Phoebe Bridgers Disses Eric Clapton, Why?
A few days ago, Phoebe Bridgers found the need to explain a line of one of her songs, as if this had required any explanation. I am talking about the line in ‘Moon Song:’ ‘We hate ‘Tears in Heaven’/ But it’s sad that his baby died,’ which is obviously directed at Eric Clapton who wrote ‘Tears in Heaven’ when his son died in 1991. I know that most millennials were not even born yet, but I don’t find the line cryptic enough to require an explanation. On a side note, I am not a fan of singer-songwriters who explain their lyrics, it kills the mystery, not that there is ever any mystery with Bridgers’ lyrics in the first place.
She nevertheless explained it in a new interview with Double J:
‘I have such an Eric Clapton rant because I think it’s just extremely mediocre music, but also he’s a famous racist.’
‘Sometimes I think people are too problematic to be canceled, or not relevant enough to be canceled,’ she added. ‘I mean, it wouldn’t even make news if he said something racist today, because he went on a racist rant in the 60s or 70s that was very famous.’
‘The lyric used to be, ‘we hate Eric ClaptonThe lyric used to be, ‘we hate Eric Clapton’. It’s actually kind of worse now. Because it’s the dead baby song, which is a heartbreaking song. If I were to pick an Eric Clapton song, it’s up there with the ones that I actually like. So, it’s kind of a lie on the record, but it sounds more poetic.’
Let’s unfold this. I am certainly not a fan of Clapton and I know about his 1976 racist rant, but for some reason, this out-of-the-blue attack doesn’t sit well with me. First of all, I agree that Clapton hasn’t been relevant for a while so why suddenly attacking him unless you want the boomers to google your name? Then Phoebe confuses 2 things like a good millennial she is, she seems to hate his music (it’s fine but it’s irrelevant) then she hates the guy because he is a racist, but then she admits she kind of likes the song she namechecks in her song. What a mess. It sounds that she mostly hates the music because she hates the guy, and this truly sums up what is wrong with this generation.
Plus, she seems to ignore that Clapton apologized, admitted to have had drug and alcohol addiction, and has also demonstrated some growth and change with this declaration ‘I was so ashamed of who I was, a kind of semi-racist, which didn’t make sense. Half of my friends were black, I dated a black woman, and I championed black music.’ This is probably ignored because not judged sincere enough or whatever… redemption is not in the millennial agenda, once condemned and labeled, it’s over.
But does Bridgers know about Clapton and BB King’s long friendship? Does she know that BB King said about Clapton: ‘But he’s like my girlfriend—he can persuade me to do anything he wants?’ Does she know that Clapton admired Jimi Hendrix and the two men became friends?
The most curious declaration comes from this other interview with UPROXX, where she declared when talking about Clapton’s catalog, ‘It’s just so fucking white.’ Didn’t Clapton play a lot of blues, so basically Black music? She could have accused him to whitewash Black music but this isn’t even what she is saying there… And it is a curious statement coming from someone who plays very white music, indie folk white but definitively white. What the hell was she talking about?
Bridgers’ anti-Clapton rant sounded quite arrogant, she has been on the scene for 2 minutes and disses a veteran musician she has never met based on the selected reading she has done about him. Clapton’s long career and numerous recording sessions are a testimony, even though I find him boring and have never been a fan, her rant was completely uncalled. It was as if she was asking for attention from a crowd that doesn’t even know she exists. She could have stopped at the lyrics of the song but explaining at great length, in several interviews, how much she hates Clapton sounded very calculated to me. But it would not be the first time Phoebe Bridgers tries to build her career out of someone else’s fame.