Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps
Stranger in the Alps
Stranger in the Alps is an album about the small things, those little moments, the small gestures that propel intimacy. She digs so deep and get so specific setting up scenes so perfectly that you are transported inside her mind. L.A. singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers opens the album with "Smoke Signals" a haunting song about coming to terms with ones position in the world and trying to navigate life with someone else. It feels like the thoughts of someone who has lived a life of quiet despair which makes it all the more shocking when you learn she's only 23. There is not a great deal of surprising music on the record, pretty simple arrangements and instrumentation but it is the execution and lyrics that cut straight to the core of you. Her album plays out like a diary, checking in day after day but instead of monotonous trips to the store of inane observations she mines pure gold digging deep into her emotions and then laying them out with this incredible emotional knowledge. It feels at times like stream of consciousness style of song writing but the specifics are too perfect and the conclusions can only come from thinking about this stuff deeply. If Indie Music is not your thing than this album is going to be a tough one to get into, but if you suspend those prejudges against the genre for a moment you'll find such warmth and realness here. While listening I kept hearing Brand New's song "Play Crack the Sky" over and over in my head which is a super specific song about a shipwreck but also emotionally charged and it really fits within Phoebe Bridgers' style.
On "Scott Street" when she asks a man about what it's like to play drums and He just says "It's too much shit to carry" it's really all of us burdened with our baggage. Bridgers doesn't propose a way out of this, and really how could she, this is a song about the human condition and what being alive is really like. On "Demi Moore" Bridgers goes from getting high and taking nude pictures feeling confident in her decisions to feeling alone and vulnerable at the end, left by herself with only a screen. There are times where what Bridgers is saying is super heavy, and she often takes big swings with her lyrics but she manages to make it work every time. Because the album is never sappy it never feels like too much just the right amount of singing out the pain. Vivid and direct, haunting and stirring Stranger in the Alps is really an amazing triumph for this young artist. It's an album you have to go back to, you must dive back in because she is really saying something important that you just cannot miss.
9.0 out of 10