Follow TV Tropes


Music / Phoebe Bridgers

Go To
She wanted to see the world before she flew over the ocean.

"I want to be the power ballad
that lifts you up and holds you down.
I want to be the broken love song
that feeds your misery."
"Waiting Room"

Phoebe Lucille Bridgers (born August 17, 1994) is an American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California.

Known for making both indie folk and indie rock music, she has to date released two solo albums, Stranger in the Alps and Punisher. In addition to her solo work, she has released records as part of two side-projects: boygenius with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, and Better Oblivion Community Center with Conor Oberst.

Not to be confused with Phoebe Waller-Bridge — who, to confuse matters further, directed one of Bridgers' music videos.


  • Stranger in the Alps (2017)
  • boygenius (2018) (EP, with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, as boygenius)
    • Better Oblivion Community Center (2019) (with Conor Oberst)
  • Punisher (2020)
  • the record (2023) (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, as boygenius)
  • the rest (2023) (EP, with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, as boygenius)

As actress


Stranger in the Tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Her cover song "You Missed My Heart" deals with a double murderer painted in a sympathetic light.
  • Album Closure: Punisher concludes with "I Know the End." It's the longest song on the album by over a minute and shifts into pseudo-Heavy Metal for the outro, which is about the apocalypse.
  • Ate Her Gun: The line "You're the gun in my lips that will blow my brains out" from the emotionally-raw "Waiting Room" which she wrote in high school.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: The boygenius Concept Video the film leads up to one between all three members.
  • Book Ends: On Punisher, the melody for the outro of the final track "I Know the End" is reminiscent of the melody of the first track on it, "DVD Menu", bringing the album full circle. In addition, on Stranger in the Alps, the opening track is "Smoke Signals", and the closing track is "Smoke Signals (Reprise)" which is a short ~30 second track of Phoebe humming over the melody to "Smoke Signals."
  • Call-Back:
    • The opening lyrics to "Halloween" reference Phoebe's verse in "Souvenir" from the boygenius EP:
      Always manage to move in
      Right next to cemeteries,
      And never far from a hospital
      I don't know what that tells you about me
      I hate living by the hospital
    • A few years later, "Emily, I'm Sorry" on boygenius' the record nods back to "ICU" from Punisher. To which Lucy Dacus gives an Answer Song in the very next song on the same album.
      I don't know what I want
      Until I fuck it up
      I'm 27 and I don't know who I am
      But I know what I want
      Emily, I'm Sorry
      When you don't know who you are
      You fuck around and find out
      True Blue
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • "I Know the End" end with Phoebe and a choir of voices including herself, Conor Oberst and Julien Baker yelling during the final minute of the song.
    • The screech of "May I please have twenty dollars?" off the boygenius track "$20".
  • Celebrity Song:
    • While never mentioned in the actual lyrics, she has stated that she wrote the song "Punisher" as a tribute to Elliott Smith, someone she has cited as a major inspiration.
    • Similarly, "Chelsea" is written from the point-of-view of Nancy Spungen, reflecting on her toxic relationship (and possible murder) with Sid Vicious; the title of the song coming from the Chelsea Hotel where she died.
  • Chroma Key: Used in the video for "Kyoto".
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: Her first album Stranger in the Alps is named after a line from The Big Lebowski ("Son, this is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!") which was bowdlerised for TV as "...find a stranger in the alps!". The movie takes place almost entirely in Pasadena, CA, where Phoebe grew up.
  • Disposing of a Body: Implied in "Garden Song", where she suspiciously plants a garden after her skinhead neighbor goes missing, implying she killed him.
  • The Diss Track:
    • "Motion Sickness" serves as one to Ryan Adams, who she alleged abused her while they were in a relationship.
    • She also includes a dig at Eric Clapton in "Moon Song" (mainly due to her belief that he is "a famous racist"):
      We hate "Tears in Heaven"
      But it's sad that his baby died.
  • Erotic Dream: "Garden Song" describes a weird dream that turns sexy at the end, though the speaker wakes up before the sex completes.
  • Grief Song: "Funeral".
  • Iconic Outfit: Most of the promotional material for the Punisher era has Phoebe in a skeleton costume.
  • Inaction Video: The video for the boygenius track "Emily, I'm Sorry" is almost entirely made up of Phoebe standing still and singing the song in front of a monster-truck rally.
  • Location Song:
    • "Kyoto" references the first time that Phoebe went to Japan.
    • Played with in "I Know The End", implying that touring the world makes everything look the same.
    Somewhere in Germany, but I can't place it
    Man, I hate this part of Texas
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Most of her songs are pretty sad, even her more upbeat ones. "Kyoto" in particular is an uptempo rock song about imposter syndrome, feeling lost while on tour, and her difficult relationship with her father.
  • Lyric Swap: She loves this trope to the point where it would be easier to list songs where the chorus doesn't change more or less subtly with each iteration.
  • Mascot: The painted ghosts for the Stranger in the Alps album era.
  • Mondegreen Gag: "Demi Moore" isn't a Celebrity Song; someone misheard the chorus "I don't wanna be stoned anymore" as "I don't wanna be stoned Demi Moore" and Phoebe decided to keep that as the title.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: The music video for "I Know the End" begins with a scene of Phoebe sitting in a large bathtub or hot tub full of water while wearing a skeleton costume.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: She uses this in many of her songs, though less so in the more uptempo tracks (and, of course, this trope is entirely absent from that Careful with That Axe closing section to "I Know the End", and famously in "Me And My Dog").
    Who cares if I hit the notes the real question is did I have fun.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "Smoke Signals", "Georgia" and "ICU", as well as the boygenius track "Revolution 0".
    • Her website is "".
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: She smashed her guitar at the end of her performance of "I Know The End" on Saturday Night Live.
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: She does this at the beginning of her live performance for "Late Night with Seth Meyers".
  • Skeleton Motif: She wears a skeleton suit in many of her performances, her music videos, and her "Punisher" album art. She even arrived at the 2021 Grammys in a black dress with a jewel-encrusted skeleton pattern from top to bottom.
  • Supergroup: boygenius (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus), and Better Oblivion Community Center. (with Conor Oberst)
  • Textless Album Cover: Punisher
  • That Liar Lies:
    • "Kyoto" ends with a memorable version of this.
    Guess I lied / I'm a liar / Who lies / Cause I'm a liar
    • "Emily, I'm Sorry"
    When I pointed out where the North Star is, she called me a fucking liar
  • Voluntary Vampire Victim: In "Savior Complex":
    Baby, you're a vampire
    You want blood and I promised

"No, I'm not afraid to disappear
The billboard said, "The end is near"
I turned around, there was nothing there
Yeah, I guess the end is here."


Video Example(s):


Emily, I'm Sorry

The video for the boygenius track "Emily, I'm Sorry" is almost entirely made up of Phoebe Bridgers standing still and singing the song in front of a monster-truck rally.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / InactionVideo

Media sources: