The National’s Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers are both masters of the art of the duet. Unsurprisingly, they also work spectacularly well together, though it certainly helps to have a bunch of other talented people working behind the scenes.
“Walking On A String,” Berninger and Bridgers’ new song together, boasts many such collaborators. There is Between Two Ferns: The Movie director and faithful Stereogum reader Scott Aukerman, who gave Berninger carte blanche to write and record a song for the film. There are Carin Besser (Berninger’s wife, of “Carin At The Liquor Store” fame) and Mike Brewer, with whom he wrote the song. There are Walkmen members Walter Martin and Matt Barrick, who both played on the recording. There are Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, who joined Bridgers in producing it. And with the release of the song’s official video today, there are Chris Sgroi and Berninger’s brother Tom, who built a genuinely captivating visual out of in-studio footage.
(Tom Berninger, you may recall, directed the National documentary Mistaken For Strangers. Between Two Ferns star Zach Galifianakis then appeared as Tom in a sadly memory-holed Funny Or Die sketch promoting the doc, opposite Ted Danson as Matt.)
Anyone who enjoys the National or Phoebe Bridgers will likely consider “Walking On A String” a worthy addition to each respective artist’s catalog. It’s just stunningly lovely, with a grand finale that channels more rock ‘n’ roll power than you may be expecting. Watch the video below.
“Walking On A String” is out now via Dead Oceans.