Sia - Breathe Me (Four Tet remix)

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This isn’t a passing phase. It’s not the footless tights you better laugh over one day, sugar-sweet alcopops and gingerbread lattes – set forever in a Perspex memory bubble: distinct, defined and wholly of that time. No, this something still in motion; a song that coils around your spine, lightly scratching at the back of your chest with dull nails and a low, insistent percussion. This is a constant, the even intake of breath until despite yourself, your pulse quickens and you wait for something – anything – to claw deeper. But nothing comes. There is no kick, no grab to satisfy that shiver; instead the wounded vocal just winds onwards until you have no choice but to exhale and sink into the slow rhythm, resigned to the itch that lingers, just behind your ribs.

The original version’s piano refrain is too pretty for me. It is sweet, complete – it softens the need in her voice and that desperate restlessness into something simple. Crescendo, conclusion. Mylo fills the sound, Ulrich Schnauss pulls the fibres apart into mere whispers, but this, this remix is infused with something closer to the light self-loathing of vulnerability. Lipstick smeared into a pale reflection, that careful machinery inside you paused for just a second. When all that you are is all that there is; and oh, how you wish it was something easy and pure.

A beat, a melody, a steady helplessness – hypnotic in its repetition, yet somehow a comfort all the same. No, this is not a passing phase, and so you sink into it all over again.

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