Monday, October 8, 2007

Stop Breathin'

I always thought this song was about a poor soldier coming to his end while fighting in the trenches of World War I, then someone suggested that it had more to do with losing a tennis match. Now, I don't know what to think.

That first volley could be a bombardment from the enemy that leaves our hero's corps depleted and running for cover. The protagonist does not make it out, but is somewhat thankful to not have to deal with the endless rounds of artillery dropped on his position. He's given up as he feels his life fading. The song even has this lullaby feel as if to see the dieing soldier is drifting off for the last time.

Then, suddenly he fights the medics as they struggle to keep lead character alive. He doesn't want to go on; he wants it to be over.

The other theory is that it's a similarly slow death only this time it's a tennis star losing an important match. He's tired of the endless play. He wishes his defeat would just come already. After he loses his final match, like the soldier, he will be forgotten, left alone to live out his days without the pressures of a professional tennis career to weigh on his conscience.

Either way, the protagonist just wants to be left alone to wallow in his own misery.


Ian said...

"Although it's about war, there's a deliberate double entendre about volleys and tennis. The title is supposed to be being shouted by some challenger who's losing in the U.S. Open. You know how they start getting upset at the slightest noise? Well, he's telling the crowd to 'stop breathing'. Literally." - SM

(ganked from SongMeanings, so no idea if it's real - sounds plausible, though)

comoprozac said...

This must have been where I heard that from. Thanks, Ian.

douglas said...

I enjoyed this one. NEVER knew it was about a freakin' tennis match, but now I picture Richie from the Royal Tennembaums when he melted down at Wimbeldon b/c he's in love w/ his sister who is in the stands w/ her new hubbie. The reason I'm posting here is b/c your current poll makes no sense (and yes I'm one of the two who have voted). How can The Fall rip off Pavement? Seriously. Explain, please. While you're at it, how can the Silver Jews rip off Pavement when Dave Berman played a part in the formation of Pavement and SM is at least part-time in the Silver Jews? I voted for My Chemical Romance even though I have no idea who they are. The fourth choice might as well have been Pavement.

comoprozac said...

Thanks for the visual. Someone way smarter than I should make a YouTube video pairing these images with "Stop Breathin'"

I know that the poll makes little sense. It was meant as a joke, but like email (and blogs), the tone of the message is lost.

Thanks for commenting (and voting) anyway.

douglas said...

ah, gotcha. i re-read my comment and realize it sounds a little surly, which i didn't mean. i've been re-listening to "stop breathin" since your first post. pavement has been interesting for me b/c for a while i loved each record even more than the last as i progressed, but the sad, slow songs on Slanted are currently my favs (also been re-listening quite a bit to the slow ones on disk two of the Deluxe Crooked Rain).