Is all this talk of air pollution getting you down? Tune in to the hottest songs as we bring you The Ladies Finger’s list of top songs that you didn’t know were really about air quality. If you’re worried about there being no air in a few years, then you’d better sing about it!
10. Pink Floyd: Breathe
This song with David Gilmour’s breathy vocals and lush score is from the band’s album Dark Side of the Moon. It’s a message about the environment from those hippie uncles all the way back from 1973. Pay heed.
9. Aashiqui: Saason ki Zaroorat hai Jaise
What better way to open a movie like Aashiqui than have Rahul Roy pretend to know his guitar fingerwork as he sings (well, Kumar Sanu sings) “Saason ki zaroorat hai jaise zindagi ke liye bas ek sanam chahiye”. Dude’s got his priorities right (and in 1990, no less!). “I need air to breathe like I need a hole in the head” said no one ever.
8. Vajrakaya: Usire
The 2015 Kannada movie Vajrakaya throws up many surprises. An environment-themed song is just one of them. Sure, Sonu Niggaam (for Shivrajkumar) is singing about breathing while Shivu rides helmetless on a highfalutin’, possibly highpollutin’, bike. But we know that when he sings “Usire…usire….naan usire neen amma” (breath….breath…. mother, you’re my breath), he’s really singing about Mother Earth. Shivu, you ol’ softy, you!
7. Toni Braxton: I’m Still Breathing
In 2000, Braxton did this weird thing where she seemed to pose a challenge to global warming in her third studio album The Heat. She sang:
“Did you think I couldn’t make it through
Ooh, without you
Did you think you’d stop my world with goodbye, oh no
Did you think I’d crumble inside
Not Me, I’m still breathing”
We think she has a weird obsession with breathing. Previously in 1993, she’d promised to never breathe again. Well, who’s still breathing now in Delhi, Toni? Huh?
6. Maroon 5: Harder and Harder to Breathe
This chart-topper, written in 2002 by the band’s frontman Adam Levine for their first (and superhit) album Songs About Jane, talks about two important things: complicated relationships and the environment. No prizes for guessing which of the two Levine treasures more! Can’t dim his passion for raising awareness about air quality!
5. Jab Tak Hain Jaan: Saans
Warming up now to our Top 5, while at first you may be distracted by Shah Rukh’s pretending to make out in a green field and Katrina Kaif’s ability to run down a street in a strapless dress during this song in the 2012 movie Jab Tak Hain Jaan, you will be charged by their sense of urgency. When Shreya Ghoshal first wheezes “Saaans”, and sounds like she’s in pain, that’s when you know that something in the universe is very, very out of whack.
4. Frou Frou: Breathe In
In this gorgeous song, Imogen Heap’s hypnotic vocals don’t distract from the fact that she’s clearly suffering from asthma. A powerful moment in the song is when she pauses to ask:
“Is this it? Is this it? Is this it? Is this it?”
3. Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown: No Air
No words can describe our dismay at the collaboration of cutie-pie American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and girlfriend-beater Chris Brown. But equally, no words can describe the profundity of their environmental message:
“Tell me how I’m s’posed to breathe with no air?”
2. Berlin: Take My Breath Away
Nearly there, folks. Just one more song before we hit number one. And in the second spot we have Berlin’s smash hit “Take my breath away”, from the 1986 action drama starring Tom Cruise, Top Gun. Nothing beats the song’s sweet melancholy with Terri Nunn’s vocals as she sings about the air pollution caused by all those fancy planes. Hitmaker Giorgio Moroder, who wrote the song with Tom Whitlock, considered the song his greatest hit, even over other superb tracks like Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love”. Damn right, Giorgio. Damn right.
1. Breathless by Shankar Mahadevan
And here we are, ladies and gentlemen, at the tip of The Ladies Finger’s Top Ten! Now that we’ve run out of air, there’s nothing more to do but sing breathless. You could give Rihanna’s “American Oxygen” a shot if you are the aspirational type. If you’ve set your sights even further, try the French group Air’s album Moon Safari. But we’re happy with Shankar Mahadevan’s hit Hindi song from 1998. Now that we’re in the apocalypse, what else is there?
(Featured image of a Delhi traffic jam by Lingaraj JG via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0)