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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

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