Phoebe Bridgers – “Kyoto”

It’s been a little over a month since Phoebe Bridgers released “Garden Song,” the first single from her upcoming sophomore album, and a lot has happened in Phoebeland (and the real world) since then. For Bridgers in particular, she’s guested on a Hayley Williams song alongside her Boygenius comrades (Williams covered a song of hers earlier this week), she’s covered her Better Oblivion Community Center bandmate Conor Oberst, and she’s guested on a song by the 1975.

Bridgers is not slowing down! Today, she’s confirming details on that new album: It’s called Punisher — hence the skeleton T-shirt she’s been wearing in promo imagery, including the album cover above. It’s out in June. It’s produced by Bridgers with Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, the same team behind her 2017 debut Stranger In The Alps. Lots of guest vocalists appear, including Oberst on “Halloween” and boygenius bandmates Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker on “Graceland Too.” All three of them plus Nick Zinner, Blake Mills, and Christian Lee Hutson appear on album closer “I Know The End.”

In addition to today’s Punisher announcement, Bridgers is putting out the album’s second single, “Kyoto,” which centers around a day off from tour in Japan. It’s all tense and locked-in on the verses and takes flight in the chorus, with horns by Bright Eyes’ Nathaniel Walcott and Bridgers belting the hell out of lines lie “I don’t forgive you/ But please don’t hold me to it.” There’s some characteristically great little details in those verses, including a bit about a payphone that kills me: “You called me from a payphone, they still have payphones/ It cost a dollar a minute to tell me that you’re sober and you wrote me a letter but I don’t have to read it.” Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg plays on this track as well as “ICU.”

Bridgers will perform “Kyoto” from her bathroom on tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Here’s what she wrote about the song in a press release:

This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.

“Kyoto” comes with a music video directed by Nina Ljeti that has Bridgers and her bandmates greenscreened on top of some Japanese iconography. Originally it was supposed to be shot on location in Japan last month, but the trip was cancelled for obvious reasons. Watch and listen below.

TRACKLIST:
01 “DVD Menu”
02 “Garden Song”
03 “Kyoto”
04 “Punisher”
05 “Halloween”
06 “Chinese Satellite”
07 “Moon Song”
08 “Savior Complex”
09 “ICU”
10 “Graceland Too”
11 “I Know The End”

Punisher is out 6/19 via Dead Oceans. Pre-order it here.

CREDIT: Frank Ockenfels