Note: I’m lending my impressions on this performance of the song specifically. The studio recording is somewhat different, but a lot of what I say here still stands with the original track.
I never thought there would be a point in my life where I would stumble upon “Gay Church Folk Music,” but then I opened up an album by The Hidden Cameras and was surprised at what I had found.
Joel Gibb, The Hidden Cameras’ frontman/songwriter, is, for lack of a better word, a giant pervert. This guy isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with the… down and dirty, discussing such topics as underage sex, drinking semen, and being peed on. The Hidden Cameras’ albums are usually filled to the brim with dark, perverted undertones that are subsequently drowned out by a buoyant choir and full orchestra.
But I’m not going to be talking about their albums as a whole. Instead I’m supposed to be talking about a specific song — “Breathe On It.” Now, I don’t really know what the song is about. Some speculate it’s about fellatio, some say it’s about being proud of your sexuality, some say it’s about individualism – again, I have no clue. I’m not here to analyze the words, just the sound, mainly because I’m too stupid to understand subtly.
“Breathe On It” is much like what I described in the above. The song sounds as though it has a dark, more serious meaning behind it, but is accompanied by the instrumentation that is far away on the other side of the field. It’s almost as if Joel originally wrote this song to have a different tone, but then the band came over to his house and fucked everything up. Everyone started playing cellos and violins and Joel just said, “Ah fuck it, this is fine.” Not to say this is a bad thing, the contrast between the words and the sound are actually kind of refreshing, even though I hardly ever listened to the words because I was too caught up in the instruments (you’ve probably heard this from me before).
SECOND TANGENT OF THE NEW BLOG: It’s odd. I say I’m not smart enough to understand the meaning behind this song, but it’s more that I don’t need to. I’m more inclined to just sit back and listen, because the feelings the song makes me experience are holding me in such a way that I don’t want to dig deeper. It’s ignorant, I know, but I believe that the most important part of music is the sound (when I say that aloud it just sounds painfully obvious), and I want to take my time and deal with that instead. If I’m interested enough in what you have to say, I might snap myself out of my trance to check that out.
“Breathe On It” holds me in the same manner. The song is larger than life, but at the same time grounded in some sense of reality. It starts out timid with Joel leading with his guitar and voice. As the chorus hits, the back up vocals and strings come into the mix. From there on they just keep adding to that, the back up choir becomes more persistent though the verses, the strings are a lot more prominent. At that moment, I stopped thinking about everything that was going on around me, and I became perfectly in sync with The Hidden Cameras’ performance. It was just me and the music. I soaked up everything I could. I was in tune with my senses. Every bit of rational thought I was capable of disappeared for a brief time.
This, I believe, is the affect every song should have on me. When I listen to a new track, I should be taken away from my reality. Each piece of music should be a gateway to a new world, filled with new sights, sounds, people, feelings. “Breathe On It,” for whatever reason, hit all of the right nerves. While listening to it, for the first time — as stupid as it sounds — I felt as if I was lifted away from all of my problems. For a series of minutes, I was in another place.
And it was a truly fabulous experience.
WINNER: “Breathe On It” by The Hidden Cameras
WHY: For giving Matt a new perspective on the power music can have over a person.