Marissa Nadler recently announced her new album The Path of the Clouds with the bruising lead single “Bessie, Did You Make It?” Today, she follows it up with “If I Could Breathe Underwater”, on which she draws on the powers of harpist and long-time friend Mary Lattimore. Nadler says:
“When I wrote ‘If I Could Breathe Underwater,’ I was contemplating the possibilities of possessing various superhuman powers: teleportation, shapeshifting, energy projection, aquatic breathing, extrasensory perception, and time travel to name a few. As a lyrical device, I married those powers with events in my life, wondering if and how they could change the past or predict the future. I loved working on the melody for this song and bringing the choruses to their climaxes. Mary’s layered, hallucinatory shimmers really echo the netherworld of the story.”
“If I Could Breathe Underwater” takes that aqueous idea and translates it into the music; Nadler’s voice swimming amidst shimmering and caressing notes from Lattimore’s harp, while the drums sputter below and guitar echoes off into the cavernous depth. Nadler revolves through dreams of supernatural abilities and what she would do if she had theml not just being able to breathe underwater, but reveries on reading the future, shape-shifting, and flying also crop up. As Nadler and her band expertly ooze through the song, the dreaminess is enhanced, and we can perfectly picture the vivid dreams that the singer invites us to enjoy with her.
Watch the video for “If I Could Breathe Underwater” below, or find the song on streaming platforms.