Phoebe Bridgers’ cover of “If We Make It Through December” is the anthem for the final month of 2020. Merging somber lyrics from country legend Merle Haggard with her haunting vocals, Bridgers creates her own elegant rendition of holiday sorrows typically left unsung. “If We Make It Through December” is Haggard’s ode to the 1973 recession, telling the story of a father who can’t afford a Christmas for his daughter after being laid off. Released via Dead Oceans, all proceeds from the single will be sent to the Downtown Women's Center, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to empowering women experiencing homelessness.
“Everything’s gonna be alright, I know” Bridgers sings, a self-soothing lyric for the “happy time of year” now experienced in isolation. A muted piano takes the place of Haggard’s slightly upbeat guitar and fiddle, replacing a traditional country feel with Bridgers’ melancholy. It’s her somber twist, capturing emotions that don’t glisten with Christmas cheer and Hallmark movie specials or warm fires with happy families.
Bridgers was recently nominated for four GRAMMY Awards, including Best New Artist, Best Alternative Album for her sophomore release Punisher, and Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for “Kyoto.” Prior to her nomination, her EP Copycat Killer was released earlier in November, a collection of songs from the nominated Punisher album with string arrangements by Rob Moose.