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Elliot Smith comes with vocals almost as ghostly as Bridgers’ (Photo provided via @phoebebridgers on Instagram)

5 artists to listen to if you love Phoebe Bridgers

While we all love to mope around on a fall night to the haunting yet intimate body of work that is Phoebe Bridgers’ discography, it’s always good to change it up and maybe even do the unthinkable: listen to someone that wasn’t in Boygenius. 

If you’re in love with the Pasadena singer-songwriter just as much as we are, here are 5 artists you must listen to as you make your way through the rest of the semester:

Elliott Smith

As Bridgers said herself, Elliott Smith is her biggest influence, and it shows. One of the most intimate and emotionally convincing songwriters of all time, Smith revolutionized what the singer-songwriter genre could be. His wispy, almost ghostly vocals deliver vivid lyrics that know how you feel better than you do. 

If you love the murky melodies and careful words of Bridgers, Smith’s 1997 album, Either/Or, is a great starting place. 

Cocteau Twins

Pioneering the dream-pop movement of the 80s that can be heard in a lot of today’s alternative music, Cocteau Twins are one of the most innovative bands of their time. The ethereal guitars and heavenly soprano of Elisabeth Fraser form a wall of sound that makes you feel as though you’re floating through the night. 

Songs like “Cherry-coloured Funk” and “Wolf in the Breast” have the ghostly qualities of Bridgers’ Punisher, but with a splash of colorful spaciness. The band’s revolutionary album, Heaven or Las Vegas, promises to be your new go-to for those cold walks home when you need a bit of wonder. 

Japanese Breakfast

On their most recent album, Jubilee, Japanese Breakfast, fronted by songwriter and best-selling author Michelle Zauner, explores themes of joy and happiness -- emotions not often talked about in the indie music of today. 

What reminds me of Bridgers in Japanese Breakfast’s work is the band’s evocative lyricism and intensity that compels you to look deeper into your own emotions. 

Laura Marling

If you love the folky minimalism of Bridgers’ songs like “Garden Song” or “Scott Street,” then Laura Marling is the artist for you. 

A Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Marling’s illustrative lyric style often deals with trauma and what it means to be a woman in today’s society. I would recommend her 2008 album, Alas I Cannot Swim, as a great starting point. 

Daniel Johnston

There is really only one word that can accurately describe the music of Daniel Johnston: intimate. In and out of psychiatric hospitals for much of his life, Johnston expressed his pain through some of the most imaginative and personal songwriting you’ll ever hear.

The child-like purity in songs such as “True Love Will Find You in the End” and “Walking the Cow” evoke the same closeness and warmth given off in Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps. And, his album Hi How Are You is guaranteed to be one of the most wholesome and raw projects you’ve ever heard. 


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