Phoebe Bridgers On Her Album 'Punisher' : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders Songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has had a big year, but it's also been bittersweet. With four Grammy nominations for work on her acclaimed 2020 album Punisher, Bridgers, like most touring musicians, has been stuck at home. She talks to Sam about her love/hate relationship with touring, how she aims for the universal in the specificity of her lyrics, and her hopes for music—and everyone—in 2021... or whenever the pandemic ends.

Watch the extended video version of this interview: https://youtu.be/nTmW6jr_hd0

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'I Can't Wait To Hate Tour Again': Phoebe Bridgers On Her Breakout Year

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'I Can't Wait To Hate Tour Again': Phoebe Bridgers On Her Breakout Year

'I Can't Wait To Hate Tour Again': Phoebe Bridgers On Her Breakout Year

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/938316518/946492748" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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JORDANA HOCHMAN, BYLINE: So hi, this is Jordana Hochman. And who do I have with me?

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IAN: Give at donate.npr.org/sam. That's donate.npr.org/sam. OK, back to the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey y'all, Sam Sanders here. So usually, I mostly listen to very upbeat, up-tempo, loud music, stuff that makes you run faster and dance harder and, in general, kick it up a notch. But because 2020, I got into music this year that is a lot more chill, you could say even sad. And the sad song I loved the most this year - it was written and performed by Phoebe Bridgers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FUNERAL")

PHOEBE BRIDGERS: (Singing) I have a friend I call when I've bored myself to tears. And we...

SANDERS: This song is called "Funeral," and it's all about Phoebe having to go back to her hometown to sing at the funeral of someone she used to know, someone who overdosed.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FUNERAL")

BRIDGERS: ...(Singing) And last night, I blacked out in my car and I woke up in my childhood bed, wishing I was someone else, feeling sorry for myself when I remembered someone's kid is dead.

SANDERS: That song was first released in 2017 on Phoebe's debut album, "Stranger In The Alps." And in June of this year, Phoebe released another album. It is called "Punisher," and it's full of songs just as beautiful and delicate and emotional as "Funeral."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HALLOWEEN")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) I hate living by the hospital. The sirens go all night. I used to joke that if they woke you up, somebody better be dying...

SANDERS: In 2020, I was not the only one who found solace in Phoebe's work. NPR Music just named "Punisher" their No. 4 best album of the entire year. Phoebe also just snagged four Grammy nominations. So as 2020 comes to a close, I am very, very happy to share my conversation with Phoebe Bridgers on this episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR because her music literally got me through this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HALLOWEEN")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) And we can be anything.

SANDERS: I got to say, I am excited about all of my interviews but rarely nervous about them anymore. But I got to admit, I was a little nervous about this one because, Phoebe, you have been literally the soundtrack to my 2020.

BRIDGERS: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: I'm not kidding...

BRIDGERS: Thank you so much.

SANDERS: ...I'm not kidding. Like, I'm - thank you so much.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: I cannot tell you how many times I have literally been walking through the woods, watching my dog chase deer that she'll never catch, listening to Phoebe Bridgers, and also maybe sometimes crying just a little bit. Thank you for the catharsis.

BRIDGERS: I love that so much. I love that that's my compliment. Like, why I've signed myself up to be like, man, I lost it so hard the other day in my car, and I'm like, thank you, you know? It's great.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it is a really timely year for an album like "Punisher," which deals with themes of boredom and melancholy and sadness and loss. Like, it's a really timely year for that kind of album to come out when we're all having to really sit with those emotions more than usual. I mean, you couldn't have planned it better.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter) Yeah, it seemed like I couldn't have planned it worse, like, in the beginning. I'm glad I wasn't, one, in the middle of making something or in the middle of a tour. But...

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: ...I had literally just finished the record - well, I finished, like, the last music video for the record, like, the day before lockdown, where we were all like, is this real? Is this...

SANDERS: Wow.

BRIDGERS: ...What's happening? And then I finished - or I was going to, the next week, then fly to Japan for tour. Yeah, just - it's been a nightmare. But I think people are answering, like, how are you more accurately this year, which is so rad.

SANDERS: Oh, my God. Yeah.

BRIDGERS: Like, instead of, like, oh my gosh, fine. Everything's great. Like, the answer - now the obligatory answer is, well, you know, everything sucks but (laughter)...

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: ...Yeah.

SANDERS: And on that theme, how are you as this 2020 kind of comes to a close?

BRIDGERS: I am very lucky. I have experienced nothing other than boredom, no personal losses, you know, again, the collective trauma of reading and watching too much news. So I'm doing relatively fine. How are you (laughter)?

SANDERS: You know, I'm good. It's - I actually had been in LA for years and I came back home to Texas around July to be closer to family. And yeah, it's just been, like, six months of not having a permanent address, half my stuff is in storage, a few things are here and just getting used to that uncertainty. Like, I'm 36 years old now. I'm pretty methodical. And, like, this year has been just flux, flux, flux, flux, flux. But you make peace with it, and you're stronger for it, I think. So I'm ultimately fine. Thank you for asking (laughter).

BRIDGERS: Yeah. Yeah, that sounds - it sounds - it reminds me of tour a little bit...

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: ...That feeling of just being, like, in between moves or people who are making big life choices and then are, like, well, I guess it just has to remain kind of half done for...

SANDERS: Half in, half out. Yeah.

BRIDGERS: ...Exactly. Yeah.

SANDERS: How much do you miss tour? Because you've talked about tour and, like, some of the lyrics in the album are alluding to tour life. I can't tell if you love being on tour or hate it or something in between.

BRIDGERS: Yeah. The answer is yes. I...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: ...I tweeted at the very beginning of the pandemic - and I still think about it every day - which is, I can't wait to hate tour again. Actually, I went on, like, a small press trip in New York in February and I was having that kind of, like, welling up, overwhelmed feeling where I was like, oh my, God, like, I'm asking for it again. I'm going to be miserable again. I'm so busy. And I'm - and I - like, I'm the queen of kind of leaving my dopp kit in a hotel room and not realizing it for three days and having my manager, like, ship it to the other - like, just having all your - it takes so much to be a human being in just day-to-day life. But on tour you're like, oh my God, did I...

SANDERS: You're moving your humanness to a new spot every day.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter) Yeah. You're like, did I leave my wallet at the Love's truck stop? Or just it's like mental math every day. And now I'm finding myself really romanticizing that and missing it. So I'm trying to, like, be grateful for this time. But also, I miss tour so much.

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: I would go on the worst tour on Earth right now if I could.

SANDERS: Really?

BRIDGERS: Yeah, if I could snap my fingers. Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Coming up, Phoebe Bridgers on making new music in a very strange year.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: It's a weird time to be a creative, though, because, like, you have more time to create. You have more time to sit down and write songs if you want to. But so often I think what sparks creativity is serendipity...

BRIDGERS: Yes.

SANDERS: ...And chance encounters. And those are just happening less. Like, have you found this year to be more inspiring as a songwriter or less?

BRIDGERS: I think I'm always kind of the same. I think that was slightly...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: ...I think that was disappointing because...

SANDERS: No, it's not. It's fine.

BRIDGERS: ...But because being on tour, you feel like you're having an affair with music, where you're...

SANDERS: Wow.

BRIDGERS: ...You know, you sneak backstage for 20 minutes and you try to hash out a little idea that you had. Or, like, my song "Savior Complex," I wrote in my sleep on accident, like, just the melody. I could never write words in my sleep.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: But I have this - I woke up with this weird melody in my head. And there's something so romantic about that. But, yeah, you do wish you had more time to hash it out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVIOR COMPLEX")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) Emotional affair, overly sincere. Smoking in the car...

And then, like, every other person on Earth who makes stuff with their brain, at the beginning of COVID, I was like, can't wait to write my five albums. And I think I've written, like, exactly the same amount of songs that I did last year.

SANDERS: Really?

BRIDGERS: I don't want to say I'm slow. I think I'm deliberate. Like, I'll...

SANDERS: There you go.

BRIDGERS: I had a therapist say that to me once and I was like, I think...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: ...Yes, because I have - I'll draft a song first. Like, I can write a song fast. But then my favorite version of it is after I've thought about it every day for, like, six months and the weird little phonetic - like, I'll - it's just so unrecognizable to where it was in the beginning. So I think instead of writing a lot of songs, I write the same song, like, five times. And then the fifth version is always sort of my favorite.

SANDERS: Which song on "Punisher" was the most worked through like that?

BRIDGERS: I think it was probably the last song on the record, the "I Know The End" song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I KNOW THE END")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) Somewhere in Germany, but I can't place it. Man, I hate this part of Texas. Close my eyes, fantasize, three clicks and I'm home.

It was just this super miserable song that my drummer and I were writing about breaking up, which is also - yeah, I love music for that reason...

SANDERS: Because y'all dated.

BRIDGERS: ...Yeah, we dated. And...

SANDERS: Then wrote a broke-up song together, Phoebe?

BRIDGERS: Yeah. Yeah. And we...

SANDERS: Oh, my God (laughter).

BRIDGERS: I know. It's so...

SANDERS: You're better than me. You're better than me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I KNOW THE END")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) You had to go. I know, I know, I know. Like a wave that crashed and melted on the shore, not even the burnouts are out here anymore. And you had to go. I know, I know, I know.

He had this, like, miserable, miserable couple verses and I just didn't really resonate with them. Maybe there - it was his experience.

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: I probably wrote, like, five different versions. And then three years later, literally, I was like, I want a song on the album with a crazy outro. And then I - yeah, that song is a piece of everything because it took a really, really long time to write some of it. And then the last piece just kind of came super fast. Like, that whole outro section is just - like, I just sat down and wrote it.

SANDERS: It gets cacophonous. It gets louder and louder - and yelling and yelling and screaming.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHOEBE BRIDGERS SONG, "I KNOW THE END")

SANDERS: So that came easier than the other stuff in the song?

BRIDGERS: Yeah, yeah. Like, I have all the ideas. I'll even have them not connected to a song. I'm like, OK, I want some - I want a crazy outro, and I want to scream, and I want it to sound like Sufjan Stevens, and I want to have fake cheering at the end of the song.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: I was reading "Her Body And Other Parties" at the time by Carmen Maria Machado, and she has a story called "Inventories" where she - it's like all the people that she slept with during the apocalypse.

SANDERS: OK.

BRIDGERS: I think it's like a zombie apocalypse, but...

SANDERS: Love it.

BRIDGERS: ...And the way that it ends is she's on this island writing in her journal. She's writing lists to keep herself sane. So just the sleeping with people list is a list. But she ends up on this island alone. And I guess I thought if the world was going to end, I'd go up to, like, Big Sur. I spent a lot of my childhood in Northern California. So thinking about where - like, the fictional place I would escape to kind of.

SANDERS: Wow. Big Sur's a nice pick.

BRIDGERS: Oh, it's great.

SANDERS: Wow. And so what do you want listeners to take from a song like that? Like, it's about breakup, but it's about apocalypse, and it's also about just, like, the primal scream. Like, I hear so many themes and ideas when you talk about this song. Like, what are you hoping the listeners leave that song with?

BRIDGERS: My hope always is that I can be universal in specificity. So I love hearing what other people take from things because it puts me in the position of pretending like I'm smarter than I am when someone's like it reminds me so much of this, this and this, or this time in my life, or this book that I loved. I'm like, yeah, exactly.

SANDERS: That's what I was going for.

BRIDGERS: Yeah, totally. So I think I just kind of like - it takes me a really long time to figure out what I wanted initially. My favorite thing about songwriting is that - is stuff like this, where I'll - maybe it's the, you know, back of my mind where I'm not really intending to put a point across and then later I'll realize what it means. But I drove up to Big Sur, like, at the beginning of October - and just by myself for, like, no reason. And so I think I had been really thinking about it. And the world is sort of ending, so, yeah, it's like even more fun to sing now.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah. Well, and it's like - you talk about that specificity. Like, on the latest album, on "Punisher," what does it the most for me is probably "Chinese Satellite."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHINESE SATELLITE")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) I've been running around in circles, pretending to be myself.

SANDERS: When you sing, I've been running around in circles, trying to be myself...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHINESE SATELLITE")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) Why would somebody do this on purpose when they could do something else?

SANDERS: ...And then you say, drowning out the morning birds with the same three songs over and over.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHINESE SATELLITE")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) Drowning out the morning birds with the same three songs over and over.

SANDERS: ...I'm like, was she watching me?

BRIDGERS: (Laughter).

SANDERS: How does she know? And, like, I wonder when you're writing that specifically, is there a barometer for you about how specific to get, how detailed to get? Because there's a balance to strike, right? Because you don't want to write something that, like, no one will understand, but you want it to be specific to you, I'm guessing.

BRIDGERS: I'm realizing that people don't always know what I'm talking about, which is very weird.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: I think I just assume everybody knows what I'm talking about all the time. But it is a matter of personal taste. I've definitely stopped myself from, you know, just, like, reading the nutrition information on the back of, like, a pack of Fig Newtons or something in a song. Like, just...

SANDERS: (Laughter) But you know what? If you made it a song, I'd probably like it.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter) Just, like the balance of, am I being boring? Am I being annoying? Am I being kitschy? Am I now a cartoon of myself? But I don't really think that stuff until, like, three days after I write something.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHINESE SATELLITE")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) Took a tour to see the stars, but they weren't out tonight. So I wished hard on a Chinese satellite.

SANDERS: What's the thing you're most afraid of conveying in a song? Like, what do you fear conveying in a song...

BRIDGERS: Oh.

SANDERS: ...If anything?

BRIDGERS: Yeah, I think, actually, I'm afraid of accidentally conveying my own privilege and brattiness (ph). I'm afraid of...

SANDERS: OK.

BRIDGERS: ...I'm afraid of putting my genuine soul into a song and then having someone be like, what's her problem? Like, are you kidding me? And I hear that in, like, some of my earlier music. And that's...

SANDERS: Give me an example.

BRIDGERS: I have, like, a really old song called "Waiting Room," where - yeah, I wrote it when I was, like, 16. And people find it every once in a while and tag me in it or whatever. And I think I'm just - one, it's super sincere, and I meant everything. But it's so emotionally raw, and I'm so pining for someone.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAITING ROOM")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) If you were a teacher, I would fill your class, take it over and over 'til you notice me.

I had, like, the best high school relationship where it was not fumbley (ph)...

SANDERS: I'm jealous.

BRIDGERS: Yeah, it was so - just, yeah. It's like that doesn't happen. And I think the fact that I'm complaining so much in the song is, especially in retrospect, like, dude, you're fine.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

BRIDGERS: So I'm afraid of myself in five years hearing "Punisher" and being like, what are you talking about?

SANDERS: Coming up, Phoebe Bridgers on the story behind her biggest hit of the year and what she is looking forward to when this pandemic finally ends.

ANJULI SASTRY, BYLINE: Hi, it's Anjuli Sastry. I'm a producer on the show. So today's my birthday, and I have a message for you. Basically, my biggest wish this birthday - if you like what you're listening to and you want to support the work we do on this show, please consider donating to your local station. If you haven't already, go now to donate.npr.org/sam. We really appreciate you, the listener, and we wouldn't be what we are without you. So thank you so much for listening and supporting us. OK, back to the show.

SANDERS: I want to talk about another song on the album that's really, really quite specific, "Kyoto," which is about your dad and your relationship with him. It paints a picture right away.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KYOTO")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) 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, 10 days, but you get a few points for trying.

SANDERS: I've been driving out to the suburbs to park at the Goodwill and stare at the chemtrails with my little brother. He said you called on his birthday. You were off by, like, 10 days, but you get a few points for trying.

And I hear this song - well, one, the first time you hear you hear a happy song, not these sad lyrics. Right? But then, two, when I hear those lyrics and I totally relate to it, even though that wasn't my dad. My dad wasn't like that. We had a different relationship. But I get it. Who were you writing that song to? Are you writing it to a certain type of listener? Are you writing it to your dad? Are you writing it to yourself?

BRIDGERS: It's kind of everyone. I think that there's a desire to - it's almost like closure to have, especially a song you're proud of - singing a song like that every day and having to have conversations like this is weirdly its own form of therapy. You know what I mean? You're like, this is a thing in my life that should probably be examined. And I should stop projecting this character onto partners or people I meet. But it's funny because there are pieces that are about my dad. There is, like, a piece about my grandpa that's more, this is so funny - that's kind of more than missing the birthday thing. Like, my dad's always very good about birthdays, and we've been talking again during COVID, which is so weird. But...

SANDERS: You and your dad.

BRIDGERS: Yeah, so nice. He also we have never discussed the song. And then the other day he called me and was like, so we got a Grammy for our song.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIDGERS: And I was like - I'm like, oh, man.

SANDERS: I love that we. I love that we.

BRIDGERS: Yeah, exactly. And I was like, oh, ha, ha, ha.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KYOTO")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) 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...

SANDERS: For listeners who don't know "Kyoto" yet - and they should know it - how much can you describe what your relationship with your father has been like, is now to set up the context of these songs and those lyrics?

BRIDGERS: It's a very weird combination of, like, emotionally unavailable, but very present in a weird way. And I think, as an adult, I'm just kind of, like, looking back with more sympathy for my parents, which is great - feels great.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

BRIDGERS: It's nice to not feel, like, emotionally trapped all the time with stuff that you carry into your life. Like, I think I was angry for a long time, and I'm - it's - the song is basically about, like, not being angry anymore.

SANDERS: Which is a good way to feel and a good place to get to.

BRIDGERS: Totally.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KYOTO")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) 'Cause I'm a liar.

SANDERS: A thing I like about your music and your songwriting is that you will quite often respond to listener questions about your songs and your lyrics, which is, like, really cool and nice of you. And you don't have to do that. From what I can tell, half of the Internet thinks it's a metaphor and probably less than half know that that actually happened to you. The lyric in "Garden Song," when you write, the doctor put her hands over my liver...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GARDEN SONG")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) The doctor put her hands over my liver. She told my resentment's getting smaller.

SANDERS: And she told me my resentment's getting smaller.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter).

SANDERS: When I first heard it, I was like, oh - oh, my God. Oh, this is - this is it. And then I was reading about it. And you were like, no, that just actually happened (laughter).

BRIDGERS: Yeah. I have this, like, nutritionist lady in LA who, you know, at risk of sounding like every LA person on Earth...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: ...I think she literally saved my life. I was...

SANDERS: OK.

BRIDGERS: I was going through a thing where every time I went on tour, I'd get sick immediately. I'd get - I had to be on antibiotics, like, five times one year. And someone recommended her to me, and I went. And she just hit me with some, like, you take this every day now. You don't eat sugar, and you don't drink.

SANDERS: Oh, my God.

BRIDGERS: And I wasn't even drinking that much.

SANDERS: I'm never going to go see her.

BRIDGERS: Totally (laughter), yeah.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: And that's what I thought. I was like, I literally eat, like, five packs of sour Skittles a day, which - I'm serious. I really did do that for, like, years of my life. But...

SANDERS: Wow.

BRIDGERS: ...She said that to me once. And I feel like sometimes she can't tell when she's about to make me cry. But that definitely made me cry. And then, like, one time we were talking about something, and she was like, are your palms sweating? And I was like, yeah. She's like, good. Like, we were talking about something kind of traumatic. And she was like, you're working through it - your palms are sweating.

SANDERS: Wow.

BRIDGERS: So very, like, witchy...

SANDERS: Wow.

BRIDGERS: ...Awesome.

SANDERS: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: Oh, she - she also...

SANDERS: But also, like, I love that.

BRIDGERS: She also told me I can't be a witch because I was a witch in a past life. So...

SANDERS: (Laughter) I love this woman. I love this woman.

BRIDGERS: Like, that's my favorite thing she's ever said to me, for sure. Like, no more witchcraft. Like, you were a witch already. I didn't say anything about witchcraft to her.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GARDEN SONG")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) I don't know when you got taller. See our reflection in the water off a bridge at the Huntington. I hopped the fence when I was 17.

SANDERS: In that moment when you're at this healer's office and she places her hands over your liver - where exactly even is your liver, somewhere down there?

BRIDGERS: Yeah.

SANDERS: And the moment that she tells you that she feels your resentment getting smaller, what's your first thought? What's your first reaction, laying on that table?

BRIDGERS: Well, she told me to write a letter to my dad. And I was like - that was the first time. I was like, I don't want to do that (laughter), you know? I - she made me start drinking less coffee. But this is all pretty extreme. I was drinking, like, 10 cups of coffee a day.

SANDERS: Phoebe.

BRIDGERS: I know - rough. I was very anxious. And also, she said that to me without any context of my life. Like, she does definitely have some weird...

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

BRIDGERS: ...Stuff where I'm like, are you, like, reading my email? Like, what's happening?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: But - so we had talked a little bit about resentment and stuff. And then she said that to me out of nowhere, you know, in the middle of telling me to eat more salad or leafy greens or whatever. She was like, also, your resentment's getting smaller. I can feel it. And I just - to be recognized in that way, it's like when your therapist tells you you're doing a good job or you're doing the best you can. And you're like, oh, what?

SANDERS: It's also like, cue water works. Oh, my God. Yeah.

BRIDGERS: Yeah. Totally. Totally.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GARDEN SONG")

BRIDGERS: (Singing) When I grow up, I'm going to look up from my phone and see my life. And it's going to be just like my recurring dream. I'm at the movies. I don't remember what I'm seeing.

SANDERS: Predict what's going to be the soundtrack for 2021, at least thematically. We're going to be in a different mindset, I hope, once that vaccine hits.

BRIDGERS: I think we deserve a summer anthem that everybody loves, you know, like the song that comes on in the bar that everybody is obsessed with for one summer. My friend Morgan Martinez tweeted something about how there should be, like, you know - there should be, like, a COVID night at nightclus, where you play all the music that nobody got to dance to in 2020...

SANDERS: Dude, yes. Yes.

BRIDGERS: ...Which I think is genius.

SANDERS: Yes.

BRIDGERS: I think that the - like, I've already written songs that are pretty obviously about being in quarantine or isolation and stuff. And I hope that we are choosy with that genre of, like, writing about now because it's so hard, because it's so universal. But yeah, maybe there'll be, like, some beautiful album that just encapsulates this whole year. Like, there are going to be a lot more weird recordings, so maybe we'll get our, like - maybe we'll get next year's, like, Bon Iver "For Emma" record out of that...

SANDERS: OK.

BRIDGERS: ...Which would be sweet.

SANDERS: But also a summer anthem, too, because we got to have that.

BRIDGERS: Yes. Yes.

SANDERS: Let's, like, bring T-Pain back for a little while, you know?

BRIDGERS: Exactly. That's what we need.

SANDERS: He could do it.

BRIDGERS: Totally.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness. I could ask you so many more questions, but I'm going to let you get on with the rest of your day. But I got to tell you, Phoebe, this was just a treat. I really can't thank you enough for your music. Sometimes, the timing of the art that we find and consume is just perfect. And I think it was that for me this year with your music. You really gave me permission to feel in a very real way. And I cannot thank you enough for that.

BRIDGERS: Aw, thank you so much. I feel it's very weird that I haven't met you because I feel like your voice is just on when I'm alone all day. So (laughter)...

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

BRIDGERS: ...This has been, yeah, very surreal. And thank you.

SANDERS: All right, many, many thanks again to Phoebe Bridgers. Her latest album is called "Punisher." If you haven't heard it already, I suggest you give it a listen. In fact, dear listener, go check out all of her music because it's good. Also, if y'all want to see me talk to Phoebe, there is an extended video cut of this conversation. It's a Zoom call 'cause 2020. But you can see it if you head over to NPR's YouTube page. That's at youtube.com/npr.

This episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Andrea Gutierrez, and it was edited by Jordana Hochman. Listeners, until next time, take care of yourselves. Stay safe. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.

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