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  • Isa Luzarraga

“So Much Wine” Gets the Phoebe Bridgers Treatment

Toys in every store, holly on your own front door and Phoebe Bridgers’ annual holiday cover. That’s all any Pharb really needs to get through the holiday season. Luckily, Bridgers released her cover of the Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine” last Thursday, effectively immersing everyone in their feels.


Bridgers’ tradition of releasing holiday covers began in 2017 when she recorded a haunting version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Since then, she has donated the proceeds of every holiday cover to a different charity each year. This time around, the sales of “So Much Wine” will go toward the Los Angeles LGBT Center.


The track is certainly a departure from more traditional, cheery holiday music. Handsome Family’s lyrics depict a family member struggling with alcoholism, evoking the sometimes uncomfortable intimacy that comes with holiday family gatherings. Written by Brent and Rennie Sparks, the husband and wife duo behind the band, “So Much Wine” presents a poignant vignette set on Christmas day.


“I had nothing to say on Christmas day / When you threw all your clothes in the snow / When you burnt your hair, knocked over chairs / I just tried to stay out of your way,” the song begins with Bridgers’ ethereal vocals, accompanied by acoustic finger-picking. The fragility of her voice paired with the vulnerability of the lyrics paints a heartbreakingly vivid picture — “There's only so much wine you can drink in one life / And it will never be enough to save you from the bottom of your glass.”


As much as we hope the holidays will bring joyful family reunions and idyllic flakes of snow, the cheer portrayed in Michael Bublé’s numerous holiday covers isn’t always realistic. It is easy to feel alone in a crowded room, unassuaged by our grandma’s sugar cookie-scented Yankee Candle. “So Much Wine” reminds us that the shiny facade of holiday magic isn’t impermeable and that it’s okay to feel whatever emotions the holidays elicit. Similar messages tie Bridgers’ original music together, weaving a web of comfort and melancholy. This cover is no different.


Still, the Twitterverse and loyal Pharbs were perhaps more enthused by the background vocals of “So Much Wine,” provided by Bridgers’ fiance and Normal People actor Paul Mescal. Indeed, Mescal’s voice is faint yet complementary, providing an added depth to the track. Many fans of both Bridgers and Mescal are hopeful the duo will produce more music together in the future, perhaps emulating the Taylor Swift/Joe Alwyn (alias William Bowery) collaboration.


“So Much Wine” is available on all streaming platforms, and the “So Much Wine” EP features all of Bridgers’ previous Christmas covers, including “Day After Tomorrow,” “If We Make It Through December,” “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night (feat. Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger),” “Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”


Graphic by Isa Luzarraga

Story originally published in Milk Crate.

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