Phoebe Bridgers | photo by Olof Grind
Phoebe Bridgers reworks “Kyoto” with a string section on new EP Copycat Killer
It’s been just shy of six month since singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore album Punisher was released in a time as turbulent as its music. The record landed in June, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and nation-wide protests for the Black Lives Matter movement, and has gone on to make a big impact. On Rough Trade’s annual Albums of The Year, Punisher follows SAULT’s Untitled (Black Is) for the second spot on their list. Bridgers recently celebrated the album’s second-place finish alongside the announcement of Copycat Killer, a four-track EP of songs from Punisher re-worked just strings and vocals, and out November 20. “Kyoto” a poppier track on Punisher, is the EP’s lead single and unfolds in a completely new manner.
Bridgers’ music often boasts the allure of her exceptional songwriting talent in making very slow, gorgeous yet heart-crushing ballads that are often incredibly somber but lyrically hilarious. “Kyoto” stood out on the album as an outlier with an uptempo melody that distracts from the somber lyrics. With the help of string arranger Rob Moose, the new rendition on Copycat Killer almost feels like the way you’d anticipate it in its original form, its sonics departing from the seduction of the catchy tempo and matching the lyrics, speaking to the complex relationship with the singer’s father. Bridgers said about the track via Instagram, “Our version of Kyoto that Rob says should be played at my funeral is out today.”
Bridgers also took to Twitter, telling her followers she explain meaning a lyric from her music they reply with. In response to “Copycat killer,” the EP’s title and a lyric from Punisher‘s title track (“copycat killer with a chemical cut”), Bridgers said this: “plagiarizing Elliott Smith is the copycat killer part (like when people copy serial killers for the media attention) and chemical cut because I bleach my hair and it’s so fried I never have to cut it.”
Listen to “Kyoto” below.