Listen: Phoebe Bridgers drops her annual Christmas song and it’s a cover of a legend


Christmas has come early for fans of Phoebe Bridgers. The musician released her annual Christmas cover today for Giving Tuesday, debuting her rendition of “Day After Tomorrow.” You can listen to the track above, but get some tissues first.

“Day After Tomorrow” was originally recorded by the legendary songwriter and musician Tom Waits and released on the 2004 LP Real Gone. Waits shares a songwriting credit on the album with Kathleen Brennan, his wife and longtime collaborator. You can listen to Waits’ original recording here.

Bridgers produced the new track alongside Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, who have produced the musician’s debut LP Stranger in the Alps. Her version incorporates memorable holiday melodies such as “Silent Night” while maintaining the grave, elegiac tone of the original recording. “Day After Tomorrow” is recognized in particular as the most explicit protest song on the album, condemning the Iraq War with lyrics like: 

I’m not fighting

For justice

I am not fighting

For freedom

I am fighting

For my life

Christmas-themed covers have become an annual tradition for the artist, who often returns to her inspirations in 20th century American folk and country. Last year, Bridgers covered Merle Haggard’s iconic “If We Make It Through December.” As with her other covers, there is a charitable cause behind the release. 

Dead Oceans, representing Bridgers, announced on Twitter that all proceeds from the track (on streaming and available for purchase via Bandcamp) will benefit the International Institute of Los Angeles’ Local Integration & Family Empowerment Division. The group supports refugees, migrants, and survivors of human trafficking in Southern California.

Waits’ most recent album, Bad As Me, was released in 2011. Over the past decade, he has given several live and televised performances, including on the Late Show with David Letterman. Waits has a role in the Coen Brothers’ 2018 Netflix anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Bridgers recently toured the US and, in October, released a cover of Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling,” with proceeds going to various groups supporting abortion in Texas.