alt-J: Breezeblocks Meaning
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Song Released: 2012
But hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks
Cetirizine your fever's gripped me again
Never kisses—all you ever send are full stops, la, la, la
Do you know where the wild things go?
anonymous Nov 13th, 11:54pm report
I think the girl in the closet is the secret lover and the wife finds out and shes pissed! The fighting in the video represents arguments. Hence (Break down now weep build up breakfast now
Let's eat) going to bed angry and still waking up to your wife and starting all over again. Basically he loves them both. (She bruises coughs she splutters pistol shots
But hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks) the wife says mean things to her cheating husband says she want to leave which feel painful like pistol shots. So he has to do whatever to make her stay. (Germaline disinfect the scene my love my love love love
But please don't go I love you so my lovely) he has to cover up his cheating and constantly fails so ends up begging wife to stay. Upon writing this I think he might not love the other girl but he is a "wild thing" "and can help himself" .. (Citrezene your fever's gripped me again
Never kisses all you ever send are fullstops,) since everything else adds up to me this could mean he is made "sick" (annoyed) by the wife because she doesnt show him any love driving him to cheat. And that leaves the (queen of my vaccine) part could either be the girl he is cheating with or him telling the wife you're all I want please stay. And the death of the wife character at the end is her leaving him.
I feel like the lyrics make a whole lot more sense when you watch the video as well.
On the other hand, a male voice (Joe Newman) sings the first line "SHE may contain the urge to run away, but hold HER down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks."
That strongly implies that a male character restrains a female, not allowing HER to 'run away'.
This fits in with the music video, but not played forwards,played backwards, like it originally does. When it's played backwards, the man in the video seems like the psychotic aggressor, killing the first woman with a Breezeblock, and taping the second womans mouth with duct tape, before leaving her crying in and bound in a closet.
What needs to be remembered is, that everything is played in reverse. If you watch the video played forwards, like it would happen in real life, it paints a whole other picture. Played forwards, we see a man arriving to what is assumed to be his home (as he seems very familiar with his surroundings) and finds what I assume to be his wife, bound and crying in the closet. The man as well as the bound woman, carry weddings rings, so I strongly assume they're married.
Furthermore, the bound woman seems very relieved by the man's arrival and he looks at her with concerned and soft eyes. The bound woman is then seen looking very distressed as she looks behind the man, at the angry woman, discreetly trying to advance towards the man with a knife in her hand.
This clearly presents the scene in a different light, now with the man being the victim, and actually the fighting woman as the aggressor.
If you were only to hear the song without the visuals, a male vocalist sings about having an almost obsession with a woman. But if you see the video, the fighting woman can be interpreted as having an obession with the couple, more specifically the man. So in the video, woman obsessed with man, but in the lyrics, man obsessed with woman.
I'll now try to break down the lyrics as best as I can, with the way I interpreted it. I will try not to mention the music video, as the gender roles/aggressor roles are different in video and lyrics, as mentioned above. Hold on, this is going to be a long one.
"She may contain the urge to run away
But hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks"
We hear of a woman who may want to run away, most likely actually, but is held down. Wanting to run away is usually for a negative reason in terms of a love-relationship. In few examples, a partner may leave in a "I'm doing this for you"-sort of way, but I really don't think that that is the case here. To be very vague, for now, something is wrong in this relationship, and the girl wants to escape. She is held down by what I assume is her male partner, "with soggy clothes and breezeblocks".
As most people know, wet clothes is a lot more heavy than dry clothes, and would of course be harder to run away in. Breezeblocks are also heavy as they are used in construction work, so being "held down" with a breezeblock would naturally make it a whole lot harder. The vibe of the first line is extremely negative, as a relationship shouldn't continue on, solely because one party is incapable of leaving. Being "held down", whether it be mentally og physically, is not ideal.
(If you draw lines to the music video, at the very beginning, we see the fighting woman being literally held down by a breezeblock in a filled bathtub, as opposed to figurativly. The woman is soaked as she is underwater, which fits perfectly with the line "hold her down with soggy clothes".)
"Cetirizine, your fever’s gripped me again
Never kisses all you ever send are fullstops, la la la la."
Cetirizine is used to treat things as (hay)fever and allergies.
The "your" in "your fever's" refers to the woman in the relationship. When someone has a fever, it is very consuming, you are "engulfed" in it and it is viewed to be sort of serious, so having a person make you as "ill" or as engulfed in them as you are a fever, is really something. So, he needs Cetirizine to get rid of her figurative fever.
It almost seems sort of insane for him to desribe her as a fever. The Bieber Fever, for example, is when (most often) teenage girls are so smitten with Justin Bieber, that they seem totally crazy and sometimes very stalker-ish. They are totally obsessed with Bieber, and we get the same vibe from the male vocalist, when he sings of his female obsession.
"Never kisses, all you ever send are fullstops."
Again, the "you" here is the female. She never kisses him, as we hear, all she ever sends are fullstops. Fullstop is another word for a punctuation mark. The line implies that the female isn't as engaged and enthusiastic about the relationship, as he is. He has a fever with her, but she can't even kiss him, she sends him fullstops, she gives him nothing, but instead stops it completely.
Loving someone and getting no love in return is naturally very frustrating, saddening, and sometimes even infuriating, which fits well with the songs theme and the vibe coming off the male vocalist and the lyrics.
"Do you know where the wild things go?
They go along to take your honey (la la la la)"
(Where The Wild Things Are is a children's book by Maurice Sendak. It tells a story of a little boy named Max, who is sent to bed without supper, after he runs around the house doing mischief as a "monster", telling his mother; "I'll eat you up!", which is why he isn't given supper, but sent straight to bed. In his room, a forest grows and he suddenly finds himself in a new world. He sails and sails in a boat, and reaches the place the Wild Things are. Max roars and is monster-esque, which results in the Wild Things declaring him "the most wild thing of all" and king. Max ends up being tired of being king, missing his family, and decides to leave the place Where The Wild Things Are. As he sails away, the Wild Things roar "Oh, please don't go - we'll eat you up - we love you so!")
The wild thing in this context could be several things. The wild thing could be the male voice singing about his wild/crazy obsession with this woman. The wild thing could be the woman, maybe the man sees her as being wild for wanting her to leave, or just because that's her personality. Wild thing could also be outsiders.
Personally, I feel like the "wild thing" is outsiders, if you read the line directly after this one. "They go along to take your honey". Honey is a term of endearment for a loved one, but "honeys" is also sort of slang for attractive girls. I feel it makes perfect sense if 'wild things' are outsiders, that 'go along and take your honey'. So some outsider, some wild thing, comes along to take his honey, his attractive girl, the woman.
(Later on, 'wild things' may refer to someone else, but we'll get to that.)
"Break down, now weep, build up breakfast
Now let’s eat, my love, my love, love, love (La la la la)"
This doesn't sound like a very pleasant breakfast. It could be the man who breaks down and weeps, it could be the woman, it could be both of them. They both have reason to cry, the woman for being held down in a relationship she clearly doesn't want to be in, and him for having a partner that doesn't return his love and wants to get away from him. Regardless, it is sweeped under the rug, and they just eat breakfast.
The situation sounds extremely strained.
"Muscle to muscle and toe to toe
The fear has gripped me but here I go
My heart sinks as I jump up
Your hand grips hand as my eyes shut"
The chorus can be interpreted in many ways. I considered there may have been a change in point of view, maybe the chorus was from the woman's point of view, but as the whole remainder of the song is still from the man's pov, I figured that we still hear the story from his side.
Muscle to muscle and toe to toe implies being very close to someone physically, it isn't specified in what kind of way.
'The fear has gripped me, but here I go'. He is overcoming a fear by being like 'here I go', despite being afraid. It is unclear what he is afraid of, taking context into consideration, I'd guess he's terrified of being left alone and/or being unloved.
'My heart sinks as I jump up.
Your hand grips hand as my eyes shut'
To be honest, I didn't really know what to make of these lines. He takes a risk he isn't entirely comfortable with, as his heart "sinks", but I am unsure what that risk is. He shuts his eyes, which makes sense as he isn't completely happy having to take said risk. Perhaps he is going to extreme lengths with something concercing the woman and he probably feels that this is the right decision, but still sort of hates to it, like maybe holding her down. 'Your hand grips hand' could be the woman trying to stop the man from doing something bad, probably to her, but he just closes his eyes.
"Do you know where the wild things go?
They go along to take your honey (La la la la)
Break down, now sleep, build up breakfast
Now let’s eat, my love, my love, love, love (La la la la)"
Same song-part is repeated.^
"She bruises, coughs, she splutters pistol shots
Hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks
She’s morphine, queen of my vaccine
My love, my love, love, love (La la la la)"
She bruises and coughs, typical symptoms after just being beaten up and badly hurt. Joe Newman, the male vocalist, actually said the song is about "loving someone so much, you want to hurt them and yourself". IT doesn't say if it's the man's doing that has her bruised and coughing, but I strongly assume so. Having her being beaten up may be the extreme action that makes his heart sink. That would perhaps make the physical contact desbribed in "muscle to muscle, toe to toe" a struggle, a physical fight between the two.
'She splutters pistol shots'. It sounds like the woman is spluttering pistol shots in the sense that she is trying to perhaps defend herself with a gun, but 'splutters', meaning she isn't hitting her target, but merely spluttering everywhere.
'Hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks'. Again, the woman is being held down.
'She's morphine, queen of my vaccine'.
As we all know, morphine is a common anesthesia used to treat rather strong pains. So for him to call her morphine, is for him to call her the treatment for his pain. She dulls his pain, maybe even erases it completely, temporarily.
We all know what vaccines are, they are injections used to prevent diseases before they're even formed and most people in the Western world are vaccinated.
So, this woman is his vaccine, she is his way of being in good shape (and presumably in a good state of mind). He sees her as preventing anything bad from happening to him, from him ending up being a mess. Also, he calls her queen, which places her on a pedestal, she's this amazing, powerful queen, he absolutely adores her.
The next chunk of lines are previous repetitions and I'm not repeating my interpretation.
The last line is something we haven't heard before;
"Please don’t go, I’ll eat you whole
I love you so"
The line is almost exactly identical of that at the end of Where The Wild Things Are. The monsters love Max, but Max is leaving.
The man (some may even call him a monster for wanting to hurt his partner), loves this woman, but this woman is leaving.
He begs her to stay, as the monsters beg Max to stay. "Please don't go" is a desperat last plea, his last chance at convincing her to stay.
'I'll eat you whole' is, of course, said by the monsters as they are monsters, but in the song, they are said by a human man, so it becomes figurative, as the man isn't implying he's actually a cannibal. He'll eat her in the sense that they will become one, he will make sure she is totally his by "eating" her, by always being with her.
It could also be a strange threat, leave me and I'll eat you whole.
"I love you so" is a direct display of affection from his side, but a clear contrast from the rest of the lyrics. He talks about holding this woman down by going to extreme lengths with breezeblocks, whether it be literally or figurativly, and he implies wanting to sort of hurt her throughout the song. There is definetly something off about his love for her.
Lastly, when we hear the last lines of the song, where the male voice begs for her to stay and saying he'll eat her whole, he says exactly the same as the Wild Things do in the children's book. Making HIM the Wild Thing. So he is a wild thing, holding a woman he loves down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks, even though she contains the urge to run away and never kisses.
Aaaaand that's all I have about the lyrics.
anonymous Apr 13th, 2018 4:03am report
Idk about this song since it is so open to interpretation and it's really anything you want it to be. I choose to believe that woman who was in the stripes and bound in the closet was his wife, and a majorly jealous ex-girlfriend wanted to kill her and the husband as revenge for some sort of crime in the relationship they had, be it that one or the other cheated or that he just left her and fell out of love. Alt-J does mention that it could mean a lot of different things.
artisphilosophical Jun 10th, 2016 6:06pm report
I believe this tune is about the undeniable urge for a man in a deep relationship to allow the woman to leave his captivity in belief that she may unpredictably up and leave him at any moment, inflicting him to become addicted to her ghostly love, not allowing her out of his life. This results in her being suffocated and distraught and emotional from his own emotional grip, leaving her tied to him aka wrapped around his finger within the lines of her not being able to break the connection she has with him relationship wise. Breezeblocks is the nonphysical situation of having so much emotional weight with a person that you can't be detached from their contact with you. The "soggy clothes" refers to all of the crying, and the drugs mentioned in the song is what the man in the relationship takes (metaphorically and maybe even physically) to over come and get over his feelings for her which, ultimately does not replenish them. Allowing him to beg her to do anything that would cause him to stop loving her so much.
He wants to see her everyday, at every hour, so he potentially stalks her because he can't get over their breakup. And she ends up falling into his endless grab for attention from her, and in a way, she tries everything in her power to stop him; though she still holds back on some intentions, because in reality she loves him after the break up too, but can not humanly alter way she feels towards him when he shows her so much attention.
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