Meaning of “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers portrays the intense emotional struggle following a tumultuous relationship. It’s about the lingering impacts of emotional abuse and the contrasting feelings of hatred and longing. The songwriter, Phoebe Bridgers, delves deep into her personal experiences and possibly references her relationship with another musician. It is a raw and candid reflection on vulnerability, pain, and the pursuit of healing. Bridgers wrote this song as a cathartic expression of her emotions and to shed light on the complexities of human relationships.

Dive in if you want to explore the hidden meanings and the deep emotions tucked within the verses of “Motion Sickness.”

“Motion Sickness” Lyrics Meaning

In “Motion Sickness,” Phoebe Bridgers orchestrates a symphony of raw emotion and vivid imagery, allowing listeners to peek into her world. The lyric “I hate you for what you did and I miss you like a little kid” swiftly sets the tone, demonstrating the duality of emotions one experiences post-breakup, oscillating between resentment and a lingering longing.

The mention of “fifteen hundred” to see a “hypnotherapist” and the subsequent falling on “hard times” symbolizes attempts at healing and the inevitable confrontations with financial and emotional hardships. This serves as a metaphorical journey through emotional turbulence and the strenuous efforts to find solace and closure.

The chorus, “I have emotional motion sickness, Somebody roll the windows down,” vividly encapsulates the essence of feeling trapped within one’s emotional turmoil, seeking an escape or relief from overwhelming sensations. The mention of “no words in the English language I could scream to drown you out” emphasizes the depth of her anguish, an agony so profound that words fall short of expressing it adequately.

“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,” paints a graphic image of self-destructive behavior and signifies Bridgers’ realization of escaping an abusive environment and her mixed feelings of relief and sorrow over the situation.

The lines, “Hey, why do you sing with an English accent? I guess it’s too late to change it now,” could be a more direct reference to her ex-partner, hinting at the facade or the altered persona adopted, contributing to the song’s overall theme of deception and unmasking of true selves.

“You said when you met me you were bored, and you, you were in a band when I was born,” subtly sheds light on the age difference between Bridgers and her ex, pointing out the stark contrast in their life phases when they met and perhaps indicating an imbalance in their relationship dynamic.

Finally, “I try to stay clean and live without, and I want to know what would happen if I surrender to the sound,” signifies Bridgers’ struggle to move on and her contemplation of succumbing to the emotions, the “sound” being a metaphor for her deep-seated feelings and the echoes of her past relationship.

Why Was “Motion Sickness” Written?

Phoebe Bridgers penned “Motion Sickness” in a phase of introspection and emotional unburdening. The song becomes a medium for her to navigate through her tangled emotions, addressing her past experiences and her journey towards self-recovery. The state of mind during its creation was a concoction of resentment, longing, self-discovery, and a craving for closure and emancipation.

By laying bare her soul, Bridgers allows the listeners to relate to her pain and vulnerability, providing them with a shared experience of emotional upheaval and the constant battle between holding on and letting go. The deep reflections and confessions in the lyrics highlight the aftermath of a troublesome relationship and the pursuit of self-healing and acceptance.