Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Music & Theatre
20 February 2019updated 23 Jul 2021 10:46am

If you don’t already know Phoebe Bridgers’s music, get to know it

Bridgers finds herself at the centre of a #MeToo moment in music. Now is the time to celebrate this tremendously accomplished musician for her work.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Phoebe Bridgers was relatively unknown when she released her debut album in 2017. But her diaristic songwriting, effortless falsetto and atmospheric arrangements quickly earned her strong reviews and a devoted audience. Her profile has steadily risen.

Now, she finds herself at the centre of a #MeToo revelation in music: she is one of several women to accuse musician Ryan Adams of emotional abuse – which he denies. Their testimony, documented in the New York Times, alleges Adams offered professional support to young female musicians before starting sexual relationships with them, before later turning abusive and rescinding his help. One claims she was 14 when Adams started messaging her online and that their correspondence “put me off” music forever. “How many women stopped working in music because of… coercive men?” Pitchfork asked. “And how much great music did we lose in turn?”

Bridgers is a tremendously accomplished musician. Stranger in the Alps opens with three deft, subtle tracks: the melancholy “Smoke Signals”, with references to Bowie, the Smiths and Motörhead, ends with the wavering line, “I am a concrete wall”. “Motion Sickness”, the album’s most dynamic track, details her relationship with Adams. Packed with devastating, funny lyrics (“Why do you sing in an English accent?/I guess it’s too late to change it now”; “You were in a band when I was born”), the track’s undulating melodies are like a pleasurable but nauseating rollercoaster. “Funeral” delicately captures the dull monotony of depression. She has also released two collaborative records, the gem of which is boygenius’s “Me and My Dog”, written and mostly performed by Bridgers. If you’re not familiar with her work, get to know it now. Be glad that it made it out. 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
Supporting customers through the cost of living crisis
Data on cloud will change the way you interact with the government
Defining a Kodak culture for the future

This article appears in the 20 Feb 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The last days of Islamic State