Phoebe Bridgers // Punisher
Phoebe Bridgers is a gift. Her watershed 2017 debut album, Stranger in the Alps, topped our list of best albums of the 2010s. Arriving seemingly fully-formed, Bridgers personified a generation of emotionally-charged female singer-songwriters. With a soft and streamlined sound, she's able to articulate her feelings perfectly and with grace. Her team-up with Conor Oberst for 2019's Better Oblivion Community Center ratified her credibility, with her highly-anticipated sophomore album Punisher cementing her deserved place in the canon of new voices. Beginning with the overture-like instrumental track "DVD Menu," Bridgers selects the scenes she wants us to hear. The results are both subtle and profound. One of the greatest strengths of Punisher is how strongly it bookends itself. The soft, floral tones of "Garden Song" paired with the feel-good orchestration of "Kyoto" delivers a one-two punch of some of the record's most indelible moments. Though the breezy charm of the third track inevitably stands alone, the final two tracks of "Graceland Too" and especially "I Know The End" leave the listener shaken and affected.