Bridgers’ new EP demonstrates her musical skill



Indie musician Phoebe Bridgers in a concert. Bridgers released her latest EP, “Copycat Killers” in early November.

The gentle swelling of violins fill the air, and then a voice. Soft, silky, almost whispery in its delivery, it blends in with the instrument beautifully. After listening to Phoebe Bridgers’s past albums, this is something I never expected to hear from her, yet she executes effortlessly in her new EP, “Copycat Killer.”

The 26-year-old indie musician made her solo debut with her studio album “Stranger in the Alps” (2017), followed by “Punisher” (2020) which earned her four Grammy nominations.

“Copycat Killer” was released on November 10, 2020 along with “Kyoto” as the promotional single and music video. It features four songs from her second studio album “Punisher,” which was released during the summer of 2020. She reworked the tracks in collaboration with Rob Moose, an arranger and multi-instrumentalist.

“Kyoto” is the first track of the album. On the original, it’s featured as an instrumental and production-heavy track that you can scream on top of your lungs. While the lyrics convey a sorrowful message about Bridgers’ complicated relationship with her father and her first trip to Japan, the arrangement of the track is rather upbeat and bright.

The reworked track is transformed into a whimsical ballad that reflects a whole new perspective of the song without losing its spark. Bridgers’ voice is very upfront in the arrangement and is a more delicate version of what we hear in the original. The instrumentals are minimal and softer in the background, featuring violins mimicking the original melody with added embellishments.

The two tracks compliment each other beautifully while retaining their own individual identities. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and it sets a great tone to what the rest of the reworks sound like.

The first track transitions gracefully into the next, titled, “Savior Complex.” As in “Punisher,” the track is much softer than “Kyoto.” Bridgers sings to a simple, repetitive guitar melody that washes over you in comforting waves. The track was pretty simple to begin with, so I was curious to see how Bridgers could strip it back even more.

The rework starts off similarly to the original in its simplicity, but the guitar is swapped out for a more sophisticated violin. However, as the song progresses, it starts to veer away from the original with more embellished violin melodies into a whole new track. I loved the buildup of the instruments as the song went on because it always kept me guessing about what I would hear next.

Personally, I loved the interlude towards the middle of the song and how it capitalized and expanded on the small violin section presented in the original. The additional arrangements reminded me of a song that could be played in a Disney movie and fully submerged me into the world of the music.

Up next was “Chinese Satellite.” Right off the bat, I was surprised to hear a guitar since the previous tracks relied heavily on the violin. In the middle, the song suddenly switched off to strictly violin and later to a combination of the two, which I quite liked, and wished had been done from the beginning.

Unlike other tracks, I didn’t hear a big change from the original. They are both relatively stripped back and feature the same variety of instrumentals. The rework didn’t showcase the original song in a new light which, in my opinion, is crucial when publishing a new version of a song.

The last track of the album is titled “Punisher.” In the original, it’s a soft and delicate song about fans who are always trying to present themselves in the best light to their heroes. It states, “What if I told you I feel like I know you, but we never met? It’s for the best.”

I loved that “Punisher,” the title track of the original album, has the words “copycat killer” in its lyrics, serving as a great connection to the title of the EP. With the help of her collaborator, Rob Moose, the added arrangement enriched the track while maintaining the stripped back quality that is prominent in the original. It was a great way to end the album and tie everything together.

Overall, Bridger’s ability to keep the special spark in her songs while changing their entire arrangement showcased her ability not only as a singer but as an artist and made the experience of listening to it altogether enjoyable.