Song of the Day: Phoebe Bridgers - Motion Sickness

Song of the Day, The Morning Show w/ John Richards
09/27/2017
Andrew Hackett
photo by Frank Ockenfels

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers from the 2017 album Stranger in the Alps on Dead Oceans.

Phoebe Bridgers - Motion Sickness (MP3)

When reading about Phoebe Bridgers, one will immediately discover that the 23-year-old is a fan of Saddle Creek-era emo and has been promoted by the very same Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis who are so famously associated with the earnest-as-hell record label. Her first single was recorded by Ryan Adams who admired her songwriting. One of her early tours was as the opener for the fellow Saddle Creek-loving, and incredible, Julien Baker.  I suppose it’s not that surprising to see that younger listeners are connecting with that specific movement.

Bands like Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley were the most overtly political voices in youth music in the early 2000s, exploring themes of sexuality, hedonism, love, religion, and the Bush-era topics related to the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers share similar voices that explore vulnerability with courage and seriousness. (It’s also interesting to note that another powerful female voice in emo-ish rock belongs to the wonderful Hop Along who just happen to be signed to Saddle Creek.)

“Motion Sickness” is a love-hate song that chooses honesty about heartbreak as opposed to vindictive bitterness towards a past lover. This type of genuine expression of suffering lines her up with her heroes who weren’t afraid of exposing their inner realities to the outside world.  The music allies with the hurt through smooth, silky, generous hooks. This is what catharsis through songwriting is all about. The listener is reminded, through the lyrics and melody, that the pain in romantic loss can be overcome through honesty and forgiveness.

Phoebe Bridgers will be opening for The War On Drugs at The Moore Theater on Monday, October 9th and Tuesday, October 10th. In the meantime, check out the video for today's Song of the Day below.

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