Phoebe Bridgers explores Japan in the new video for “Kyoto,” the singer-songwriter’s latest single. She also announced a new album, Punisher, out June 19th via Dead Oceans.
Shot on a green screen in Los Angeles, the clip features Bridgers flying over the ocean in a skeleton suit, stopping at an arcade and the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. “You called me from a payphone/they still have payphones,” she discovers. “It costs a dollar a minute.”
Her bandmates and friends appear surrounded by flames as laser beams shoot out of Bridgers’ eyes and she saves them from Godzilla. “I don’t forgive you, but please don’t hold me to it,” she sings, surfing along the subway rails. “Born under Scorpio skies.”
Bridgers wrote “Kyoto” after her first trip to Japan in February 2019. She initially planned to shoot the video there while supporting the National on tour this spring, but the shows were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This song is about impostor syndrome,” Bridgers said in a statement. “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,” she continued. “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.”
“Kyoto” follows the single “Garden Song,” which Bridgers released last month accompanied by a video of her smoking a bong with fuzzy creatures. She’ll perform “Kyoto” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday from her Los Angeles bathroom while in quarantine.
Punisher is Bridgers’ second solo album, after 2017’s Stranger in the Alps. It was co-produced by Bridgers, Ethan Gruska and Tony Berg. The LP features her Boygenius bandmates Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, fellow Better Oblivion Community Center member Conor Oberst and legendary session drummer Jim Keltner.
1. DVD Menu
2. Garden Song
6. Chinese Satellite
7. Moon Song
8. Savior Complex
10. Graceland Too
11. I Know the End