Song of the Day #4,541: ‘Kyoto’ – Phoebe Bridgers

New York Times music critic Lindsay Zoladz placed Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters in her #1 spot, but her second best album of 2020 belongs to another fiercely independent female indie artist: Phoebe Bridgers.

Bridgers broke out this year with her sophomore album, Punisher, earning Grammy nods for Best Alternative Album, Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Rong (the latter two for ‘Kyoto,’ today’s SOTD). The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter previously earned a cult following for her evocative, and deeply melancholy, folk rock.

Bridgers came to my attention following the Ryan Adams harassment scandal. She was one of the artists who accused him of emotional abuse, including threats to derail her career if she didn’t continue a romantic relationship.

Fortunately, she overcame that ugly setback, has released two excellent albums, and appears well on her way to a successful long-term career.

Bridgers’ music is right up my alley. Her sad songs, acoustic with a hint of electric, and pretty soprano vocals remind me of one of my favorites, Aimee Mann. She is an excellent lyricist, too, spinning straight-forward observations into resonant poetry.

‘Kyoto’ is atypically upbeat compared to the rest of this album, but I love it too much not to feature it today.

[Verse 1]
Day off in Kyoto
Got bored at the temple
Looked around at the 7-Eleven
The band took the speed train
Went to the arcade
I wanted to go, but I didn’t
You called me from a payphone
They still got payphones
It cost a dollar a minute
To tell me you’re getting sober
And you wrote me a letter
But I don’t have to read it

[Chorus]
I’m gonna kill you
If you don’t beat me to it
Dreaming through Tokyo skies
I wanted to see the world
Then I flew over the ocean
And I changed my mind (Woo)

[Verse 2]
Sunset’s been a freak show
On the weekend, so
I’ve been driving out to the suburbs
To park at the Goodwill
And stare at the chem trails
With my little brother
He said you called on his birthday
You were off by like ten days
But you get a few points for tryin’
Remember getting the truck fixed
When you let us drive it
Twenty-five felt like flying

[Chorus]
I don’t forgive you
But please don’t hold me to it
Born under Scorpio skies
I wanted to see the world
Through your eyes until it happened
Then I changed my mind

[Outro]
Guess I lied
I’m a liar
Who lies
‘Cause I’m a liar

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,541: ‘Kyoto’ – Phoebe Bridgers

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    She has not been on my radar at all, but I like her sound.

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