Phoebe Bridgers
Stranger In The Alps


4.2
excellent

Review

by ATARI STAFF
October 1st, 2017 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Long before I reach 100, I'll have fallen to the ground

The engine of a plane roars in the distance. Another death is in the air...

Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t beat around the bush on her debut effort, Stranger in the Alps. It’s an album about coming to terms with death and depression, which she makes immediately evident in her blunt lyricism. On “Funeral”, she croons Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time/And that’s just how I feel/Always have, and always will. Clearly not hallmark card material, but Phoebe Bridgers’ lyrics are a huge part of what makes Stranger in the Alps so special. You don’t have to go out of your way to decipher them: they’re laid completely bare – practically staring you down. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that her intoxicating voice filters the depressing subject matter down to something much more beautiful and serene. Part Julien Baker and part Elliott Smith, her style is the perfect fit for the dark themes at hand.

Stranger in the Alps is constantly stirring up feelings we can all relate to. It’s in the little things: the sound of a plane taking off in the distant background; the occasional strings and gentle piano melodies; a train boarding amidst the singer’s hazy aura. As Bridgers travels through these very real-life themes, she often goes for the jugular. On opener “Smoke Signals”, she tackles the deaths of David Bowie and Lemmy with such genuine character it seems to convey many of our intangible emotions: It’s been on my mind since Bowie died/Just checking out to hide from life.

Going forward, things get much more personal for the indie-folk songwriter, but no less interesting. On “Killer”, she makes a stark request: When a machine keeps me alive, and I’m losing all my hair, I hope you kiss my rotten head and pull the plug. Now that I’ve burned every playlist, I’ve given all my love. This depiction -- of being unafraid to leave the world from a life well-lived -- is the kind of passionate hard-hitter that makes you question your own life. I know I’m not ready to go yet, but Bridger’s lyrics just make me feel selfish and small.

As Stranger in the Alps comes to a close with the reflective “You Missed My Heart” and twangy “Smoke Signals (Reprise)”, you’ll likely be feeling quite small as well. Phoebe Bridger’s ability to transcend our own thoughts is her greatest weapon. On album highlight, “Scott Street”, she waxes poetic on the common struggle we all face to just get through each day: I’ve got a stack of mail and a tall can/It’s a shower beer, it’s a payment plan. Whether she’s touching on the impact of losing a legend like Bowie or battling her own demons, Strangers in the Alps is a vibrant and rare debut that’s not afraid to tell it how it is.




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user ratings (73)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ATARI
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


22827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I'll have to post some links later since I'm on the run, but this is some of the best indie-folk/singer-songwriter I've heard this year.



Feedback appreciated, I'll make any necessary edits when I can! Album's all about the lyrics, but also sounds fantastic :]

Digging: Amy Shark - Night Thinker

NorwichScene
October 1st 2017


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Excellent album, agreed

treos777
October 1st 2017


269 Comments


such a good album "Smoke Signals" is one of my favourite songs of the year

NorwichScene
October 1st 2017


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Georgia live is better than the album version imo..

https://youtu.be/cy0kOtXaUSI

FreddieDelaney31
October 1st 2017


3378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well fuck, excited to listen to this

Class review as always

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday

Feather
October 1st 2017


3983 Comments


I'm intrigued. I'll check this tomorrow

Taxt
October 1st 2017


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to see this get a review. Great record, the closer is amazing.

Dewinged
October 1st 2017


7025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I added her to the db days ago, so happy you reviewed this Atari, nicely done man.



Haunting and beautiful album.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

BlushfulHippocrene
October 1st 2017


2065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dew rec'd this not too long ago! Fantastic work, Atari, beautifully written as always.

FreddieDelaney31
October 1st 2017


3378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2ND half is tremendously better than the first

ATARI
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


22827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

cheers y'all. Nice to see more people jumping on this already. I couldn't help but post her lyrics in every paragraph, haha.



@Dewinged: not gonna lie, your rating in addition to the artwork is the first thing that got me interested in this album. this and Nadia Reid are getting a lot of playtime lately



"2ND half is tremendously better than the first"



not sure I agree unless you're including Scott Street in the second half ;] but glad you enjoyed it, man!





FreddieDelaney31
October 1st 2017


3378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, Opener, Funeral, and Scott Street are 3 of the better here

Georgia is definitely best song tho imo

Fieryfenderz
October 1st 2017


1918 Comments


Wait, is the title a reference to the edited Big Lebowski? If so I'll love this even if it sounds like trash, which it doesn't seem to from the preview.

Dewinged
October 1st 2017


7025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tx Atari, it was a pleasant surprise on first listen indeed. It can definitely be a grower.



Blush rec'd me Des Ark after I rec'd him this and gotta say, you might dig it as much as this. "Everything Dies" is the album I checked. It has some wrecking song titles such as "You pregnant m*******er" or "French Fries are magical" (:





ATARI
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


22827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

haha.. sweet, I'll give that a shot!



also, I just checked the live versions of Georgia and Smoke Signals on youtube, and damn, she really is outstanding live

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2017


55389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am very excited for this

Digging: Dad Thighs - The Ghosts That I Fear

Dewinged
October 2nd 2017


7025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holy hells, that live version of Georgia, what a power house.

Aerisavion
October 2nd 2017


1278 Comments


Love the album cover.

Lucid
October 2nd 2017


8800 Comments


Motion Sickness is great, wish the record had more songs like that

Gyromania
October 2nd 2017


23757 Comments


Definitely not a 4. 3.9 for sure



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