A Song Analysis of Breathe by Anna Nalick

Okay, so here’s a new type of post for you. (And I’ll be doing more of them in the future, too!)
Okay, so… you know how the time changes tonight/tomorrow morning??? Well, if you don’t live somewhere where there’s daylight savings time and spring forward/fall back changes (which I’m not really sure if there’s anywhere where that’s not a thing, but what do I know?), then I’ll just tell you that, at least where I live, everyone is gonna lose an hour of time when all the offical clocks change at 2 a.m. Which, conveniently, is also the sub-title of the song that’s been stuck in my head for almost a week now.
And that song is Breathe (2 a.m.) by Anna Nalick. A classic that was released way back in 2005, which oddly doesn’t feel like it was 12 years ago… but it was.
Anyway, before I get started on my little analysis, since I’ve never done this here before, I’ll explain the basis of what I’m doing and… well, why.
This post is going to be tagged under ‘Story Reviews’, a category where I plan to… well, pile up any story reviews I do, such as books (not as likely to be reviewed because I don’t actually read that much…), movies, or, get this, songs. So… why, again, you ask? Well, I would strongly argue that songs and music, even those forms without words (although I’m not likely to review those here… because that would be… just hard), are another way for stories to be told. And, of course, I’m a writer; I literally live for stories!
So, without wasting any more time, I’m just gonna go on ahead and do my thing with this little song review.
First, I’ll post the lyrics in whole with my own commentary put in (parentheses) along with it, and then, after that, I’ll do my own short analysis of the storyline down below. So… here we go!
Breathe (2 a.m.) lyrics by Anna Nalick (provided by azlyrics.com):
2 AM and she calls me ’cause I’m still awake,
(Can’t we all relate?)
“Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?,
I don’t love him. Winter just wasn’t my season”
(Winter’s actually my favorite season.)
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize,
Hypocrites. You’re all here for the very same reason
(Amen.)
(Now… some words with some deeper meanings)

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable

(My interpretation- you can’t get ahead of your life before it’s ready for you)
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
(Time is always moving and no one can stop it)
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
(And time can never go backwards)
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe
(So… just breathe)

May he turned 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
“Just a day” he said down to the flask in his fist,
“Ain’t been sober, since maybe October of last year.”
Here in town you can tell he’s been down for a while,
But, my God, it’s so beautiful when the boy smiles,
Wanna hold him. Maybe I’ll just sing about it.

(This part got me thinking that Anna is singing completely about a guy she’s had a crush on for a while… but doesn’t know if his problems are too much to handle if she were with him)
(And chorus again)

Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out

(I really like this line- it’s a creative way to describe hopelessness)
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you’d only try turning around.
(If you try to go back out of the tunnel, you’ll end up redoing every mistake you made on the way in)

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song

(I’m a writer that writes songs, too, I can definitely relate… actually, anything I write can keep me up well past 2 in the morning)
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
(This is exactly how writing feels, too, trust me, haha)
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to
(I’m pretty sure this is referring to how personal the lyrics you can write can be to yourself and the want, at least from Anna, to share that with others and help them however you can with your words. And that, I think, can be very powerful.)
But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
woah breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.
Okay, that’s the end! Well… of the song. Now comes the hard part.
I noticed a few more details about this song after really reading through the lyrics than I did actually just listening to the song on repeat for 5 days, surprisingly, but I’m still going to stick the general thoughts I formulated the first few listens I had.
Overall, I believe the underlying message in this piece is that everyone has their problems, nobody has a perfect life, even if it seems like they do, and everyone feels hopeless at times. The only thing you can do to move forwards, then, is to just stop, take a moment, and just breathe. The friend Anna describes in the beginning was having a trouble with, I assume, a significant other that… well, wasn’t as significant as she had thought, and the boy with the slight drinking problem that Anna probably had the hots for each had their own set of challenges to work their way through. Anna herself has her own, too, I would imply. What I love about what she has to say/sing about it, though, is that it’s simple.
Again, just breathe.
I think I’ve said enough for tonight, now. God, I feel like I just wrote an essay for the music history class I took a semster ago. Anyway, I’ll leave you with just enough to make you think and form your own interpretations, okay?
Let me know what you think about the song, my interpretation, your own, how your cat is doing, how your dinner was, what you think about neon pants… or anything else.
Talk to y’all later!
-iKari
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