Phoebe Bridgers – “Motion Sickness” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” is a raw exploration of the emotional chaos that follows a difficult breakup. Bridgers dives deep into the confusing feelings of both missing someone and resenting them. Through lines like, “I hate you for what you did, And I miss you like a little kid,” she captures the whirlpool of emotions one goes through when navigating the end of a relationship. The song delves into emotional dependency, therapy, and even the absurdities like arguing over accents. Bridgers wrote this song as a way to process her mixed feelings and find some semblance of emotional balance.

Curious about how Phoebe Bridgers tackles the mess of emotions after a breakup? Stick around as we dissect “Motion Sickness” and reveal the hidden layers of meaning in each lyric.

“Motion Sickness” Lyrics Meaning

The song starts with a bang: “I hate you for what you did, And I miss you like a little kid.” In just one line, Bridgers sets the stage for a post-breakup emotional battleground. She admits that her feelings were not entirely genuine, saying, “I faked it every time, but that’s alright.” This line shows a sense of emotional detachment, a coping mechanism perhaps.

The following lines, “You gave me fifteen hundred to see your hypnotherapist / I only went one time, you let it slide,” bring up the theme of emotional and even financial dependency. One person is willing to invest in therapy to salvage the relationship, while the other is emotionally distant, just sliding by.

“I have emotional motion sickness, Somebody roll the windows down,” she sings, coining a perfect term for the emotional disorientation she feels. It’s like being trapped in a car on a winding road, wanting to escape but not knowing how.

Bridgers also makes it clear that words fall short: “There are no words in the English language, I could scream to drown you out.” When emotions are this overwhelming, sometimes language just can’t capture the depth of your feelings.

Further on, “You said when you met me you were bored, And you, you were in a band when I was born,” illustrates the age and emotional maturity gap between the two, adding another layer of complexity to the already complicated relationship.

Lastly, “I try to stay clean and live without, And I want to know what would happen, If I surrender to the sound.” Bridgers is contemplating what life would be like if she gave in to her emotions, surrendering to the sound, the noise in her head, instead of constantly fighting it.

The Story Behind “Motion Sickness”

When Phoebe Bridgers penned “Motion Sickness,” she was navigating the muddy waters of emotional turmoil. The song has been widely interpreted as being about her relationship with fellow musician Ryan Adams, although Bridgers herself has never confirmed this. Regardless of its origin, the song serves as an emotional catharsis for anyone who has been through a painful, confusing breakup.

In interviews, Bridgers has discussed her complex relationship with vulnerability. She often uses her songs as a way to confront her feelings, crafting narratives that feel both deeply personal and universally relatable. She lays bare the emotional contradictions that define human relationships, and it’s this unabashed honesty that makes her songwriting so compelling.

In “Motion Sickness,” Bridgers was in a state of emotional reckoning. She had to confront her feelings, her past, and her sense of self. Through the song, she navigates this emotional landscape, giving us a map of her mind during this challenging time. Each lyric is a stop along the way, a landmark in her journey toward emotional clarity.

The raw emotion captured in “Motion Sickness” makes it a haunting yet therapeutic experience for the listener. Bridgers shows us that it’s okay not to have it all figured out and that sometimes the best way to understand your feelings is to let yourself feel them in all their messy, contradictory glory.