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Stranger In The Alps

by Phoebe Bridgers

Released September 22, 2017 via Dead Oceans

Reviewed September 22, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Funeral (52%), Motion Sickness (48%), Smoke Signals (44%)

Punisher may have catapulted Phoebe Bridgers into the mainstream and notched her four Grammy nominations, but Bridgers’ indie darling status was clear after her 2017 debut, Stranger In The Alps. In the five years since, there’s been a wave of similar artists trying to capture the same essence of this record, often falling short. And no, the essence is not “sad girl music,” and the use of that term should qualify as ground for a war crime. The beauty in Bridgers’ music and the reason for her well-deserved rise to stardom deserves a much more nuanced description, and plainly, much more respect than that. Stranger In The Alps is undoubtedly a sorrowful and somber record; “sad” might not be an entirely incorrect descriptor, but Bridgers’ songwriting carries a delicateness, maturity, and understanding that feels significantly more complicated—and at times, even hopeful—than plain sadness. We have all felt sadness, and Bridgers is certainly documenting that, but Stranger In The Alps is an intimate collection of songs that tackles her experiences and how she grapples with that emotion—navigating it, reflecting on it, and perhaps even accepting it. It’s a heavy listen, and Bridgers isn’t hesitant to bear the darkest of thoughts here, but there is a sense of comfort intertwined with all of the melancholy. Beautiful acoustics are the crux of The Alps’ backdrop, intermingling with gentle string sections—violin, cello, etc.—to create an indescribable warmth. Only 23 at the time of its release, and still just 27, Stranger In The Alps was merely the first step for one of indie folk’s biggest stars of the modern era. – Dominick (8.5/10)

Dominick: 8.5/10 | Cam: 7.8/10 | DeVán: 7/10 | Jared: 6/10

Community Reviews:

It having the end of the world vibe and the sad nature to it made Stranger In The Alps the perfect album to listen to when we were in lockdown. – @zain.guthrie (9/10)

Stranger in the Alps defined Phoebe Bridgers' sound. It's an excellent album. After my first listen, I was filled with a deep, haunted sadness and I couldn't listen to it again until months later. “Scott Street” is my favorite Phoebe Bridgers song of all time. I think there's something so beautifully simple about it. – anonymous community member (9/10)


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