The air is purple. I think that’s a line from “Werewolves of London.” Excuse me? I’m being told the line is “His hair was perfect.” Oh well, no matter. The air is indeed purple. Therefore, we here at 360°Sound hope that you’re breathing through a mask when you’re inside a public place or in a crowded outdoor location. It helps and it’s important.
We would actually like to give you a mask. These are 100% cotton, high-quality masks made by hand by my sister. She lives in rural Texas and has made hundreds of masks for GPs in her area who have had difficulty acquiring PPE for their family practices.
Our late mother was an avid quilter and she left behind scads of quilting fabric, which Robin used to make these masks. The fabric she used to make these particular masks, my mother purchased in Brixton in south London. I took her on a tour of England to see her family, and I personally carried this damn fabric all around Old Blighty. Yeah, this is personal.
We only have a few of these things, but all you have to do is email me on email@example.com to get one. The first five people who contact me will get a mask. No charge. No shipping fee. Free (well, we will need your shipping address). We trust you will wear it in good health.
But wait, there’s more! Take a deep breath, then take a look at our list of songs that refer to breathing. Oddly, I keep going back to the very last one…
“Breathe Me” – Sia
I was actually introduced to Sia through My Little Pony. (OK, that’s a whole nuther story.) This track feels quite appropriate for our current state. It’s fragile, in need, breaking. And she’s right, “There’s no one else to blame.”
“Exit Music (for a Film)” – Radiohead
Man, this lyric is loaded with portent. It feels like something momentous or calamitous is about to happen. I ran this video with the sound off, and I swear the guy in the crowd at 3:30ish is in agony. I feel you, brother.
“Try Not to Breathe” – REM
I always thought that the line near the end of this song was “dare me to breathe” (at 2:50 in this video). With some close headphone listening (and subsequent lyric search) the line is clearly “don’t dare me to breathe.” That subtle shift makes this track resonate more with me. And I love Pete’s little feedbacky transition at 2:37.
“Lose My Breath” – Destiny’s Child
I found an appreciation for Destiny’s Child sitting at a hash cafe in Amsterdam. I was alone and I asked the shopkeeper what was playing. He said, “Destiny’s Child.” And my world changed a little. Today, these lyrics strike me differently. “Now I see where believing you got me.” And later, “It ain’t you boo, so get ta steppin’.” A weary nation can dream.
“Take a Breath” – David Gilmour
Not only do I dig this live recording of “Take a Breath,” I love that he performed in the Gdansk Shipyard to celebrate the founding of the Solidarity trade union. There is archival film footage of events associated with that founding shown during the instrumental break. Gilmour’s Pink Floyd bandmate, Rick Wright, is on keyboards, in one of his last performances.
“The Trick is to Keep Breathing” – Garbage
When Shirley looks right at me and assures me that the trick is to keep breathing, I believe that I can. This is a great-sounding recording, with Shirley on top of her game back in her hometown of Edinburgh. This tune is groovy af, and I can’t resist the line, “Now everything’s about to fall apart.”
“The Ocean Breathes Salty” – Modest Mouse
“The more we move ahead the more we’re stuck in rewind.” Sounds familiar to me. I actually have no idea what this song is about, but it’s super groovy and the video is cool. The image of the kid playing catch with a scarecrow is poignant as hell.
“The Orange Breath” – Tangerine Dream
Typically known for inducing a deep, pleasant relaxation, all while noticeably improving your mood. This description for a strain of cannabis called Orange Kush Breath that I found while looking up more information about this track, is a pretty accurate description of this track. Plus… the title? C’mon, are you kidding me?
“Breath of Life” – Florence + the Machine
“A little of vision of the start and the end” would be quite nice, wunnit, Ms. Welch? This song seems to be about choices and loss. The battery that is the Machine provides a percussive catharsis in the face of growing anxiety.
“Just Breathe” – Pearl Jam
These guys have been at this for 30 years – grinding it out on the road. There’s a joy that’s woven in amongst the longing and loss in this lyric, a joy that comes from knowing you can trust the people you’re doing it with. It’s a joy that comes from knowing you’re a fool, you see?
Bonus tune alert!
“Don’t Hold Your Breath” – Wookiefoot
This Afro-Celt world beat guided meditation has taken over this playlist. Say it with me now, “Breathe it in. Breathe it out.”
Let’s not stop caring for each other. Always return to the breath. Let me know if you want a mask. Thanks.