Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers continued her run of somber Christmas-song activism on Thursday by dropping a canopy of the Handsome Family’s 2000 track “So Much Wine.”
Each vacation season since 2017, when Bridgers launched a canopy of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the L.A.-based artist has shared her tackle a Christmas basic. This yr the proceeds will go to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Bridgers’ melancholic, acoustic or stripped-down covers act as counter-programming of types, trudging towards the blizzard of cheery, maximalist vacation music that fills procuring malls and commercials in the course of the Christmas season.
Bridgers anchors the “So Much Wine” cowl along with her signature folksy acoustic guitar. Her susceptible, empathetic vocals match the sad lyrics of the track, written by Rennie Sparks of the Handsome Family, during which the speaker laments a beloved one’s battle with alcohol dependancy.
“I had nothing to say on Christmas Day / When you threw all your clothes in the snow,” the track begins.
Then within the track’s refrain and emotional excessive level — swelling with harmonies, with a fiddle riffing and percussion thumping — Bridgers provides an impassioned plea: “Listen to me, butterfly / There’s only so much wine / That you can drink in one life / But it will never be enough / To save you from the bottom of your glass.”
The observe options backup vocals from Bridgers’ boyfriend, the “Normal People” actor Paul Mescal. Offering further vocals, fiddle and whistling is singer a multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, who additionally performed violin on the Handsome Family’s 2000 album “In the Air,” which incorporates the unique “So Much Wine.”
The Handsome Family’s music has been described as gothic nation, coloured by macabre storytelling. Sparks, one half of the husband-wife duo, described their music to NPR in 2016 as “catharsis” and “a safe place to experience really terrifying things.”
Bridgers’ music appears to circulation seamlessly from such meditations on the grim. She advised The Times earlier this yr that she “learned that there can be fun in the darkness,” describing the Día de los Muertos-inspired skeleton jumpsuits she typically dons on stage.
In more moderen years, as Bridgers started committing the proceeds of her annual vacation releases to numerous nonprofit organizations, her covers grew extra terse and politically charged.
In 2019, she, Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger dropped a canopy of Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 track “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night.” Bridgers sings the Christmas hymn over news-radio programming of assorted currents occasions, resembling authorized opposition to abortion entry, the opioid epidemic and the homicide of Botham Jean, a Black man who was shot and killed inside his personal condominium by a white, off-duty Dallas Police Department patrol officer Amber Guyger.
“Happy Holidays to everyone whose family has been literally or figuratively torn apart by Donald Trump,” Bridgers wrote on Facebook to advertise the track. “And to my racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, hypocritical family members, f— you.”
The proceeds of that yr’s observe went to Planned Parenthood.
Last yr, from Bridgers lined Tom Waits’ “Day After Tomorrow,” a track advised from the attitude of a soldier coming back from warfare who’s grappling with having killed folks for his nation. Proceeds benefitted the Local Integration & Family Empowerment Division of the International Institute of Los Angeles, which helps immigrants, refugees and low-income employees within the metropolis.
The group on the middle of this vacation’s launch, the L.A. LGBT Center, is a nonprofit that assists folks every month with providers that together with medical care, senior providers, homeless-youth housing and authorized providers, and is among the few federally certified well being facilities with suppliers who concentrate on main look after lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming folks and other people residing with HIV.