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Top 10 Phoebe Bridgers Songs (Ranked)

(Number 1 might surprise you)

Phoebe Bridgers is one of the most prominent indie folk/indie pop artists, having recently skyrocketed into the mainstream zeitgeist with her work in the supergroup Boygenius.

I began listening to her music a few years ago when I started getting comparisons of my own music to her work. Phoebe is now one of my biggest inspirations as a singer-songwriter.

This article will overview what I believe to be her top 10 best songs she has released in her solo career. Let's get into it!

10. "Graceland Too"

"Predictably winds up thinking of Elvis, and wonders if he believed songs could come true. I'm asking for it if they do."

"Graceland Too" is one of the most country-inspired songs in Phoebe's catalogue. The song features a plucked banjo, a fiddle, and a largely acoustic production writ large.

The lyrics tell the story of someone presumably getting released from hospitalization ("no longer a danger to herself or others" connecting to the language used to involuntarily hold someone) and beginning to recover. Phoebe says that she would do anything for her, showing her support.

It's such a touching song and pretty to boot.

9. "Motion Sickness"

"You said when you met me you were bored and you, you were in a band when I was born."

One of her most well-known songs, "Motion Sickness" is a scathing song disguised with an upbeat, funky production. Creating contrast between the lyrics and the music is one of Phoebe's best talents as an artist.

The bridge of the song puts the rest of the lyrics into context, as "you were in a band when I was born" alludes to a very large age gap and when paired with "you said when you met me you were bored", paints a picture of someone feeling used and taken advantage of. I'd be pissed too.

8. "Chinese Satellite"

"You know I'd stand on the corner embarrassed with a picket sign if it meant I would see you when I die."

This track contemplates hard-hitting questions about life, death, and the afterlife, appearing to relate to the loss of a loved one and wanting to believe in something to make meaning of it all. All of it wraps up in the hook, "took a tour to see the stars but they weren't out tonight, so I wished hard on a Chinese Satellite", demonstrating just how desperate it can feel when you're grappling with such intense thoughts and emotions.

I think we've all wished on a satellite or two.

7. "Sidelines"

"Now I know what it feels like to want to go outside, like the shape of my outline."

If I didn't already love a good vocoder, this song would have converted me. This track is more on the experimental pop side of things production-wise, setting it apart from most of Phoebe's discography. There's an electronic drum kit loop repeating throughout, but elements of her signature style bridge the gap with strings and layered harmonies. Lyrically, the song tells a really sweet story about finding love and a reason to go on in the midst of an otherwise very dark time (the COVID-19 Pandemic).

6. "Smoke Signals"

"I buried a hatchet. It's coming up lavender."

This is one of Phoebe's best demonstrations of her storytelling prowess. It's a great example of how lyrics can be more relatable the more specific they are, with very particular references to her muse for the song. Production-wise, the chorus is undeniably dreamy with wide harmonies, swelled strings, and a plucked bass hook flowing underneath.

5. "Funeral"

"When I think too much about it, I can't breathe."

Don't let the first few seconds of the song fool you, this is one of the most stripped back, largely acoustic songs in Phoebe's discography. Themes of grief, loss, and suicidal thoughts are paired with a light, airy melody and production elements that feel like a sunny spring day. The contrast brings out the beauty of both halves of the equation: the lyrics and the music.

4. "I Know the End"

"A haunted house with a picket fence to float around and ghost my friends"

"I Know the End" is one hell of an album closer and nothing short of a work of art. So many of the album's sonic elements are heard in this song with ghostly synths, swelled strings, dreamy electric guitar, and stereo-set harmonies.

The song features multiple shifts in pacing and production, culminating in a chaotic, loud finale akin to the apocalypse alluded to in the lyrics.

3. "Punisher"

"I love a good place to hide in plain sight."

"Punisher" is the dreamy, ambient title track for the album Punisher and captures so much of the album's musical and lyrical landscape. The backing vocals are slightly distorted, complimenting the fractal synth layers in the production. There's also such a powerful use of dynamics and space with the chorus being panned to a wide stereo after a completely stripped back pre-chorus.

And, who doesn't love when the word "stop" actually stops the track?

2. "Moon Song"

"You are sick, and you're married, and you might be dying, but you're holding me like water in your hands."

If the messy, intense heartbreak you feel after a traumatic relationship ends were a song, it would be "Moon Song". The lyrics compare a relationship's power imbalance to being a dog hopelessly waiting for its person to come home. "So I will wait for the next time you want me like a dog with a bird at your door."

It is such an apt metaphor that its conclusion in the bridge feels especially gut-wrenching. "When you saw the dead little bird, you started crying, but you know the killer doesn't understand."

It's also worth noting that Phoebe has stated that her favorite lyric she's written is the hook for this song, "If I could give you the moon, I would give you the moon."

1. "Killer"

"I am sick of the chase, but I'm stupid in love and there's nothing I can do."

"Killer" is a masterclass in sonic minimalism that lets the lyrics shine. The song is simple, consisting primarily of a dark moody piano with Phoebe's intimate vocals and a range of harmonies. When I listen to "Killer" I feel like I'm in the room with Phoebe pouring her heart out over a piano and spilling her most vulnerable, dark thoughts. That is what sets this apart as the top choice in my ranking.

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