Punisher is a peak into the diary of any partner or close friend you’ve ever hurt. It’s a look behind the mask of bravery to see innocence rotting away with every selfish action you’ve done. It is a sobering realization that your actions have an impact on loved ones and your mistakes hurt them the most.
The album doesn’t tell us much about Phoebe’s life before the pain, but glimpses of her naïve fixations show us that she still seeks the goodness in life. But the toughest part of the album is despite how hard she wishes and dreams and hopes, her innocence has been hopelessly muddied by the real world and by the relationships she’s welcomed in with an open heart.
Take “Chinese Satellite”:
Took a tour to see the stars But they weren't out tonight So I wished hard on a Chinese satellite I want to believe Instead I look at the sky and I feel nothing
This lyric, and song, and album says so much about Phoebe. She is holding onto the lost innocence she once had, still hoping and praying that she can “go home” – to a time without all the confusion and heartache. But instead, her toxic lover has drained the naïve purity out of her. She is letting darkness sneak into her thoughts through imagery, whether it be dwelling on death while nearing near a hospital or her thinking of her skinhead neighbour when she’s trying to think about her dream life.
No matter what end of the relationship spectrum you have ever been on, you can surely find a connection in this album. Phoebe speaks for the victims and speaks to the victimizer. She shows those that have felt hurt and felt pain to keep looking and keep hoping despite how dark it may seem. And she provides a sobering haunt to those who have ever been the ones inflicting the pain. Her voice conveys so much pain but so much familiarity that everyone who truly listens can find a time that they’ve been the abuser in one form or another, and forces them to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
Phoebe Bridgers believes she is in the wrong world. She is just a girl, filled with luster and excitement, but has ended up in such a sinister, dark place. She just wants to go home. But this is her life now, all because of the actions of someone she let her guard down for. She gave everything and got nothing, and it has damaged her. For anyone who feels like they are Phoebe in a relationship, this album is a reminder to get out. For everyone that is turning a loved one into Phoebe, think about your actions, and her misery, and let this album be the anchor that keeps you from causing this kind of pain on anyone.
Soufflés are so simple and pure, made of ingredients that no one would bat an eye to, but through care and attention to detail, create an irresistible dish that has capped off top notch meals for centuries.
In a sense, they’re the perfect dessert.
To make a soufflé, one needs to be in tune with their cooking instruments, ensuring that both the egg yokes and whites are beaten to the perfect amount. I, through a combination of overconfidence and under preparation, attempted to make my soufflé without the use of an electronic beater, as the closest thing my new kitchen had was a fork and a bowl. So what typically takes half an hour took around two hours, but as always – the more effort you put into a meal, the more you enjoy it. Plus, it was a great activity to watch a few periods of hockey to in the background.
The perfect soufflé sees the filling billowing out of its ramekin, exposing its vulnerable bubbly body. It can be capped with a cool, creamy sauce to balance out the heat of the molten soufflé, with icing sugar to add some sweetness to counter the rich flavour of the dark chocolate, or berries to add some acidity and brightness. I chose the latter two.
This dish is the perfect combination of sweet and rich, light but creamy, airy but full of substance. Each bite melts in your mouth, condensing from a chocolatey cloud to a rich mousse that leaves you salivating for more.
There is a vulnerable beauty to Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher that reveals how fragile the human psyche can be when those who you choose to open your heart to someone just to see them let you down. Even the bravest of us can be the most delicate.
This beauty rivals that of a soufflé – a proud and beautiful dish that within minutes can whisp away to a soft shell of its former self. All it takes is too much of a beating. In mere minutes, something so grand can become something completely unrecognizable, deflated by the very thing that once rose it up.
It shows that the most beautiful things are the ones that we can hurt the most. When working with something beautiful, it is important that we consider each action we take and protect those who open themselves to us, as our flaws can soon be reflected on them.
Also of note: this is the first Tastes & Tones without the use of alcohol. This album is about someone hurt by close ones who experience alcohol abuse, a topic that I’m sure most of you have experienced in some way, shape or form – as the victim or the punisher. For that reason, I ask that the $20 that you would have spent on a bottle of wine or a liqueur for this meal donate to Al-Anon, a support group for people affected by someone else’s alcoholism that Phoebe has referenced as relied on and supported in the past.
Donate here: https://al-anon.org/contributions/
I can't claim to have invented, or even modified this recipe a whole lot. I'll hand it off to the experts here - Martha knows her way around a souffle. See the recipe here: https://www.marthastewart.com/868486/chocolate-souffle