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The Meaning Of Motion Sickness By Phoebe Bridgers

Updated: Mar 19

Phoebe Bridgers' "Motion Sickness" isn't your typical heartbreak ballad. It's a dizzying, emotional rollercoaster that throws you headfirst into the messy aftermath of a fractured relationship. Forget sappy lyrics and melodramatic breakdowns; this song is a raw, honest portrait of the tangled web of feelings we weave when love goes sour.

Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness

Right from the start, the song hooks you with its melancholic piano, a perfect sonic backdrop for Bridgers's signature whisper-to-a-scream vocals. The lyrics land like punches, each line a gut-wrenching mix of anger, resentment, and a desperate longing for what can't be salvaged. You'll find yourself nodding along to lines like "I hate you for what you did, and I miss you like a little kid," a sentiment that captures the paradoxical nature of grief and loss.

But "Motion Sickness" isn't just about wallowing in misery. It's about the desperate attempt to grapple with the emotional fallout, to find some semblance of clarity amidst the chaos. Bridgers throws in dark humor and self-deprecating wit ("I have emotional motion sickness, Somebody roll the windows down"), acknowledging the absurdity of the situation while still feeling the sting of betrayal.

This song isn't a sugarcoated escape; it's a mirror reflecting the messy, complicated reality of heartbreak. It's a reminder that love can leave us bruised and bewildered, but that even in the midst of the wreckage, there's a raw beauty to be found in the honesty of our emotions. So, buckle up, crank up the volume, and let "Motion Sickness" take you on a wild ride through the labyrinth of your own heartbreak.

The Meaning Of Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness

Phoebe Bridgers' "Motion Sickness is a visceral experience. The lyrics, raw and unflinching, paint a picture of a relationship crumbling, leaving behind a kaleidoscope of emotions. Let's delve into this emotional landscape, guided by the song's powerful verses and choruses.

Verse 1: A Dizzying Mix of Hatred and Longing

The song opens with a gut punch: "I hate you for what you did / And I miss you like a little kid." This line sets the tone for the entire track - a constant push-and-pull between resentment and the lingering ghosts of affection. The speaker acknowledges their numbness, a consequence of trying to maintain composure despite the emotional turmoil. The money given for therapy, only used once, hints at a failed attempt to heal, while the year of hardship endured silently speaks volumes about the depth of the unspoken pain.

Chorus: Trapped in an Emotional Rollercoaster

"I have emotional motion sickness," Bridgers declares, perfectly capturing the feeling of being overwhelmed by a whirlwind of emotions. The claustrophobic imagery of the car with closed windows intensifies the sensation. The desperate cry, "There are no words in the English language / I could scream to drown you out," conveys the utter inadequacy of language to express the sheer intensity of the emotional storm within.

Verse 2: Witnessing Your Pain, Escaping My Own

The second verse shifts perspective, with the speaker observing the ex's anguish from a distance. The image of throwing rocks against glass resonates with the speaker's own emotional turmoil, both reflecting and distancing themselves from it. There's a sense of relief at escaping the destructive cycle, yet a tinge of regret for the way things ended.

Chorus: The Lingering Echo of Unspoken Words

The chorus returns, amplifying the plea for release. The question about the English accent, seemingly out of place, could be interpreted as a deflection mechanism, a way to momentarily break free from the emotional intensity. The speaker reiterates their resolve to move on, to "drown you out," while acknowledging the difficulty of fully letting go.

The Final Lines: A Haunting Echo of the Past

The closing lines, "You said when you met me, you were bored / And you, you were in a band when I was born," leave a lasting impression. The age difference becomes a symbol of the fundamental disconnect between the two, adding another layer of complexity to the already nuanced picture. The song fades out with the repeated chant of "Surrender to the sound," leaving the listener pondering the consequences of succumbing to the overwhelming emotions or finding the strength to navigate them.

Bridgers' "Motion Sickness" is a powerful exploration of the messy aftermath of a relationship's demise. By delving into the intricate lyrics and their emotional connotations, we gain a deeper understanding of the human experience - the conflicting emotions, the desperate struggle for clarity, and the enduring echoes of the past.

It's important to remember that everyone interprets art differently, and this is just one way of looking at the song. What resonates with you? How do you interpret the lyrics? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Listen To Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness Below

Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness Lyrics

[Verse 1]

I hate you for what you did

And I miss you like a little kid

I faked it every time, but that's alright

I can hardly feel anything

I hardly feel anything at all

You gave me fifteen hundred

To see your hypnotherapist

I only went one time, you let it slide

Fell on hard times a year ago

Was hopin' you would let it go and you did


I have emotional motion sickness

Somebody roll the windows down

There are no words in the English language

I could scream to drown you out

[Verse 2]

I'm on the outside looking through

You're throwing rocks around your room

And while you're bleeding on your back in the glass

I'll be glad that I made it out

And sorry that it all went down like it did


I have emotional motion sickness

Somebody roll the windows down

There are no words in the English language

I could scream to drown you out

Hey, why do you sing with an English accent?

I guess it's too late to change it now

You know I'm never gonna let you have it

But I will try to drown you out


You said when you met me, you were bored

You said when you met me, you were bored

And you, you were in a band when I was born


I have emotional motion sickness

I try to stay clean and live without

And I wanna know what would happen

If I surrender to the sound

Surrender to the sound

Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness FAQ

The track was written by Bridgers and Marshall Vore, and produced by Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska.

When was "Motion Sickness" released?

"Motion Sickness" is a track that was released July 18, 2017, from Phoebe Bridgers' debut studio album, "Stranger in the Alps," which was released on September 22, 2017.

What genre does "Motion Sickness" fall under?:

The song is generally classified under the indie folk and indie rock genres, showcasing Bridgers' introspective and emotive songwriting.

What inspired the lyrics of "Motion Sickness"?:

Phoebe Bridgers has mentioned that "Motion Sickness" was inspired by her experiences in the music industry, particularly in dealing with relationships and the challenges that come with being a rising artist.

What is the significance of the title "Motion Sickness"?:

The title "Motion Sickness" metaphorically represents the uneasiness and discomfort Bridgers felt in the tumultuous aspects of her life, both professionally and personally.

Related Reading for Boygenius and Phoebe Bridger Fans:

Don't forget to check out our breakdown of Not Strong Enough by Boygenius, whilst diving into the meaning of Letter To An Old Poet and Bite The Hand.

There's also our review of Me & My Dog that we recommend giving a read and listening to too.

Because we're big fans we also have:


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