I met Phoebe through [a] mutual friend. She ended up coming to see me play, and then afterward she asked if I wanted to try to write a song together. One of the first we wrote is on her new record. It’s called “Halloween.” We wrote that like a week after meeting each other. I love Halloween decorations. That’s the kind of stuff I’m striving to make. Even if I don’t always seem goth in the way that I dress—which sometimes I do— I definitely love goth culture and Halloween s--- and David Lynch. Phoebe is willing to go darker than most people. There were a couple times listening to where my jaw dropped like, “Are you allowed to say that?” The line on “Moon Song”—“We hate ‘Tears in Heaven,’ but it’s sad that his baby died”—I was like, Girl! But it gets to the point of what she’s saying. “Moon Song” is my favorite from her new record. It’s just a f---ing amazing song. The week after we met, when she came over to my house and we wrote “Halloween,” she played all of “Moon Song” and was like, “I don’t know if it’s done yet. This is the only new song I have.” But you can imagine the characters. It’s specific and yet you can put yourself in it easily. [The single] “Kyoto” started out as a ballad, because that’s how I write most music. It mostly sounds like I’ve written the same song a million times and then it’s like, how different can it get? Songs like “Moon Song” are pretty true to form. But then songs like “Kyoto” just take a turn. I don’t feel like my songs are really written until I record them, because I don’t know what’s going to happen to them. So it was definitely a fun surprise to have accidentally written a fun song. MUSIC REVIEWS CHRISTIAN LEE HUTSON BRIDGERS ADRIAN YOUNGE, ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD & ROY AYERS LIANNE LA HAVAS Phoebe told me that on her first record, she didn’t really have as big a vocabulary for production; it wasn’t as essential to her process. But with boygenius, and being in the studio when she was producing Christian, I saw that Phoebe is a very smart producer. I hope people give her credit for the creative decisions she made sonically, not just as a writer. is a more fully realized version of her music. I know she felt more in control. She wasn’t having as many arguments with producers and collaborators. She was the one in charge and I think, because of that, it came out amazing. The first song I started was also the last I finished, which is the very last song, “I Know the End.” It’s just superf---ing long, and it was challenging to write lyrics for it and have them be effective. I didn’t want it to be corny. The more personal, intimate songs are easier for me. I helped with that one. I was a part of the “screaming choir,” but that was a pretty minor contribution. I helped flesh out some lyrics and explore different word choices [and] imagery. My favorite albums are ones that aren’t one tone; they’re cohesive. You know like, the Bright Eyes album. There’s a song for everybody on it. There are fast songs, folk songs, sad songs. I wanted this to feel almost like a f---ing musical. There’s something about it that’s connected, but it’s not just 10 of the same songs. DACUS LUCY DACUS ROY AYERS JID002 LIANNE LA HAVAS ALBUM ALBUM LABEL + GENRE LABEL + GENRE JAZZ IS DEAD / JAZZ WARNER RECORDS UK/NONESUCH + FOLK/SOUL Punisher Jazz hasn’t had a consistent mainstream profile in decades. This supertrio aim to change that with a cheekily titled, smoothas-silk group of songs about love, unity, and the roots of American music. “Synchronize Vibration” takes a page from project guest star Roy Ayers’ hit “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.” The 5th Dimension harmonies abound on “Soulful & Unique.” Meanwhile, the free jazz-inspired “African Sounds” asks black artists to use their music to “rebound against the hate.” It’s a strong message but the album— the second from the Jazz Is Dead label— feels too short to be a definitive statement. Lianne La Havas’ latest subs the acoustic theatrics of her first two albums for a mix of leftleaning pop and high-voltage blues. Her formidable range is still apparent, evidenced by booming opener “Bittersweet,” as well as the spiraling riffs of “Green Papaya,” as she pleads with a partner to love her somethin’ fierce. Meanwhile, the propulsive “Can’t Fight” finds her testifying to her inability to leave love alone. Fans may be disappointed by La Havas’ reserved lyricism here, but the femme gem “Sour Flower” and a take on Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” should be enough to compensate. [Punisher] CONOR OBERST HUTSON BRIDGERS BRIDGERS OBERST BRIDGERS I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, PHOEBE IS WILLING TO GO DARKER THAN MOST PEOPLE.” ← (From left) Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus B+ B– —TIRHAKAH LOVE —ALEX SUSKIND LUCY DACUS ON BRIDGERS’ MUSIC JULY 2020 EW ● COM 75
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