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Exploring Phoebe Bridgers' song 'Demi Moore'

‘Demi Moore’ is a fan favourite of Phoebe Bridgers fans. A mellow piece of indie rock, it features Bridgers’ unmistakable vocals and although it sounds, at face value, like an introspective, almost Elliot Smith-esque piece, it is actually characterised by some of her most complex and sardonic lyrics. 

Obviously, the burning question on everybody’s minds has always been concerning what the song is actually about. Taken from her 2017 album Stranger in the Alps, the song has remained a mystifying topic amongst diehard Bridgers stans. One account from Madison North goes into much depth about the feelings that fuel the song.

On her blog, she believes that the song focuses on “how we often mistake sex and desirability for loneliness.” We can see where North got the idea, particularly given the lyrics in the first verse: “Take a dirty picture, babe / I can’t sleep and I miss your face”. 

She hits the nail on the head. Bridgers certainly seems to take a cutting, thinly-veiled dig at misogyny, and how it is enabled by the internet and social media. The lyrics in the first verse clearly discuss men trying to manipulate women into sending them sexual pictures: “In my hands and in my knees / Tell me what you wanna do to me / Tell me what you’ll do, please”.

Bridgers concisely sums up the subject with her lyrics, they’re so brilliant and to the point that there is no real alternative as to what they’re about. The sweet-talking snake of a man using his charm for one thing only — sexual gratification.

Unfortunately, the story Bridgers tells at the song’s inception is one we’re all too familiar with, but it’s thanks to artists like Bridgers, who use their platform to call out men such as Ryan Adams for their behaviour, that things are changing.

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So where does the Demi Moore aspect come in? Well, in the traditional Bridgers way, the lyrics after the first couple of verses seem to be a rather free-form exercise. It turns out that the title of the song was not inspired by the Ghost actress at all, rather, something a lot more humorous.

In an interview with Ones to Watch in 2018, Bridgers was asked about the inspiration for the song title. To which she responded: “When I say ‘stoned anymore,’ it sounds like I’m saying ‘stone Demi Moore’.”

There we have it. The song is typically Bridgers. It manages to touch on one of the most important subjects of our age whilst also managing to conjure an image of the indie heroine stoning the ex-wife of Ashton Kutcher. Brilliant.

Listen to ‘Demi Moore’ below.