Phoebe Bridgers has announced details of her eagerly anticipated second solo record ‘Punisher’ (released on 19 June via Dead Oceans and available to pre-order HERE) and shared the video for new single ‘Kyoto’. The album features Phoebe’s band of Marshall Vore, Harrison Whitford, Emily Retsas and Nick White alongside a multitude of special guests including Conor Oberst, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Christian Lee Hutson, Nick Zinner and Nathaniel Walcott. Mike Mogis has mixed the album meaning all three lead members of Bright Eyes are involved.
Written during her first trip to Japan in February last year, the new song’s video was meant to also be shot in the country during Phoebe’s tour dates this year but with those shows cancelled, the video was completed with green screen which adds a fun layer. Phoebe says ‘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.’
Starting life as an emo ballad, the song now has an anthemic ‘Digital Ash’ Bright Eyes meets ‘Boxer’-era The National feel as Phoebe sings about having a day off in Kyoto and getting bored of the temple while her band mates head off to the arcade over deliciously emo-tinged hooks.
Phoebe offers up wry observations on Japanese society (‘You called me from a pay phone, they’ve still got pay phones, it cost a dollar a minute’) before pondering over a loved one’s battle with getting sober and the devastating effect this has on all concerned: ‘I’m gonna kill you if you don’t beat me to it’.
There’s also time for a brass-led breakdown complete with a subtle ‘woo’ as Phoebe recalls driving out to the suburbs to stare at the chemtrails with her little brother and looking back on the actions of this significant other and the way these actions make her doubt herself: ‘I wanted to see the world through your eyes until it happened. Then I changed my mind’; ‘Guess I lied. I’m a liar. Who lies. Cause I’m a liar’.