Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger In The Alps Turns 6

With autumn just around the corner, there’s no better time to talk about those albums that put us in our fall feels. Stranger in the Alps, Phoebe Bridgers’ debut, is the perfect album for this. It captures that bittersweet feeling wedged in between the purgatory of summer and winter, equal parts heartbreak and love.

Stranger in the Alps turns 6 this Friday. The twelve-track album, released on September 22nd, 2017, is full of what exactly propelled Bridgers into fame. Her voice is soft and delicate, but her melancholic lyrics are an emotional punch right to the gut.

The cover art, by Angela Deane, is a childhood photo of Phoebe covered in a ghost sheet. It perfectly sums up everything Stranger in the Alps is: hauntingly beautiful. Sixth birthdays only come once, so let’s celebrate.

Who is Phoebe Bridgers?

Born and raised in Pasadena, indie rock artist Phoebe Bridgers had been performing live at local LA gigs for years, yet her music remained relatively unknown. Bridgers entered the music scene as the bassist for Sloppy Jane during high school, but decided to pursue music independently.

Phoebe’s EP Killer was released in 2015. She’d made a name for herself, but still remained relatively niche. But two years and a few singles later, Stranger in the Alps was released. It wasn’t long before large-scale fame followed suit. 


“Motion Sickness,” a song about a tumultuous relationship with an older man, gained traction on social media. People loved the way Bridgers combined dry humor with painful feelings. It felt honest, intimate, and familiar. Listening to her music was like reading the diary of a childhood best friend. 

After this single took off, the rest of the album began circulating. It wasn’t long before Phoebe Bridgers was a mainstay in the indie rock world. She’s gone on to release Punisher, a Grammy-nominated sophomore album. Along with forming an indie supergroup, boygenius, that’s currently on tour.

“Motion Sickness” remains Phoebe’s most-streamed song to date, but it’s not often that an entire debut album is full of hits, so let’s explore the rest.

Phoebe Bridgers has been my top artist for about three years now, so I could spend hours talking about each track, but for now, I’ll spare you the ramblings and focus on my top three. If you like what you hear, I highly suggest you listen to Stranger in the Alps in its entirety and truly experience the “emotional motion sickness.” (Maybe bring tissues while you’re at it.)

“Demi Moore”

It’s hard to imagine a song about intoxicated sexting being beautifully sad, but “Demi Moore” is precisely that. Bridgers’ forlorn lyrics of loneliness and isolation are accompanied by haunting synths to create a track that’s melodramatic in the best way.

“Scott Street”

Feeling nostalgic? “Scott Street” is perfect. Backed with a gentle acoustic guitar, Phoebe sings of reconnecting with a former flame. There’s longing in her voice, as she details the unfamiliarity of growing apart from someone you once loved. But as the track crescendos, we meet the sound of a little kid’s bike bell ringing. Phoebe leaves the listeners with the sentiment of “don’t be a stranger,” combining nostalgia and heartbreak in the saddest, most gorgeous way.


I want to preface this one by saying that I’m biased. “Georgia” is my favorite song of Phoebe’s and unashamedly may or may not be my number one track on Spotify. However, I promise, there’s a reason. “Georgia” was the first song Phoebe wrote for Stranger in the Alps, composed when she was a teenager. And it shows. Her emotional turmoil, stuck between teenager and adult, shines through. Bridgers’ pleads for a lover to reciprocate her investment in their love. It’s resonant of anyone’s first heartbreak in a crushingly honest way. (If you enjoy Phoebe’s vocals on this one, check out her powerful acoustic performance here.)

Don’t Be A Stranger

Stranger in the Alps is a perfect culmination of what it means to be human. Bridgers’ songs detail grief, love, and heartbreak in a way that feels like someone’s held a mirror to our heads. Her ethereal vocals mixed with haunting instrumentals make for an album that’s undoubtedly hard to forget. 

If you like what you’ve heard, be sure to check out the rest of Phoebe’s work here. Since a lot of her covers & singles are unlisted or unreleased, I put together this playlist on YouTube so you can truly get a taste of Bridgers’ genius.

Still can’t get enough? Take a listen to her 2017 NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert and feel Stranger In The Alps come alive. 

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