When I first listened to “moon girlfriend” by bedroom indie pop artist Spilly Cave, I misunderstood the song. I sat on my back porch with my earbuds in, watching the trees glitter and the sun move across the yard, and I latched onto the song’s reoccuring lyrical mantra: “When shit gets cold, I’m okay.” I wrote half a paragraph about the casual hopefulness of the track, its bright soundscape, its simplistic encouragement before I realized that I missed something vital. The full line isn’t “When shit gets cold, I’m okay.” That phrase is the second half of a much darker sentence, beginning with “wish I could say.” As in, “wish I could say when shit gets cold, I’m okay.” Which, as you can imagine, fundamentally rewired my understanding of how this song works.
The first half of that line is unassuming. The delivery of “wish I could say” nearly dissolves beneath the certainty with which “when shit gets cold, I’m okay” is sung. The sunny, upbeat soundscape and muffled vocals pull us even further away from the truth of that full sentence. This stylistic choice seems, at least to me, intentional. It does something very interesting in the context of the song’s lyrical story: the speaker is described as dodging their emotions, writing off their troubles as “just another hole in the wall” since “watershed moments happen to us all.” From that perspective, the song draws the listener’s focus away from the narrator’s anxiety by casting attention on the catchy, bouncy second half of that line. It is an in-character production choice, as though the speaker is attempting to feign confidence even as their “busy head [is] spinning all around.”
The lyrical structure is otherwise relatively simple. The lines frequently repeat themselves with a continued emphasis on “when shit gets cold, I’m okay.” This creates a (perhaps misleading) sense of comfort and encouragement for the listener–you will likely feel as though you’ve accidentally slipped into someone else’s mind, a shimmering and strange parallel universe where the windows are always open and the leaves never change, where the cold is more of a concept than a feeling. But beware! Multiplicity of meaning abounds, and as we have discussed, this song is more than a cheerful mantra.
The atmospheric ending of “moon girlfriend” mirrors the beginning so that the song seems to loop back in on itself, a sort of time loop that I wouldn’t mind getting caught in. Although Spilly Cave has not released a new album since 2019, you can definitely sense the band’s ear for full length stories. I, for one, can’t wait to see how “moon girlfriend” transitions into the track that follows it on the album.
“moon girlfriend” is a bright, clever song that will fit alongside mega indie bands like Wallows on your summer playlist. Come for the addictive soundscape and infectious beat. Stay for the anxious undertones and killer production.