This post contains plot details from the first season of Netflix’s Bridgerton, and also makes use of the term “duke-fucking sleeves.” Proceed with caution.
The least surprising news of 2021 has to be Netflix’s renewal of Bridgerton, the steamy Shondaland adaptation of Julia Quinn’s series of romance novels, for a second season. (Other unsurprising developments in contention: Michelle Obama looking fabulous at the Biden inauguration, fireworks going off as Katy Perry sang “Firework” at a concert celebrating said inauguration, and this being no time for No Time To Die.) It’s obvious the show was a huge hit for the streamer, although as always, the figures shared by the ‘Flix folks should be taken with an unusually large grain of salt. Here, however, are numbers less shrouded in mystery and mumbo-jumbo: Bridgerton’s popularity has made JPLOND’s “The End,” a song prominently featured in one of the show’s sex scenes, a massive hit as well.
Buzzfeed reports that “The End” has been streamed over a million times by Regency-era horndogs (™ Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe) on Spotify alone since Bridgerton premiered on Christmas Day. In contrast, as Buzzfeed notes, JPOLND’s second-most popular song on Spotify, a cover of Rolling Stone’s “Wild Horses,” comes in at just under 19,000 streams. And Spotify isn’t the only place Bridgerton fans have sought the tune: between repeat viewings and time spent searching for a long white nightgown with duke-fucking sleeves , they’ve also put the song “at the top of Shazam’s US discovery chart, which tracks the most popular songs that the app’s users are trying to identify.”
Of course, the scene in which the song features wouldn’t (like Bridgerton itself) be a thing-people-love-online if it weren’t more complicated and troubling than it might seem at first glance. Here’s Buzzfeed on the scene, which features Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page):
One of the show’s pivotal — and most controversial — moments [...] occurs in Episode 6, when (spoiler!) Daphne and Simon are getting hot and heavy and she prevents him from pulling out in an attempt to conceive a child, despite his desire not to become a father.
As many viewers pointed out, this is an act of marital rape that isn’t fully addressed in the rest of the show (Vox published a great breakdown and analysis of the scene, if you’d like to read more about this).
But back to that JPOLND ditty. What’s most impressive about those streaming figures is that the song is not included in the show’s official Spotify playlist. Nor does it appear in many published lists of the Bridgerton soundtrack. So listeners had to do the ol’-fashioned lyrics google search to find it out.
Buzzfeed’s piece on the song’s popularity also includes an interview with Jessica Vaughn, the artist behind the track, and it is well worth your time.
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