Phoebe Bridgers grew up in the rose-colored city of Pasadena, attending the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts to study music. Heavily influenced by Elliott Smith’s sparse lyrics and subdued emotional style—in addition to that of her other favored singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen—her first single “Killer” (produced by Ryan Adams) was released in 2015.
Her debut album Stranger In The Alps was released in 2017 via Dead Oceans and featured appearances by Conor Oberst and John Doe; in 2018, she released an EP with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus as the indie supergroup boygenius.
(Photo Credit: Lera Pentelute)
In place of a more traditional year-end best-of list, Talkhouse has asked some of our favorite artists to choose their favorite album of 2018 and tell us all about it.
—The Talkhouse Team
My favorite album was the Mitski album—is the Mitski album—and that’s because my favorite song of the year is “Two Slow Dancers.” It’s one of those songs where halfway through it for the first time, I was like, “I’m gonna listen to this 800 times in a row!” It totally floored me. My tour manager in the UK is this man named Jeroen, who’s a very tall Dutch man with a really low voice. He’s like a giant teddy bear, but he’s a very intense character. He made me play it in the van, like, 45 times in a row, and we sang it together. His voice is like two octaves lower than mine, but we were driving on tour singing that song—and the whole record.
I knew right away that it was going to be one of those forever songs that I’ll have on the movie playlist of my life. I think it’s because it’s very ambiguous, a lot of the lyrics, and yet hyperspecific. I did a mini DJ set for the Green Man Festival radio station, and Lindsey from Snail Mail had played the exact song when they asked what her favorite song was, just the day before. It’s funny because we always get compared because of our hair. And gender. [Laughs.] We’re the same person!
Mitski makes very very weird choices, or choices that wouldn’t be second nature to a lot of people, but so confidently. Like that performance on a radio station recently where she’s singing a capella and snapping. If I had that idea, it’d immediately get deleted from my brain. I’m so self-conscious. She’s really confident in her strange choices, which is my favorite thing. And that’s also why it’s so great to have this straight-to-the-bloodstream ballad like “Two Slow Dances.” A lot of my brain is like “What would Mitski do right now?” It’s infectious and so great.
As told to Josh Modell.
(Photo Credit: left, Lera Pentelute)