bbtmn

Breathe

Monday 15th November 2010

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

This is one of my absolute favourite songs. It’s the first proper song from Dark Side of the Moon, and what a way to kick that album off! It starts with Speak To Me, which is essentially a heartbeat (actually a drum) which steadily gets louder, with loads of other sound effects and snippets and which is quite hard to explain. It all builds up until the start of Breathe. With that crisp bass riff, the sumptuous pedal steel guitar, the soft drum beat… It just washes over you, this lovely warm, laid back sound. And then a minute or so later the singing kicks in; David Gilmour softly singing, with this tone of… resignation almost, which is compelling but at the same time slightly contrasting with the feel of the music. It’s captivating.

I think it’s interesting how my music listening habits have changed over the years. In the past I used to listen to it all the time, but now not so much. For instance when I want to concentrate on something (like work, or when I’m reading), I generally find it trickier to do that now with music on. I sometimes get away with putting certain types of music on when I work, but generally that’s music that I’m not hugely keen on otherwise I’d start paying more attention to that! This is one of the reasons why I don’t listen to things like Pink Floyd all that much any more; it requires me to decide to stop and listen to music rather than just putting it on in the background.

Run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is down
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave

The second verse is more cynical than the first, perhaps even bitter. The ideas of work never stopping; racing towards an early grave. I suppose it’s an expression of dissatisfaction with the drudgery of everyday life, but still with that luscious, warm sound which envelopes you as you listen. And still with the tone of resignation in Gilmour’s voice.

The upshot, I suppose, is that I probably spend more time listening to music these days. I mean really listening, as opposed to merely having it on in the background. It’s great to go somewhere quiet with a decent pair of headphones, stick an album on and then lose myself in the music, although I don’t even do that all too frequently now. I generally listen for a short period between doing other things, because I don’t always have an hour or so to dedicate to listening to an album. And that’s something I never thought I’d do, actually. A few years ago I pretty much only listened to albums in their entirety, because it sort of puts music in context; listening to one song is almost like reading just one chapter of a book. I was probably a bit snobbish about it really, but now I’m less averse to just listening to the songs I want to listen to.

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

And later, of course, the encore. It’s the same again. This comes just after Time, and we go from hearing about how “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, to this. It’s almost like a temporary respite, a shelter from a harsh realities of life. And it really is temporary, because the encore only lasts a small amount of time before The Great Gig in the Sky, which is an absolutely perfect piece of music.

It’s nice how my tastes have diversified too. There’s a whole heap of stuff that I enjoy listening to now, much more so than a few years ago. And I absolutely love listening to music I haven’t heard before, especially when I discover a track or an album which sticks. I find that every now and again there’s a song which I get hopelessly addicted to and end up playing over and over again. Which means I associate those songs with times. For instance The High Road by Broken Bells brings back strong memories of writing my dissertation back in April, because I listened to it during my writing breaks.

But then, every now and again I return to music that I’ve known and loved for years. Things like Breathe, Tunnel of Love, Goodbye Stranger. And I remember that I’ve not listened to them for ages and why I really like them. And the familiarity is, in a way, comforting; like meeting up with an old friend. Tis a good thing.

Posted at 4:31 am | Posted In: MusicSleep Tagged:

2 Comments:

Lucy

Monday 15th November 2010, 9:32 pm

:-)

Flix

Tuesday 16th November 2010, 11:10 am

Yup. Except replace Pink Floyd with…something else.

Write a comment: