Breathe (U.K) – “Hands to Heaven” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Breathe’s “Hands to Heaven” is a poignant song about love, longing, and temporary separation. The song unfolds as a deeply emotional narrative where the protagonist must part ways with his lover, yet remains hopeful of reunion. The songwriter conveys a powerful message about cherishing moments of love and tenderness, while also grappling with the inevitability of change.

The lyrics paint a picture of a nocturnal goodbye, their resonance touching anyone who’s been in a similar situation. It’s not explicitly stated who the song is about, but the heartfelt emotions suggest a deeply personal experience, perhaps inspired by the songwriter’s own journey.

But there’s much more to it.

If you’re someone who appreciates the nuance in lyrics, get ready to dive deep into this classic song.

“Hands to Heaven” Lyrics Meaning

From the very first lines, the song establishes an intimate atmosphere. “As I watch you move, across the moonlit room,” the protagonist seems captivated by their lover, a moment captured in the stillness of the night. There’s a sense of impending separation, underlined by “Tomorrow I must leave, the dawn knows no reprieve.” The dawn represents inevitability and change, adding weight to the emotions conveyed.

The chorus, “So raise your hands to heaven and pray / That we’ll be back together someday,” is a plea, a hope for reunion. It’s also a form of spiritual solace, a call to a higher power in times of emotional turbulence. The songwriter could be suggesting that sometimes, love demands patience and faith.

“Tonight, I need your sweet caress / Hold me in the darkness” — these lines are an expression of longing, a desperate need for comfort before the impending parting. In the midst of this turmoil, the protagonist seeks solace in their lover’s embrace, emphasizing the healing power of love in times of distress.

The lines “As we move to embrace, tears run down your face / I whisper words of love, so softly” are intensely emotional. They highlight the poignant reality of saying goodbye to a loved one, even if only for a while. The songwriter might be hinting that true love isn’t always about staying together; sometimes, it involves parting ways, carrying the pain, yet hoping for a reunion.

“Without your touch, life will be lonely” – this line underscores the depth of the protagonist’s attachment. The protagonist is not just lamenting the physical separation, but also the emotional loneliness that it brings.

“Morning has come, another day / I must pack my bags and say goodbye.” The final lines bring closure, signifying that the dreaded morning has arrived. But rather than ending on a hopeless note, the song reinforces the message of enduring love, acceptance, and the hope for a future reunion, however uncertain that may be.

The Story Behind “Hands to Heaven”

Now, let’s unravel the story that might have inspired these touching lyrics. It’s always insightful to consider what might have been happening in the songwriter’s life at the time, as this can often give a deeper understanding of the lyrics.

Breathe was a British pop band that enjoyed significant success in the late 1980s, primarily thanks to their evocative ballads. “Hands to Heaven,” released in 1987, was a top-charting song that resonated deeply with listeners, perhaps due to its universal themes of love and separation.

The songwriters for Breathe were band members David Glasper and Marcus Lillington. While there isn’t specific information about what inspired them to write “Hands to Heaven,” one can infer from the emotional depth of the lyrics that they might have drawn from personal experiences.

In the 80s, it was a common practice for band members to be on the road for months, touring and promoting their music. Such an intense and nomadic lifestyle often meant spending long periods away from loved ones. This context gives a possible insight into the heart-wrenching emotions expressed in the lyrics.

The line “Tomorrow I must leave, the dawn knows no reprieve,” could represent the constant goodbyes musicians often face. Despite the pain of separation, there’s the inherent acceptance of this reality, with the dawn symbolizing the inevitability of their lifestyle.

The words “So raise your hands to heaven and pray / That we’ll be back together someday,” also suggest the uncertainty musicians deal with. When you’re constantly traveling, the promise of coming back is never a guarantee. It’s often a hope, a prayer, embodied in these lines.

In conclusion, while the exact inspiration behind “Hands to Heaven” remains open to interpretation, understanding the context of the band members’ lives at the time provides valuable insight. It helps to illuminate the emotional depth of this timeless ballad, reminding us that the universality of music often stems from deeply personal experiences.