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Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Punisher’ Lyrics Ranked by How Much They Hurt Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In the spirit of Spotify Wrapped season, I thought I’d take a look at Phoebe Bridgers’ second album, Punisher. As my most listened to artist for three years going on four, Phoebe and I have a long history together. For me, Punisher’s sound was unexpected in the best way – deviating from Phoebe’s first album, Stranger in the Alps, which is considered to be in the indie folk arena. Punisher takes on a haunted dystopian theme while still maintaining Phoebe’s classic soft melancholic sound. When Punisher was released, I can safely say that I was made emotionally unavailable for a while, and last month I got to see her in concert for the first time. After the concert I started ranking song lyrics from Punisher based off how much they hurt me, which is what I’ll be sharing today.

All things considered, this ranking has a few flaws I’d like to disclose. First, dissecting the lyrics and placing them out of chronological order skews the meaning of a lot of these lyrics because they’re more impactful in their given context. Second, this ranking would be completely subject to change if I was taking all other musical aspects of the songs (the little woo in Kyoto, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus’ harmonies in Graceland Too, Phoebe’s screaming in I Know the End, etcetera) into consideration rather than just listing them lyrically. For Graceland Too, I did take lyric and music pairing into consideration and listed the last harmonies first because they’re the best part of the song and they deserve to be there. 

Anyways, this is my official Punisher endorsement – ghosts, skeletons, burning houses, dead birds and all. I hope you enjoy!

Garden Song 

  1. I grew up here, ’til it all went up in flames, except the notches in the door frame
  2. Then it’s a dorm room, like a hedge maze, and when I find you, you touch my leg, and I insist, but I wake up before we do it
  3. Everything’s growing in our garden, you don’t have to know that it’s haunted
  4. I hopped the fence when I was seventeen, then I knew what I wanted
  5. No, I’m not afraid of hard work, I get everything I want, I have everything I wanted
  6. The doctor put her hands over my liver, she told me my resentment’s getting smaller
  7. And when I grow up, I’m gonna look up from my phone and see my life
  8. They’re gluing roses on a flatbed, you should see it, I mean thousands
  9. I don’t know when you got taller, see our reflection in the water, off a bridge at the Huntington
  10. And when your skinhead neighbor goes missing, I’ll plant a garden in the yard, then
  11. Someday, I’m gonna live in your house up on the hill
  12. And it’s gonna be just like my recurring dream
  13. I’m at the movies, I don’t remember what I’m seeing, the screen turns into a tidal wave

Kyoto

  1. I don’t forgive you, but please don’t hold me to it
  2. I’m gonna kill you, If you don’t beat me to it
  3. I wanted to see the world, then I flew over the ocean, and I changed my mind
  4. It cost a dollar a minute to tell me you’re getting sober and you wrote me a letter, but I don’t have to read it
  5. I wanted to see the world through your eyes until it happened, then I changed my mind
  6. Guess I lied, I’m a liar, who lies, ’cause I’m a liar
  7. Remember getting the truck fixed when you let us drive it, 25 felt like flying
  8. He said you called on his birthday, you were off by like ten days, but you get a few points for tryin’
  9. Sunset’s been a freak show on the weekend so I’ve been driving out to the suburbs, to park at the Goodwill and stare at the chem trails with my little brother
  10. Born under Scorpio skies
  11. The band took the speed train, went to the arcade, I wanted to go, but I didn’t
  12. Day off in Kyoto, got bored at the temple, looked around at the 7-11
  13. Dreaming through Tokyo skies

Punisher

  1. What if I told you I feel like I know you, but we never met? It’s for the best 
  2. I can’t open my mouth and forget how to talk, ’cause even if I could, wouldn’t know where to start, wouldn’t know when to stop
  3. A copycat killer with a chemical cut, either I’m careless or I wanna get caught
  4. And walk right by the house where you lived with Snow White, I wonder if she ever thought the storybook tiles on the roof were too much
  5. What if I told you I feel like I know you, but we never met?
  6. Man, I wish that I could say the same, I swear I’m not angry, that’s just my face
  7. And here everyone knows you’re the way to my heart. Hear so many stories of you at the bar, most times alone and some looking your worst, but never not sweet to the trust funds and punishers
  8. The drug stores are open all night, the only real reason I moved to the east side, I love a good place to hide in plain sight
  9. When the speed kicks in, I go to the store for nothing
  10. But from the window, it’s not a bad show if your favorite things Dianetics or stucco

Halloween

  1. Sick of the questions I keep asking you, they make you live in the past, but I can count on you to tell me the truth when you’ve been drinking, and you’re wearing a mask
  2. Baby, it’s Halloween, there’s a last time for everything, oh, come on, man, we can be anything
  3. Always surprised by what I’d do for love, some things I’ll never expect
  4. I hate living by the hospital, the sirens go all night, I used to joke that if they woke you up somebody better be dying
  5. Baby, it’s Halloween, and we can be anything, oh, come on, man, we can be anything
  6. They killed a fan down by the stadium, was only visiting, they beat him to death
  7. Whatever you want, be whatever you want, whatever you want, be whatever you want, and be whatever you want, whatever you want, I’ll be whatever you want

Chinese Satellite

  1. I’ve been running around in circles, pretending to be myself
  2. But you know I’d stand on the corner embarrassed with a picket sign if it meant I would see you when I die
  3. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, it’s just a matter of time before I’m hearing things, swore I could feel you through the walls, but that’s impossible
  4. Drowning out the morning birds with the same three songs over and over, I wish I wrote it, but I didn’t so I learn the words, hum along ’til the feeling’s gone forever
  5. I want to believe, instead I look at the sky and I feel nothing, you know I hate to be alone, I want to be wrong
  6. Why would somebody do this on purpose, when they could do something else?
  7. Took a tour to see the stars but they weren’t out tonight so I wished hard on a Chinese satellite
  8. I want to believe that if I go outside I’ll see a tractor beam coming to take me to where I’m from, I want to go home
  9. When you said I will never be your vegetable because I think when you’re gone it’s forever

Moon Song

  1. When you saw the dead little bird, you started crying, but you know the killer doesn’t understand
  2. You are sick, and you’re married, and you might be dying, but you’re holding me like water in your hands
  3. You couldn’t have, you couldn’t have, stuck your tongue down the throat of somebody, who loves you more
  4. So I will wait for the next time you want me, like a dog with a bird at your door
  5. Now I’m dreaming, and you’re singing at my birthday, I’ve never seen you smiling so big
  6. You asked to walk me home, but I had to carry you
  7. And if I could give you the moon, I would give you the moon
  8. And we fought about John Lennon, until I cried, and then went to bed upset
  9. It’s nautical themed, and there’s something I’m supposed to say, but can’t for the life of me remember what it is
  10. And you pushed me in, and now my feet can’t touch the bottom of you
  11. We hate Tears in Heaven, but it’s sad that his baby died

Savior Complex 

  1. All the bad dreams that you hide, show me yours
  2. Sweating through the heat, you’re gonna drown in your sleep, for sure, wake up and start a big fire in our one room apartment
  3. Call me when you land, I’ll drive around again, one hand on the wheel, one in your mouth, turn me on and turn me down
  4. Drift off on the floor, I drag you to the shore
  5. All the skeletons you hide, show me yours, and I’ll show you mine
  6. All the bad dreams that you hide, show me yours, I’ll show you mine
  7. But I’m too tired to have a pissing contest
  8. I’m a bad liar with a savior complex
  9. Smoking in the car, windows up
  10. Crocodile tears, run the tap ’til it’s clear
  11. Baby you’re a vampire, you want blood and I promised
  12. Emotional affair, overly sincere

ICU

  1. I used to light you up, now I can even get you to play the drums
  2. If you’re a work of art, I’m standing too close, I can see the brush strokes
  3. I’ve been playing dead my whole life
  4. And I get this feeling whenever I feel good that It’ll be the last time
  5. But I feel something when I see you now, I feel something when I see you
  6. ‘Cause I don’t know what I want until I fuck it up
  7. I’ll climb through the window again but right now it feels good not to stand, then I’ll leave it wide open, let the dystopian morning light pour in
  8. Laying down on the lawn, I’m tired of trying to get in the house, I’m thinking out loud
  9. I hate your mom, I hate it when she opens her mouth
  10. It’s amazing to me how much you can say when you don’t know what you’re talking about

Graceland Too

  1. Whatever she wants, whatever she wants, whatever she wants (whatever you want), whatever she wants (whatever you want), I will do anything (whatever you want),I will do anything (whatever you want), whatever she wants (whatever you want), whatever she wants (whatever you want)
  2. I would do anything for you, I would do anything, I will do anything, whatever you want me to do, I will do
  3. Ate a sleeve of saltines on my floor, and I knew that I would do anything you want me to
  4. She could go home, but she’s not going to
  5. No longer a danger to herself or others, she made up her mind and laced up her shoes, yelled down the hall but nobody answered so she walked outside without an excuse
  6. Turns up the music so thoughts don’t intrude, predictably winds up thinking of Elvis and wonders if he believed songs could come true, I’m asking for it if they do
  7. She could do anything she wants to, she could do whatever she wants to do
  8. Doesn’t know what she wants or what she’s gonna do, a rebel without a clue
  9. Said she knows she lived through it to get to this moment
  10. So we spent what was left of our serotonin to chew on our cheeks and stare at the moon
  11. So she picks a direction, it’s ninety to Memphis

I Know The End

  1. I’ll find a new place to be from
  2. And when I call, you come home, a bird in your teeth
  3. When I get back I’ll lay around and I’ll get up and lay back down
  4. A haunted house with a picket fence to float around and ghost my friends
  5. But you had to go, I know, I know, I know, like a wave that crashed and melted on the shore
  6. When the sirens sound, you’ll hide under the floor, but I’m not gonna go down with my hometown in a tornado, I’m gonna chase it, I know, I know, I know
  7. Romanticize a quiet life, there’s no place like my room
  8. I’m always pushing you away from me but you come back with gravity
  9. The billboard said, “The end is near”, I turned around, there was nothing there, yeah, I guess the end is here
  10. Went looking for a creation myth, ended up with a pair of cracked lips
  11. I gotta go now, I know, I know, I know
  12. And you had to go, I know, I know, I know
  13. No, I’m not afraid to disappear
  14. The end is here
  15. Out in the park, we watch the sunset, talking on a rusty swing set, after awhile you went quiet and I got mean
  16. A slaughterhouse, an outlet mall, slot machines, fear of God
  17. Not even the burnouts are out here anymore
  18. In Germany, but I can’t place it, man, I hate this part of Texas, close my eyes, fantasize, three clicks, and I’m home
  19. Driving out into the sun, let the ultraviolet cover me up
  20. Windows down, heater on, big bolts of lightning hanging low
  21. Over the coast, everyone’s convinced it’s a government drone or an alien spaceship, either way, we’re not alone
  22. Windows down, scream along to some America first rap, country song
Jessie Riha

C of C '24

English major at the College of Charleston. Enneagram type 4. I love books, feminism, and Phoebe Bridgers.
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