This Week’s Model — Jensen McRae, “Immune”


A couple weeks ago, singer-songwriter cracked a good joke on Twitter:

Because McRae knew her way around a guitar and a microphone, she followed up the next day with a “preemptive cover” of that imagined song, delivering fifty seconds of a letter-perfect impression of the distinctive songcraft of Phoebe Bridgers. The punisher herself noticed and gave her tacit approval. The affectionate sliver of a song went viral, as things associated with our skeleton-costumed indie goddess often do.

McRae, bless her, went further. The number she noodled up, dubbed “Immune,” is now a fully developed and produced track. It’s still clearly inspired by Bridgers, initiated in her voice and filled with the keen observations that serve as powerful mood-setting elements in her songs (“Lay the seat back, turn this place into a bed/ Someone’s smoking in the Camry just ahead”). “Immune” is more than mere pastiche, though. It has a gravity, elegance, and richness all its own, transcending its origins to become a song that any artist would be proud to sign their name to. Instead of simply spoofing her, McRae draws from Bridgers as an influence the same way Bridgers draws from Julien Baker, and Julien Baker draws from Ben Gibbard, and on and on into pop culture infinity.

Well, there’s still a little spoofery, but that’s charming, too.

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