Candid, concise, and dynamic, Phoebe Bridgers’s Punisher is a magical work. It’s been a joy to see her evolve. She’s always been a brilliant lyricist with a beautiful voice. But her music itself is a progression in this work from that of her debut LP. Punisher feels like a blend of Sufjan Stevens, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Frank Ocean, and Elliott Smith. Clocking in at 40 minutes long, it is intimate. It is cathartic. She sounds less like a young, energetic, rebellious artist now and more like an older, wiser one who’s been through a lot. Likewise, her music is more textured. After hearing Boygenius, I thought she’d stick with an organic, guitar-heavy sound. But Punisher is ethereal and dreamlike. It is so sonically multi-faceted at times. At other times, it is chill and minimalistic. It is full of surprises. And its flow is such that you can listen to every minute and enjoy it. But you can also put it on, do other things, and listen passively as sounds drift by. The marriage between folk, pop, and even ambient is clear. Bridgers balances them well. She is an extremely promising talent. She has a beautiful, quirky soul. She’s been through some hard stuff. And she deserves the world. To me, this is one of the best albums of the year. *Check out the songs below with a clear mind and high-quality headphones when you can.*

Rating: 9/10

A subtle, pretty, tone-setting song.
An exhilarating, layered lead single.
This explores a devastating breakup.