AOTY 2020
Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
Critic Score
Based on 39 reviews
2020 Ratings: #9 / 764
Year End Rank: #3
User Score
2020 Ratings: #5
Liked by 209 people
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Northern Transmissions

Punisher is a rare album. One that has been anxiously anticipated and also fulfills expectations on every level. There’s an understated charge that elevates every single moment in Bridger’s songs to the point where they are almost excruciatingly relatable.

The Arts Desk
Beguiling innocence is contrasted with an uncanny knowingness.

The LA songwriter’s ability to paint this lingering feeling of dread so vividly is perhaps the biggest factor in her rapid rise to cultish indie household name; just look at the state of the world right now.


While I can’t say I was prepared for Punisher to ask as much of me as it did, I’m still moved by it, unsettled by it, and captivated by it.

The Telegraph
It may be only the 25-year-old’s second album, but this is a magnificently intelligent record that rewards close listening at every step.
Q Magazine
The end of the world rarely sounds this good.
To take the album simply for what it is on the surface would be a huge discredit to the talent behind it. This is the kind of album that seeps under your skin the more you listen; romanticising the everyday and highlighting the beauty in the mundane.
Consequence of Sound
A remarkable record that dazzles and beams with restless energy and twisted dream logic.
A.V. Club

Phoebe Bridgers has created a musical monument to our dissociative age with Punisher. It’s an album about sleepless nights and sinking feelings in the pit of your stomach, wrapped in a musical package that’s both feather-light and lush enough to run your fingers through.

As the record builds to a final cathartic hushed scream, ‘Punisher’ marks a clear step forward, but one that remains as fundamentally graceful as all that has come before.
God Is in the TV

Punisher is a graceful, elegant and confident record that firmly cements Phoebe Bridgers as one of the most important artists of this generation.

Punisher is funny but serious, subtle yet obtuse, familiar and somehow simultaneously entirely unique. Even if in the final analysis it’s still not massively folky.

At 25, Phoebe Bridgers is, by all metrics, an artist at the beginning of her career, though Punisher sounds more like the work of a time-tested veteran perfecting a style she's been honing for years.

The Sydney Morning Herald
This stunning album offers a generous look at the intellectual and emotional mind of one of the most exciting young artists to emerge in recent years.
Louder Than War

The album is fantastic and I can’t recommend listening to it enough. Punisher combines the sound of indie rock with thoughtful lyricism and a tremendous amount of ambitious songwriting, even in its more peaceful moments.


Her sophomore album Punisher cements what may be Bridgers’ most understated gift of all: her seemingly innate ability to capture the mundanity of modern sadness in song.

On her marvelous second album, Phoebe Bridgers defines her songwriting: candid, multi-dimensional, slyly psychedelic, and full of heart. Her music has become a world unto itself.

Punisher is a powerful work of catharsis, a reminder that ending toxic relationships is equally as painful as it is necessary. Bridgers has an incredible ability to construct grand, poetic metaphors, while simultaneously grounding each song in incredibly specific scenes and moments.

Beats Per Minute

The main difference between Stranger in the Alps and Punisher is simply maturation of her writing, which might well have come from working with so many talented songwriters in the last couple of years – but you would never mistake one of Bridgers’ songs for anyone else’s.

Slant Magazine

The end of the world is a central detail on Punisher, an influence over the uncertainty that falls over these dark but gorgeous songs.


‘Punisher’ is an immense album tackling the ugly and absurd sides to life with beauty, humour and self-awareness. It’s a unique reporting style and a key statement.

The Independent
Punisher has the effect of a particularly pummelling massage.

Bridgers gives you the moon on Punisher. Which is to say that she gives you everything that you are looking for in a Phoebe Bridgers album but still manages to make it feel miraculous and larger than life.

Rolling Stone

Eleven expertly rendered, largely downcast songs about broken faith, desperate, occasionally self-destructive love, and tenuous recovery.

American Songwriter

Reteaming with co-producers Ethan Gruska and Tony Berg, Bridgers pulls the listener into a weary world only she could master. It’s exhaustive but redemptive, and she casts her songwriting into fire and brimstone, only to later yank it free in the knick of time.


Creating a record that builds on her reputation as the best songwriter on the block while acknowledging the humorous and also political bent of her media presence, Punisher is a triumph in understanding and toying with expectations.

Under The Radar

Punisher has more than its fair share of transcendent moments.

The Line of Best Fit

Punisher is that rarest of beasts. A record that grows with each listen, that takes it’s time for its stories to unravel, and that wears its love of literature on its sleeve as comfortably as it does its love of music.

It's an album of shockingly self-aware explorations of dark feelings and Bridgers is more willing than ever before to throw herself headlong into the darkness.
The Observer

Bridgers’s second album under her own name, Punisher moves forward confidently from her 2017 debut, Stranger in the Alps.

The Needle Drop

The emotional potency of Punisher is undeniable.

Crack Magazine

The emotional clarity of Phoebe Bridgers’ debut Stranger in the Alps was as striking as a kick in the shins. On Punisher, that clarity is hidden behind a smokescreen of uncertainties.

Bridgers' second solo album confirms that the first was no fluke.
It's artfully rumpled, but the ragged angry gasps that close the record confirm Bridgers' songwriting isn't the effortless dream it seems.
Loud and Quiet

This is an awkward record in places, but then, so is Bridgers; her sheer force of personality remains her greatest asset, and it’s more than enough to carry Punisher over the line.

On her sophomore solo album, following a few side projects and features on several nondescript indie songs, Phoebe Bridgers seems content to let her voice and lyrics do the heavy lifting.
No Ripcord

Over the past few years, it may have seemed like Bridgers was a team player, but on Punisher, she reannounces herself as a solo songwriter reaching her peak.

Spectrum Culture

The disc nails certain facets of her experience with its open and careful language, and that singular, unending pursuit keeps the album focused.

This morning I woke up at 5am, having a panic attack. At any point I could have probably tried to figure out why, or what caused it, but I didn’t. I just really wanted to get back to sleep. Instead, I decided to try out the new Phoebe record. In a matter of its short run-time, and my brain not being fully awake yet, I feel like I got a lot more than I was expecting.

As someone who was mildly satisfied with Stranger In The Alps, I really hadn’t made my mind up on Bridgers as an ... read more
Like an open book, Punisher is one of this year's sincerest albums, deliberately breaking the codes of intimacy and not afraid to display its fears and questions. It is a totally immersive journey in the company of the prodigious Phoebe Bridgers.

There is no doubt, and we were aware of it, that Phoebe Bridgers is not only talented, she is a hard worker. She has been building a solid track record for four years now. Punisher is an album she mainly made while she was on tour. As if she was on ... read more
To say the last few months have been overwhelming would be an understatement. Music has been a nice distraction, but I have been having difficulty digging into any albums. This has been an incredible year for music, but it has been hard to relate to artists when everything feels slightly off in your own world. This changed with Punisher, Phoebe's stunning sophomore release that somehow feels more personal and more organic than her debut. The restless production, the incredible lyricism, the ... read more

It's hard to put in to words just how much I adore 'Stranger in the Alps', that album has been with me for countless lonely evenings, hungover mornings, and sunny walks by the river and Phoebe's vocals have accompanied some of my fondest memories these last few years so to say I was excited for the follow up to one of my favourite albums of the last decade is quite the understatement.

'Punisher' does not disappoint. It's exactly what I wanted from a new Phoebe ... read more
Welcome back Phoebe, we missed you...

Bridgers made a very strong name for herself in 2017 with her debut record “Stranger in the Alps”, a confined and personal example of her beautiful poetry. The lonely instrumentation on that project, paired with her southern-twanged vocals, makes for an indie folk experience unlike any other.

This new record, “Punisher”, doesn’t stray too far from her humble beginnings. Simple songs with simple premises: a simplicity that ... read more
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Track List

  1. DVD Menu
  2. Garden Song
  3. Kyoto
  4. Punisher
  5. Halloween
  6. Chinese Satellite
  7. Moon Song
  8. Savior Complex
  9. ICU
  10. Graceland Too
  11. I Know the End
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Added on: April 9, 2020