Last week’s New York Times investigation into Ryan Adams’ history of emotional abuse and continual vengeance enacted against women who scorned him included testimony from Phoebe Bridgers, who both dated and collaborated musically with the prolific singer-songwriter.
After Bridgers and Adams’ relationship soured on account of his obsessive, controlling behavior, Adams retracted the professional help he’d promised her; the music they recorded together was never released, and the offer to open his upcoming shows was rescinded. He giveth—and if you dump him, he taketh away.
Bridgers has been trying to sound the alarm on Adams for quite some time, without much success. Earlier this week, she tweeted about a time when Ryan Adams had negative comments about him removed from an interview she had given to Consequence of Sound; Adams reached out to the site directly and got them to amend the article.
As if all that wasn’t damning enough, allow us to remind you of Phoebe Bridges’ gorgeous song “Motion Sickness” off her debut album Stranger in the Alps, a scathing indictment of Adams’ cowardly antics. Pitchfork originally referred to it as a “breakup anthem,” though now we know it’s something far more nefarious. The track starts off with a bang: Bridgers tells Adams “I hate you for what you did,” then follows it up with an assurance that she “faked it every time.” Ouch.
Perhaps the most vicious insults come toward the back of the track, when Phoebe mocks Adams’ phoniness (“Why do you sing with an English accent? / I guess it’s too late to change it now”) and—after he’s told her he was bored when they met and dated—she taunts the singer (who is twenty years her senior), that “you were in a band when I was born.” As if to say, I’m half your age and every bit as talented.
But when Bridgers sings sadly on the chorus, “There are no words in the English language / I could scream to drown you out,” she's wrong. Adams was drowned out last week by the voices of women in the music industry, harmonizing in fury and in liberation.