Track Review: Emeli Sandé, ‘Breathing Underwater’
Emeli Sandé shines on the third single from her upcoming sophomore album Long Live the Angels, ballad “Breathing Underwater.”
After a four-year hiatus, the 29-year old singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé returns with her sophomore album, Long Live the Angels. Sandé first built buzz with promo single “Hurts,” which was nothing short of flawless. She followed up “Hurts” with the superb “Garden,” enlisting the services of Jay Electronica and introducing the world to Àine Zion. Now she continues to slaughter the competition with the stunning “Breathing Underwater.”
“Breathing Underwater” is filled with lush sounds from the onset. Like much of Sandé’s music, it’s slated somewhere between pop and R&B. In this case, there are tinges of adult contemporary R&B. Expectedly, Sandé delivers radiant vocals. The performance is well-rounded, filled with nuance and authenticity. Clearly, Sandé is experiencing a range of emotions, including the loss of love, the beauty of the freedom to restart, yet the fright of restarting. Call it what it is – “It’s complicated.”
After opening with coolness sans percussion, the second half of the first verse adds a drum groove. This provides more oomph and drive. With the first verse establishing itself slowly but surely, the chorus soars, showcasing the power of Sandé’s pipes. She’s further amplified by a gospel choir, shaping the chorus as a truly inspired moment. Lyrically it’s relatively simple, but poetic by all means:
“Something like flying / hard to describe it / My God, I’m breathing underwater / something like freedom, freedom / My God, I’m breathing underwater.”
Ultimately, “Breathing Underwater” gives Sandé another song that reflects on the loss of love and moving on. Clearly, she’s been hurt and while she has made it past the worst, she still wrestles with “how things went down.” Call it an extension of “Hurts” in some regard. All in all, It is exceptionally well-written and produced overall.