Hold Your Breath Underwater

Hold Your Breath Underwater


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1, 2, 3, Drop the anchor, he
made believe my love would do
Said “we’ll be here til the end of time”
but meant… til the end… of you

4, 5, 6, Into to the abyss
Your words were not true
Float me out in a tiny boat
then drown me in the blue

I’ll hold my breath underwater
Mmm mmm mmm mmm
Hold my breath underwater
Mmm mmm mmm mmm

7, 8, 9, To my underwater shrine
Shipwrecked once we were married
Empty womb in an empty tomb
where I… will stay… buried

10,11,12, None will ever delve
To find my destiny
but when, my dear, someone does to you
what you did to me

Just hold your breath underwater
Mmm mmm mmm mmm
Hold your breath underwater
Mmm mmm mmm mmm


Uh, did I just write a sea shanty?

Like many of my best songs, this one started with a melody. But, where you now hear ‘Hold Your Breath’ underwater, the lyric was originally ‘Master, Tighten the Collar’, and the verses were commentaries on consumerism. I decided I wasn’t in the mood to tackle a political song right now, so I hummed my way into changing the chorus and re-envisioning the verses as a ‘Death at Sea’ tale. So, I formed this little story song about a woman whose husband drowned her at sea, because she could not bare his child. She now lays in her watery tomb imagining a revenge that he would meet the same fate.

The vocal performance here is perhaps my favorite to date. I am pleased with the high and low iterations of the chorus, but the vibrato is what really stands out to me, and it was not pre-planned. During the recording, I just naturally began to ‘shiver’ my voice, as if I was cold. In the deconstructed versions, you can actually hear my teeth chattering. I was pleased with this happy accident, and I think it adds character and depth to the overall piece.

The composition of ‘Hold Your Breath Underwater’ is similar to ‘Music is Mantra’, because it has a chant-like quality. There are 2 short verses at the beginning, and the rest is a slow building of chorus layers. This style particularly pleases me, because it requires the patience of the listener. Your patience is rewarded with the slow discovery of many new variations on the chorus, that all come together in an emotional crescendo. This is a song that can be listened to over and over again, with new appreciation for the nuances each time.


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