Phoebe Bridgers
If We Make It Through December


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 27th, 2020 | 56 replies


Release Date: 11/23/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All is calm, but not everything is bright.

There’s a spiritual element to the holiday season that goes beyond the obvious religious implications. Even within the secular modernity of it all, there’s a palpable energy harnessed through communal traditions. While most of this energy is well-meaning and benevolent, there’s also a dark side that we too often fail to acknowledge. A blatant example is the sort of commercial greed and materialism which results in someone getting trampled for the “hot item” of the year. The holiday season can also be a moment of dread for many folks because they can’t afford canned vegetables for their family, let alone a plump turkey or lavish gifts. Others fear being home from school or work because it means facing an abusive parent or spouse for an extended period of time with no means of escape. So no, the “holiday spirit” isn’t just that warm, fuzzy feeling you get while sipping hot cocoa and decorating your tree. Behind all of the carols and dazzling lights, there’s a lot of pain and suffering that comes with the holidays.

Phoebe Bridgers’ first holiday compilation captures that. It’s a spooky little EP, where routine covers like ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ are belied by ghostly humming and spectral acoustics, while other selections – such as the title track (a cover of Merle Haggard’s 1973 classic) or Phoebe’s re-imagining of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘7 O’Clock News/Silent Night’ – are downright depressing. The former is strikingly relevant today, singing of unemployment and shattered Christmas dreams: “Got laid off at the factory” / “…And my little girl don't understand why we can't afford no Christmas here.” On the latter, Bridgers is joined by Fiona Apple in singing ‘Silent Night’ while The National’s Matt Berninger reads several news headlines, including Trump’s impeachment hearings, abortion law in Louisiana, the Sackler family, police officer Amber Geiger, and the first all-female spacewalk (for improved context, the cover was released as a single in 2019). The closest the EP comes to breaking free from its own eerie fog is ‘Christmas Song’, where Phoebe teams up with Jackson Browne for a gorgeous duet, but even then the content remains somber: “You don't have to be alone to be lonesome…The sadness comes crashin' like a brick through the window, and it's Christmas so no one can fix it.” In short, If We Make It Through December isn’t your typical collection of cheerful holiday jams. It captures a lot of negative emotions, from isolation to unemployment to political divides. The uncomfortable truth is that all of these things are just as much a part of Christmas as the snowmen and candy canes. It’s just the darker side that we sweep under the rug, as we put on masks and act like everything is fine.



s
Recent reviews by this author
Greta Van Fleet The Battle at Garden's GateSheep, Dog and Wolf Two Minds
Kishi Bashi Emigrant Domestic Terminal I Could See Midnight Sky
Leon III Antlers in VelvetCloud Nothings The Shadow I Remember
user ratings (66)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
November 27th 2020


37203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Phoebe Bridgers releases a Christmas EP. ~ the weary world rejoices ~

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks Of God

Colton
November 27th 2020


9153 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Johnny didn’t believe this exists when I told him can you believe that



Also yay for christmas music positivity, people hate on it too much although I imagine removing the cheery celebratory component might help with that

Feather
November 27th 2020


6718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woah quick find and write-up, thanks for tossing this on my radar! Great review and digging the ep so far... a bit negative for me though for the holidays, but I suppose that is the entire point after all.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 27th 2020


37203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Yeah I prefer happier holiday music too but this is a nice change of pace. The EP is actually just each of the Christmas singles she's released annually since 2017, including this year's ('If We Make It Through December'), which she just released a few days ago.

NorthernSkylark
November 27th 2020


11072 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Feat. Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger



Weird. Nice.

Digging: Lucio Battisti - Anima latina

Feather
November 27th 2020


6718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@sowing ahhh I see. I always welcome artists compiling their singles and releasing them in a format like this. Makes it a lot more easy to find and listen to. Most recent good example I can think of is The World is a Beautiful Place taking all their little eps and singles and compacting them into a large compilation album.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 27th 2020


37203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@NorthernSkylark: I have been listening to that song since it dropped in Dec 2019 and only just recently realized that those two were featured lol.



@Feather: Yeah it makes sense I guess. Better to put it all in one place than to expect people to hunt down scattered/sporadic singles.

EoinCofa
November 27th 2020


586 Comments


Hard to recognize her without her skeleton jammies

Digging: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - New Fragility

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2020


45003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

If We Make It Through December is pretty damn good



this is a more consistent release than Punisher lol weird

Digging: Brockhampton - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine

Fort23
November 28th 2020


3764 Comments


Damn back to back staff reviews of the same girl I’ve never heard of her in my life

parksungjoon
November 28th 2020


29679 Comments


you should have come back earlier in the year, she had another release lol

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

Fort23
November 28th 2020


3764 Comments


I mean this sounds cool I like Christmas and I like being depressed is she hot

zaruyache
November 28th 2020


23804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

she pretty

Slex
November 28th 2020


11018 Comments


No band/artist will EVER release a Christmas song as good as It's Christmas So We'll Stop but I really like this

Digging: The Armed - Ultrapop

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2020


45003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

might I suggest In Excelsis Deo by There Will be Fireworks. especially the live cut with the better production

JayEnder
November 28th 2020


9677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn she's been busy lately

Digging: Balance and Composure - Separation

Slex
November 28th 2020


11018 Comments


Shit Rowan I haven't heard that and I worship TDDB so I will listen asap

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2020


45003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

this is the version slexbro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9htrhVyuC0



it's their best song imo, but the production on the EP it's on is absolutely atrocious so I just watch that instead

Slex
November 28th 2020


11018 Comments


Has to be better than this Coletta tripe, throwing it on now

Edit: weirdly enough the guitar sounds surprisingly similar to It's Christmas So We'll Stop in a lot of places lol
But anyways yeah that was amazing and that The Good Days reference made me emotional

twlichty
November 28th 2020


4706 Comments


Wait what?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy