“Breathe” by Years & Years

The title of this song (“Breathe”) alludes to the singer needing breathing space, i.e. a break, from his romantic relationship. Or rather let’s say that he recognizes both he and his partner “need to let it breathe”. And his beef with the romance is threefold. First, as detailed in the refrain, it seems that his lover is now treating him differently, in a bad way. This is despite Olly Alexander proclaiming that he gives him “good loving daily”. Then in the first verse he proclaims that his partner is ‘never there for him’, basically meaning that he is not reciprocating his love. And the second verse seems to focus on the core of the situation, which is the singer’s lover apparently seeing someone on the side.

This entire scenario has the narrator quite upset. And on top of basically threatening to dump his partner, he is also assuring him that if such does transpire then he will come to appreciate just how much Olly actually means to him. Moreover the way lyrics read are as if they actually “break up” and “make up” quite often. So the insinuation is that issues, perhaps even similar ones, have existed in their relationship for some time.


Conclusively, this track is based on the sentiments of a pissed off lover. The reason he’s peeved is because his partner is mistreating him, in addition to seemingly dating a lady. So he is suggesting, despite how much he cares for him, that they take some time off from the relationship. And seemingly he means just that, as it would appear that in all likelihood they will end up back together.

Facts about “Breathe”

“Breathe” was written by Ivan Matias and Andrea Martin.

This is the cover of the song by the same name Blu Cantrell dropped with Sean Paul back in 2003. Years & Years produced their own version. And their rendition was officially released by Polydor Records and Interscope Records on 10 July 2015 as part of their debut album, “Communion”.

Although he was speaking generally, in 2015 Years & Years’ lead singer Olly Alexander, who is homosexual, lamented the fact that “we don’t have gay pop stars singing about men using a male pronoun”. And this is something which he wanted to go about changing. And his rendition of “Breathe”, even though he doesn’t actually use any pronouns when addressing his lover, seems to be such a case. For in the second verse, we see him beefing to his partner about a female who is “calling” and ‘claiming she’s going out with him’. So the addressee would logically be a male or a lesbian. But considering the quote highlighted above in all likelihood it is in fact a male, i.e. a bisexual.

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