Watch Phoebe Bridgers’ Impressive, One-Take Performance of ‘I Know the End’ on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’

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Rock Cellar Magazine

“I Know the End” is the enthralling closing track to Punisher, the excellent 2020 album from singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers that was released in June to (deserving) rapturous acclaim.

The song, a sprawling composition that starts quiet and hushed — like so much else of Bridgers’ music — expands and grows into a cacophony of unsettling sounds toward the end, closing out the Punisher record with a resonant exclamation point of sorts.

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As such, the song deserves a bit of special attention when performed live, and that’s precisely what Bridgers gave the track with a rendition that aired on Late Night with Seth Meyers this week. Featuring Bridgers by herself at a theater in Southern California, it’s a masterfully produced one-take production that inventively incorporates Bridgers’ band mates Odessa Jorgensen, Emily Retsas, Marshall Vore, Nick White and Harrison Whitford and co-producer Ethan Gruska.

“I Know the End” also received a music video a few weeks back, again featuring her band, an empty and eerie Los Angeles Coliseum and some decidedly ominous vibes:

Bridgers, Vore and Whitford also staged a recent NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert at the Oval Office — well, not THE Oval Office, but a send-up of the Oval Office:

Bridgers explained the adventurousness of “I Know the End” as follows:

“The end of the song, however, is almost like an alien universe to me, and that’s a big theme on this album. I wanted a big metal ending, and so we all had so much fun screaming on it. There are some crazy screeching guitars on it, and I got all my friends to be in the choir too. There’s all sorts of crazy shit going on.”

Releasing Punisher in the middle of a global pandemic probably wasn’t what Phoebe Bridgers had in mind for her new album, but there’s really no better soundtrack for wiling away the hours sheltering in place and worrying about both the present and the future, while openly acknowledging the absurdity of it all — a testament to Phoebe Bridgers’ uncanny ability to find beauty among the chaos of the human condition.

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