With endless idle time, it can feel like we’re spending too much time with our thoughts and emotions. There could not have been a better time for Phoebe Bridgers to announce her sophomore album, Punisher, due out June 19th on Dead Oceans. The album announcement was accompanied by the release of a second single from the record; “Kyoto” — an upbeat number that tries to gain perspective without starting from a clear point-of-view.
“This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.” – Phoebe Bridgers
Part of the new single was written about Bridgers’ time spent in the Japanese city on tour. In the lyrics, she describes distinct experiences as if they belong to strangers, but they’re not—they are two snapshots from the same life. She planned to return to Kyoto to shoot the music video for the track, but pandemic-related travel restrictions dashed that hope. Instead her DIY instincts prevailed, leading to the green screen antics above. Directed and edited by Kills Birds’ Nina Ljeti, we can all take a page from the Bridgers’ and Ljeti’s book as we ride out this quarantine.
Words: Zoë Elaine