Howdy ladies and gentlemen! I’m a day late, but I’m back with my seventh “Sounds of Summer” entry. Thanks in advance for stopping by!
Rediscovering this particular tune was, without a doubt, a serious trip down memory lane. Last Tuesday, I was putt’n around on YouTube when I stumbled across a video for a song by Frou Frou. The band name rang a bell, and as soon as Imogen Heap’s voice came soaring out from my speakers, I was awash with awe and an aura of pure fulfillment. How long has it been since I last heard this song?
“Breathe In” is more than just a catchy electronic song. It is, in my book, the defining hit of the early 2000s. Though I can’t remember the first time I stumbled across this song, or even specific places where I heard it playing, my emotional brain readily filled in the gaps. Snaps fingers. I’m back in Odessa, my hometown, and twelve years old, living a life of mild angst and self-consciousness amidst all the oil fields and tumbleweeds. The summer sun is scorching, and I’m wondering when I’m ever gonna find myself. My true self.
For the rest of that light and airy Tuesday, a mixture of glee, wanderlust, and quiet contemplation clouded my mind as I sang along with Imogen. “And I…where was I? I have to be somewhere. Now where did I put it…?” The best part of it all? For the first time in months, I wasn’t reflexively trying to direct those lovelorn lyrics to anyone in particular. I lost myself in the notes and the beat, and the sudden self-awareness I felt was as refreshing as a burst of pine-scented mountain air.
I can’t help but smirk and giggle to myself, because “Breathe In” is, in my head, the very antithesis of a clichéd love song. For most of May, June, and July, I tossed and tumbled with grief and puppy love, both feeding into each other like an oil fire on the surface of a choppy sea. It made for a pretty unpleasant rollercoaster, but I finally decided to get off that ride. Where there was once resentment, jealousy, and a wounded sense of pride, I now feel mainly love, acceptance, and a sense of steady but peaceful self-defense. After all, what’s more beautiful than a love song that you sing with only yourself in mind?
“And I’m high enough from all the waiting…
to ride a wave on your inhaling”
We’re largely a culture of idealized romance, and the emphasis on falling in love with that special someone is overdone. I recognized that fact and cast it off into the ocean – and for the first time in months, I felt the cage door before me unlock. No more childish dreams of creating love out of the ashes of my recent losses. No more pining over imaginary leads that I made up with my mind, rather than discovered with my heart. Now I’m set on self-care, self-realization, and the creation of my own little atmosphere of carefree but sincere appreciation: for the world, my friends, and even the most trivial of my mistakes.
When Imogen sings, “Is this it? Is this it?”, I find it easy to part my lips and say, “Yup, it sure is.”