same. I swear I’m not angry, that’s just my face4. A copycat killer with a chemical cut—either I’m careless or I wanna get caught.”

There’s something astounding about the way Bridgers’ vocal tracks are produced and manipulated on “Punisher.” Specifically, the song’s verses find her voice layered and filtered through a vocoder, giving her words a strange and icy touch—but the haunted robotics are pulled away and her voice is unaffected by the time the refrain comes around. And there’s something astounding about the song “Punisher” in the way the song is arranged, and the way it is almost too emotionally manipulative, specifically when it arrives at the refrain, and just simply swoons, dripping along gorgeously on Bridgers’ hushed vocal delivery: “What if I told you I feel like I know you? But we never met,” then adding in the song’s final refrain, “I wouldn’t know where to start.”


Yes, the titular track is probably one of those most impressive moments on the record, but Punisher really hits its emotional stride as it heads into its second half, as it wraps up its first side with “Chinese Satellite,” which, as it propels itself forward from the low, quickly strummed electric guitar, is one of the myriad songs that benefits from that aforementioned “sound design,” with Bridgers’ voice overlapping and layered, echoing and reversed in editing; it also, musically, swells to absolutely incredible heights, making the grandiose peak of “Georgia,” from Stranger in The Alps pale in comparison. 

I stop short of saying that “Chinese Satellite” is one of the more personal songs on Punisher, because they are all, like, pretty fucking personal; but it might be one of the songs that is most deeply rooted within Bridgers’ herself. Easily described as being about her inability to believe in god, despite every effort to do so. “If I’m being honest,” she explained, “This songs about turning 11 and not getting a letter from Hogwarts, just realizing that nobody’s going to save me from why life, nobody’s going to wake me cup and be like, ‘Hey, just kidding. Actually, it’s real a lot more special than this, and you’re special. No, I’m going to be the way that I am forever.”

“Chinese Satellite” is perhaps the most obviously dramatic song on the album, in both its arranging, and it lyrics:”I’ve been running around in circles, pretending to be myself,” she sings in the song’s opening line; then, during the song’s refrain: “I want to believe—instead, I look at the sky and I feel nothing. You know I hate to be alone. I want to be wrong.”

It’s among the album’s most cathartic, sonically, but, like many moments that find the balance between tension and release, there is little, if any resolve in the end.

As the second side of the record unfolds, near its conclusion, it houses the third single released in advanced, “ICU” (released as “I See You” because of dat rona) and “Graceland Too,” which, tonally speaking, are a night and day difference when compared to one another, but also a huge contrast from the darkness that is cast on Punisher’s second half. 

I’ve been playing dead my whole life, and I get this feeling whenever I feel good, I’ll be the last time,” Bridgers sings in the opening verse to “ICU,” a rollicking, at times whimsical sounding, emotional reflection that, even when it musically is on the cusp of bursting at the seams from all of the layers piled on, its one of the album’s most accessible in terms of its structure, as well as its lyrics. 

The song itself is both a meditation on Bridgers’ own struggle with depression, and the way it manifests in her, as well as a hard look at the end of her relationship with her former partner of a number of years, as well as the drummer in her band, Marshall Vore—which was a pretty obvious giveaway from the lyrics to the song’s third verse: “I used to light you up; now I can’t even get you to play the drums. ‘Cause I don’t know what I want until I fuck it up.” It is worth noting that Core is credited as a co-writer of the song, and that even at its bleakest, there is still a very, very small sliver of hopefulness, or guarded optimism as the song concludes—musically, it soars with a kind of astounding bombast that you’d expect to hear from a band like the Arcade Fire5, and lyrically, Bridgers comes around to a kind of understanding (“I feel something when I see you now”) and some acceptance of the place that she always seems to find herself in: “I’ll climb through the window again, but right now it feels good not to stand. Then I’ll leave it wide open and let the dystopian morning light pour in.”

After the borderline purgation of “ICU,” “Graceland Too” is a drastic switch in aesthetic. Teetering slightly into ‘country,’ or at the very least, bluegrass, thanks in part to the inclusion of plucked banjo, as well as violin from Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek. Bridgers blurs the edges between those genres, alongside a strong folk influence, for a slow burning acoustic ballad that was written about taking MDMA with friends. Rumored to be about Julien Baker, Bridgers’ boygenius bandmate, Baker herself as well as Lucy Dacus appear to provide gorgeous backing vocals, creating a gentle, somber swooning moment that, presented in a bittersweet way, serves as a beautiful respite coming between the explosive nature of “ICU,” and for the album’s final moment.

There’s a through line that connects pieces of Punisher—not from beginning to end, but there are fragments that recur at different points, giving the album minor elements of a cyclical nature; and there might be, and you don’t even have to really stretch this, but a small reference back to the devastating “Killer,” which is one of her oldest songs, dating back in its earliest form to her 2015 EP6. 

In that song, as well as “Moon Song,” the track that opens the second side to Punisher, and the album’s most devastating, difficult moment, it is very clear that Bridgers was, and still is, ‘the killer.’

At some point, within recent memory, the expressions “I feel seen” and “I feel attacked,” or using both of those, at the same time, started making the rounds on the internet—I more than likely encountered them on Twitter. It was probably within the last year, or so, that I began using them when writing about music—specifically music that I saw difficult reflections of myself in. The best example of this would be how I felt while listening to, and writing about, Lana Del Rey's Norman Fucking Rockwell. 

Feeling “upsetty and called out7,” is another way to describe it.

I don’t know who the antagonist is in “Moon Song,” and the internet certainly has wasted no time in speculating the song is about Conor Oberst. The who, at the end of the day, is not what makes “Moon Song” the emotionally destructive force it is. It’s the way it’s arranged, and it’s the desperation, and sadness in the song’s lyrical imagery, and how that is all conveyed through Bridgers’ voice. 

The additional through line that appears in Punisher, according to Bridgers, is that caring for someone who hates themselves is really hard8, which is something alluded to in other places, but becomes very apparent here, as well as the unbalanced giving and taking in a volatile, or, at the very least, a difficult relationship. In the annotation for “Moon Song,” Bridgers doesn’t say specifically who the song is about, but defaults to songs being like dreams (another slight through line in the album) and also confesses that it’s hyper specific to “people, and a person, and a relationship.”

I feel complex about every single person I’ve ever cared about, and I think that’s pretty clear,” she adds.

Lyrically, Bridgers juxtaposes very difficult, surprising imagery with small, sparse, but nevertheless evocative phrasing to tell the story, which is one of the reasons it’s the finest moment of the album. There’s an all-consuming feeling that she’s able to describe within the song’s first verse: “You asked me to walk you home, but I had to carry you,” she sings. “And you pushed me in, and now my feet can’t touch the bottom of you.”

Musically, “Moon Song” moves, intentionally, like a dirge, with light, swirling atmospherics in the background, underscoring the low, distended electric guitar strums, and the compressed, sparse percussion that comes in as the song progresses. 

It’s in the second verse of the song where the lyrics become, not so much ‘shocking,’ but take a very stark, very blunt turn: “You couldn’t have stuck your tongue down the throat of somebody who loves you more,” she says, calmly, swooning along to the rhythm of the music. “So I will wait for the next time you want me, like a dog with a bird at your door.”

And that’s the image that she returns to again, both at the end of “Moon Song,” and later on, in “I Know The End.” “When you saw the dead little bird, you started crying—but you know the killer doesn’t understand,” she says, with a mix of tenderness and maybe a little regret in her voice. And prior to this, there is another very blunt, surprising admission: “You’re sick, and you’re married, and you might be dying—but you’re holding me like water in your hands.” Both here, and in “Moon Song”’s opening verse, Bridgers briefly introduces the metaphor of water, but opts not to let it totally overtake the song, and instead, lets the listener focus on that element, if they so choose to, upon subsequent listens. 

Arriving just after “Moon Song” is its ‘sequel,’ or at least a thematic follow up, in the form of “Savior Complex.” Musically, it floats along as a gorgeous, swooning waltz, similar to the ambitious arranging from Elliott Smith during his Dreamworks-era; lyrically, Bridgers, who alleges she wrote the song in a dream, and woke up to sing it into a voice note on her phone, said it’s about getting what you want, then finding yourself in a relationship with a person who hates themself. 

Presented, still poetically, it is maybe less evocative than its predecessor, and slightly more agitated: “Emotional affair; overly sincere,” she begins. “Smoking in the car, windows up; crocodile tears—run the tap ’til it’s clear.” And in confronting what is unable to be resolved within the other person, and attempting to confront things within herself, the tension continues to grow: “I’m too tired to have a pissing contest,” she says at the end of the first verse. Then, at the end of the second verse, “I’m a bad liar with a savior complex. All the skeletons you hide—show me yours, I’ll show you mine.”


I’m not afraid to disappear

By the time Punisher actually concludes, sliding into its final raucous moments with the kind of song that could only be a closing track, “I Know The End,” the thing you realize is that even within all of the tension and release throughout the record, and even with all of the time it presents for rumination, and the questions it pushes you toward asking yourself, or at the very least, considering, there’s little, if any, real resolve, or ‘right or wrong’ answers to be had. In the end, there is only a loudly, confidently delivered statement: The End is Here.

“I Know The End,” originally began as a totally different song, and in the way it is presented here, it kind of like three separate songs connected thematically, or, one piece with three very distinct movements. 

The first part, at one time a song called, “I Know,”9 is the most somber and heartbreaking, with lyrics that directly refer back to the vivid, metaphorical imagery of “Moon Song”—“I’m always pushing you away from me, but you come back with gravity. And when I call, you come home, a bird in your teeth,” though here, the roles of who the ‘killer’ is are reversed, and right before these lines is one of the most evocative in terms of its ability to conjure, seemingly effortlessly and incredibly gracefully, some of the the most vivid imagery from the record: “Out in the park, we watch the sunset, talking on a rusty swing set. After a while, you went quiet—and I got mean.”

There’s also something almost indescribably devastating and hypnotic about the way Bridgers sings the chorus, and the way her words fall into the melody, especially when she arrives at it the second time, and includes a little bit of a Wizard of Oz analogy that also appears earlier in the song—an element that she explains was more prevalent in an earlier version, that she didn’t remove completely: “So I gotta go, I know, I know, I know. When the sirens sound, you’ll hide under the floor, but I’m not gonna go down with with my hometown in a tornado. I’m gonna chase it…I know, I know, I know.”

As The Wizard of Oz transitions between black and white into color, the song suddenly opens  itself up more a little after two minutes in—the plucked and picked (and heavily effected) guitar turns into strums, the rhythm shifts direction and pacing, and you can even hear birds chirping in the background for a brief moment as the elements of the second ‘movement’ or part begin tumbling together.

Bridgers pushes herself (and the narrative of the song) out of the darkness and tornadic metaphor and onto the Los Angeles freeway, and as more instrumentation begins to find its way in and starts building towards its explosive peak, she paints a fast moving portrait of the sun beating down on sprawling, contemporary American iconography, juxtaposed with her empty handed search for god. 

And as she did earlier, connecting specific phrases between two songs, just before the third and final part to “I Know The End,” Bridgers returns to the idea of ghosts, and haunted houses10 within what is an incredibly cathartic, though difficult to hear, moment for the song, and perhaps the final ‘release’ from all the emotion within the album, beginning to end: “I’ll find a new place to be from—a haunted house with a picket fence; to float around and ghost my friends. No, I’m not afraid to disappear. The billboard said ‘The End is Near.’ I turned around, there was nothing there. Yeah, I guess the end is here.”

And it’s here that the song takes a sharp, hard turn into heavy metal territory, kind of as a joke, kind of in earnest, as a literal chorus of guest vocalists scream along until the end, as the song, musically, begins to crumble down around them, complete with distorted guitar theatrics and a pummeling double bass drum. The last thing you hear, though, after the music ends, is Bridgers herself, barely able to keep a straight face while she’s doing it, screaming in an exaggerated, hoarse, whisper. 


The thing about Punisher is this—it didn’t have to be this good, this intelligent, or this dense in how layered it is. But it is. Even when it falters slightly at times, this is an album, from start to finish, that is truly something to behold.

Obviously written and recorded prior to the terribly uncertain and volatile times that we live in now, it is, surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) a stark commentary on being alive in the year 2020—concluding with no easy answers, but arriving at something I think we all have maybe felt at least once in the last 100 days: The End Is Here.

When I hear a record that is this good and this impactful, I think about this quote from David Foster Wallace11 about fiction: 

If you operate, which most of us do, from the premise that there are things about the contemporary U.S. that make it distinctly hard to be a real human being, then maybe half of fiction’s job is to dramatize what makes it tough. The other half is to dramatize that we are still human beings, now…I just think that fiction that isn’t exploring what it means to be human today isn’t good art.”

If good fiction is about what it “means to be a fucking human being,” the job of any good art, like music, you could argue, is to do the same thing. Punisher, in the end, is a a reflection on the current human condition—where sadness, longing, love, confusion, and even humor, among other things, all collide into something difficult and beautiful. Punisher is a not a ‘difficult’ album in the sense that it is inaccessible or keeps its listeners at an arm’s length; but it’s a ‘difficult’ album in the the sense that it might bring up emotions you may not be ready to, or simply might not want to face head on. If you’re like me, there are times when you are listening that you may, by the end, find yourself a sobbing heap on the floor—but Bridgers has constructed a record so thoughtful, and so beautiful in its honest, poetic reflections—that it is completely worth the pain it may cause. 

1- Two things here: the first of which is that what I wound up buying was a special edition of the album, in purple vinyl, pressed as an exclusive to Turntable Lab. Because of what I commonly refer to as ‘peak vinyl,’ there was an issue with the pressing, and the way the center spindle hole was drilled, which caused tension in the record as it spun on the turntable and it, still, on occasion, plays at the wrong speed. Secondly, and this is supposed to be a joke, but for the longest time, my wife would chide her co-workers at her former job for saying they needed to print something on ‘colored paper,’ and she’d say, ‘please, use the phrase paper of color instead.’ I am uncertain if this joke is still funny, or appropriate now, but I do still catch myself saying ‘vinyl of color.’

2- I think this is probably one of the last things I bought off of Amazon because I grew tired of supporting Jeff Bezos—specifically the way he treats the employees in the warehouses. 

3- Shout out to Andrea who, if is reading this, reads until the end, for the footnotes. 

4- This is a real problem I have, and I used to have it a lot more in college, but also it happened at work with one specific person I used to work with a number of years ago, who always thought something was wrong with me, but, like….that’s just my face, you know?

5- What I mean by this is, like, back when the Arcade Fire was a good band. Probably stopping either right after The Suburbs, or like around the time of Reflektor, which is when things dramatically began to shift for them, sonically speaking.

6- This is, of course, probably super well known at this point, but Bridgers’ debut 7” single/EP/whatever was produced by Ryan Adams and released via his PaxAm label. Their tumultuous relationship was well documented in her song “Motion Sickness,” as well as in the New York Times story from February of 2019, where Adams was officially outed for his abusive and predatory behavior with women.

7- This expression is pulled directly from my friend Renee, who was a guest on the third season of my podcast. 

8- Uncertain why I had tagged this phrase as something that needed a footnote. Fun fact, I bold the text of things that I want to write footnotes for, and then go back through at the end and tack them on. There have been a handful of times where I totally forget what I wanted to mention though. I think here it may have been something about either a) this statement being kind of open ended as to who, in Bridgers’ life, she’s talking about, and possibly b) my depression has made things unbearably frustrating for my wife, so I understand. 

9- This is just a quick point of clarification: the way the lyrics are annotated on Genius make it seem like she had taken a song called “I Know,” and re-worked it. But maybe I’m reading that incorrectly. 

10- Maybe it is true with the CD edition (uncertain) but the vinyl pressing of Punisher I bought came with a separate card stock sheet, outside of the sealed record, that had a bunch of lyrics from the record printed on it on one side, then on the other side, a short story written by Carmen Maria Machado, based around lyrics and ideas from the record—the conceit of the story was that Bridgers lives in a haunted house. 

11- I’ve used this quote before, I’m sure, when writing about music, and I’m sorry to keep bringing up David Foster Wallace because he was abusive toward Mary Karr during their brief relationship in the early 1990s, and was also problematic in a number of other ways before he died in 2008. But I am a toxic white man, and I continue to think highly of his work.