Savior Complex

Album: Punisher (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • A savior complex (Christ complex or messiah complex) is a state of mind in which a person believes they are responsible for coming to the aid of others that need help. The character diverts a lot of their energy to seeking out those they feel need their assistance, but often it is just an outlet to escape their own problems.

    A "Savioir Complex" sometimes manifests by getting into relationships with damaged people. Here, Phoebe Bridgers sings of a difficult relationship with a needy person who is sucking the life out of her.

    Baby, you're a vampire
    You want blood and I promised
    I'm a bad liar
    With a savior complex


    Bridgers explained to Stereogum the song is about dating someone who hates themselves. "'Savior Complex' is you get there, you're with the person, and you realize that every other person they've been with before has gone through the exact same thing of trying to break down walls. Being with somebody who hates themselves is hard."
  • Phoebe Bridgers came up with the melody to "Savior Complex" in a dream; she rolled over in the middle of the night and hummed the tune before waking up. Bridgers immediately knew she wanted the lyrics to be about a difficult relationship and took the idea into the studio.
  • Bridgers wrote the song with:

    Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. Bridgers and Oberst recorded an eponymous album together in 2019 under the moniker of Better Oblivion Community Center. This is one of five songs on Punisher that Oberst co-wrote.

    California musician Christian Lee Hutson, whose collaborative friendship with Bridgers dates back to 2018 when he co-wrote and played on the self-titled EP from Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus' group Boygenius. He contributed to five tracks on Punisher.
  • California-based songwriter and session musician Blake Mills performs the clarinet on this track. Bridgers described him to Apple Music as, "Like a little schoolkid practicing in the hallway of Sound City before coming in to play."
  • Phoebe Bridgers played "Savior Complex" during the December 2, 2020 episode of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Her performance was shot at LA's famed Magic Castle venue.
  • Bridgers (almost) namesake Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge directed the black-and-white video. It stars Normal People actor Paul Mescal, whose name being less similar to theirs ruins the synchronicity.

Comments: 1

  • Laur this song gonna blow up real soon
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