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Meaning of ‘Heat Waves’ by ‘Glass Animals’

Released: 2020

“Heat Waves” by Glass Animals is a track that simmers with the intense, emotional turbulence of longing and unresolved feelings. It wraps listeners in the humid embrace of its soundscape, marrying the imagery of sultry summer nights with the ache of unrequited or lost love. The song leverages its immersive, hypnotic beats to pull us deep into the narrator’s reflective state, caught between memory and desire.

The opening lines, “Last night, all I think about is you”, set the stage for a narrative soaked in nostalgia and yearning. The repetition of this thought process suggests a loop of obsession the narrator can’t escape. As the song unfolds with “Road shimmer, wiggling the vision / Heat, heat waves, I’m swimming in a mirror,” the imagery of heat waves distorting reality mirrors how the narrator’s perception is blurred by their intense feelings.

Throughout the song, the chorus, “Sometimes all I think about is you / Late nights in the middle of June / Heat waves been faking me out / Can’t make you happier now,” captures the essence of being haunted by memories that feel as palpable as the heat of summer. These memories, however, are elusive and “faking me out,” suggesting a struggle between the reality of the present and the way we might want things to be. The admission “Can’t make you happier now” reveals a poignant resignation to the impossibility of altering someone else’s emotional state.

In the verse, “You just need a better life than this / You need something I can never give,” there’s a raw acknowledgment of inadequacy and the selfless realization that letting go might be the only way to truly care for the other person. This sentiment is reinforced by the heart-wrenching lines, “You can’t fight it, you can’t breathe / You say something so loving, but / Now I gotta let you go / You’ll be better off with someone new.” It highlights the noble yet devastating decision to release someone we love for their potential happiness.

“Heat Waves” by Glass Animals ultimately weaves a complex tapestry of desire, memory, and the self-sacrifice that sometimes accompanies love. Through its hypnotic rhythm and haunting lyrics, it captures the universal experience of grappling with the ghost of what could have been, offering listeners a melodic journey through the heartache of moving on while still being tethered to the past.

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