PHOEBE BRIDGERS HITS THE SADDEST CHORD EVER ON “SAVIOR COMPLEX”
After three explosive singles, Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore album, Punisher, has arrived! In response to the world’s collective looking-in-the-mirror regarding racism, many artists have chosen to wait until things return to “normal” to release music. But what is “normal” really? Does “normal” look like waiting until the hype dies down? Isn’t “normal” reverting back to the same systems that we’re actively fighting against? Aware of this, Bridgers has chosen to release her album a day early and summed it up in tweet:
I’m not pushing the record until things go back to “normal” because I don’t think they should. Here it is a little early. Abolish the police. Hope you like it.https://t.co/vmwERN0SOm
— traitor joe (@phoebe_bridgers) June 18, 2020
Punisher is GORGEOUS. With a rockstar cast of some of my favorite musicians including Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Christian Lee Hutson, Blake Mills, Conor Oberst, Rob Moose, and Marshall Vore, the album features cinematic orchestral arrangements. Those lush tracks support Bridgers’ powerful voice and often dark, but beautiful lyrics. As a Berklee College of Music graduate myself, (*pats self on back while simultaneously being filled with just a little bit of regret for getting a degree in songwriting*), this is the kind of album that reminds me why I even like music. It’s got the harmony, the arrangements, the lyrics, and both meets and defies all of my expectations, making it so satisfying and surprising.
PHOEBE BRIDGERS - SAVIOR COMPLEX
On “Savior Complex,” Phoebe Bridgers hits the textbook definition “saddest chord in the entire world” (if you know you know; if you don’t know- it’s what gives this song that really heartbreaking, nostalgic sound). The song is sonically super romantic, but the lyrics tell a different story. The sequel to “Moon Song,” “Savior Complex'' expands on describing the difficulty of loving someone who doesn’t love themself. It’s about trying to break down the walls of someone extremely guarded, and the realization that others have tried and failed. We all have *that friend* (maybe it’s you) who tries to fix people. It’s not something that you can tell them to stop doing, rather something they must realize on their own. “Savior Complex” is the sound of someone arriving at that wake up call. In an interview with Stereogum, Bridgers revealed that the melody came to her in a dream. Apologies in advance for the upcoming music theory nerd comment, but the song doesn’t resolve at the end. Instead of getting the classic satisfaction of going to one, we hang out on an unstable pitch until the strings fade out. Maybe I’m reading into this, but it kind of seems like this is a way of saying that there isn’t a happy ending to this story?
Anyway, go listen to Punisher. Bridgers has asked people to donate before listening, so click here to view the various organizations she’s supporting in continuing the conversation and fight against racism. I had to pick just one song to focus on in this post, but all of them are really, really incredible. The whole thing is just really good; I don’t know how else to say it!
Arielle Tindel is from Cleveland, Ohio. She recently graduated from Berklee College of Music with degrees in Music Business Marketing and Songwriting. In her free time, Arielle can be found gardening or playing bass.