Phoebe Bridgers - "Garden Song" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Olof Grind / Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Phoebe Bridgers' "Garden Song" is a travelogue of memories and dreams, woven together gracefully and delivered with perfect effortlessness.

Mike Schiller: Phoebe Bridgers is fascinating throughout "Garden Song", whether she's awkwardly ripping a bong (more than once!) or singing about a dream she once had. The style here is calculated stream-of-consciousness; she's singing to someone, though that someone may well change throughout the song, and telling stories of what was and could be. She throws the occasional dart -- "when your skinhead neighbor goes missing, I'll plant a garden in the yard then" is an early highlight -- but most of "Garden Song" is a travelogue of memories and dreams, woven together gracefully and delivered with perfect effortlessness. Putting it all over a gently-plucked, distortion-fuzzy guitar loop was a masterstroke, a production choice that puts us in the middle of the dreams Bridgers is singing of. It all adds up to a lovely trifle, someday a perfect piece of an album that hasn't, as of today, yet been announced. [8/10]

Mike Elliott: Hypnotic, Paul Simonesque melodically and lyrically, Bridgers proves again here that she's not only a powerful singer-songwriter but a connoisseur of the jazz cabbage. [7/10]

Mick Jacobs: Vivid imagery that never gets overshadowed by a barely-there beat and lulling guitar melody, which acts as a guide through Bridgers's dreams. "But I wake up before we do it" is followed by a heavy pause as the anticipation dissolves into realization. This is how the experts do it. [9/10]

Ian Rushbury: Ten seconds into the tune and Bridgers takes a hit from the bong. It's quite an attention-grabbing move; you have to admit. She floats a low key vocal over a gently pulsing backing track while unusual non-gender specific things happen all around her. It's hard to tell whether she's really happy or really sad, but it's a rather lovely, melodic tune. Is Ms. Bridgers Tori Amos' niece? We should be told. [7/10]

Peter Griffiths: Like being in a bath with her voice, though not necessarily in a good way. The lyrics are genuinely worth listening to, though: "When your skinhead neighbor goes missing, I'll plant a garden in the yard" and "I don't know when you got taller" are oddball good to the extent that I wanted to hear them a second time. Although, the breathy man backing vocals are really unnecessary. She smokes a massive bong at the beginning of the video; make of that what you will. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.60





The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.