Listen to Phoebe Bridgers right now!

Dare I say better than the queen of lyricism herself, Miss Taylor Swift… this is Phoebe Bridgers.

Dare I say better than the queen of lyricism herself, Miss Taylor Swift… this is Phoebe Bridgers.

Have you heard of Phoebe Bridgers? With such haunting and mind-bending melodies that just feel like giant hugs, with such immaculate lyrics, dare I say better than the queen of lyricism herself, Miss Taylor Swift… with such a soft yet edged voice— this is Phoebe Bridgers.

And I could sit here and list the reasons why you should go listen to all her songs immediately, but I don’t want to torture you. So I will choose one song. Just one, to showcase the absolute masterclass that is her songwriting. And that song is Chinese Satellite. It never fails to give me chills. Feel free to pull it up right now through this link, and get the full experience while reading this article.

She begins the song by singing:


I’ve been running around in circles

Pretending to be myself

Why would somebody do this on purpose

When they could do something else?


When I first heard this lyric, I swear I just melted onto the floor. Doesn’t it sometimes feel like we’re “running around in circles” just “pretending,” doing the same routine without purpose? I later learned that she was actually talking about trying to be a person who jogs, either way equally relatable.

Then we get to the chorus:


Took a tour to see the stars

But they weren’t out tonight

So I wished hard on a Chinese satellite


She went searching for something bright in the dark, the “stars,” but nothing was there. Nothing, so she settled for the man made space thingy in the sky. I think this speaks true to those who struggle to find a higher purpose and end up grasping at the things that are earthly and far too human. But she “wished hard.” She’s trying and searching, just in the wrong place.

Then, it gets quiet, and the most beautiful set of strings I have ever heard creeps in as she sings:


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


Now, Phoebe isn’t religious, but I think that makes this song all-the-more compelling and heartbreaking to listen to. She has even identified as atheist in the past, so it is interesting to see her perspective on religion and God. She “wants to be wrong” about being an atheist, but when she reaches out for the higher purpose, she ends up reaching for the “Chinese satellite” and “feeling nothing.” And there is something to be said about the difference between “feeling” and believing.

More strings take us out of the chorus, a drum riff jolts you out of your peace, then the second verse:


You were screaming at the Evangelicals

They were screaming right back from what I remember

When you said I will never be your vegetable

Because I think when you’re gone it’s forever

But you know I’d stand on the corner

Embarrassed with a picket sign

If it meant I would see you

When I die


She explained that this verse was about a real argument between her boyfriend and Evangelical protesters about life support. She reveals that she doesn’t believe in the afterlife (“I think when you’re gone it’s forever”), but if she ever found proof of it, she would become that Evangelical protester, hold that “picket sign,” just to see who she loves again. This is so revolutionary. She is basically saying like yeah, if someone showed me proof of God and Heaven and all that, I would change my beliefs. And in consequence, I would change my life just to get there. 

And I think anyone can relate to this message, Christians, Catholics, any religious person– not only atheists like her. Believers and non-believers can both feel the need to look for signs that God is there. We think, “if I could just see God, then I would never stop praying. I would never stop praising and loving him.” But even that isn’t true. Even Jesus’ own disciples doubted at times. I think a lot of people hold on to this excuse of waiting for that big sign. Like, oh, when God shows that He’s really there, that’s when I’ll change my life. That’s when I’ll do something. But we can’t rely on physical signs or even feelings to access our faith. It just isn’t sustainable.

It’s something to think about.

Anyway, I hope you listen to more Phoebe Bridgers. Here is a link to a playlist I made with all her essentials.


by Elyza Tuan ’23, Editor-in-Chief