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The Meaning Behind The Song: Asthma Attack by The Fiery Furnaces

The Meaning Behind The Song: Asthma Attack by The Fiery Furnaces


In the world of music, songs often captivate listeners with their unique melodies and catchy hooks. However, behind the catchy tunes lies a deeper layer of meaning that can be unveiled through careful analysis. One such song that begs for interpretation is “Asthma Attack” by The Fiery Furnaces. Released in 2004 as part of their album “Blueberry Boat,” this track has intrigued fans with its enigmatic lyrics and unconventional sound. In this article, we delve into the meaning behind “Asthma Attack,” exploring its themes, symbolism, and the interpretations put forth by music enthusiasts and critics.

The Themes Explored

At its core, “Asthma Attack” tackles the complexities of relationships, personal struggle, and the pressure to conform. Let’s examine each theme in detail:

1. Relationships: The song delves into the complexities and dynamics of human connections. It explores the ups and downs, the love and conflicts that arise within relationships. Lines like “At least I love you most,” suggest a profound attachment despite potential difficulties.

2. Personal Struggle: “Asthma Attack” metaphorically represents the personal struggles faced by individuals. The song takes a chaotic turn, mimicking the feelings of suffocation and panic associated with an actual asthma attack. This serves as a metaphor for the internal turmoil and overwhelming emotions experienced during personal struggles.

3. Pressure to Conform: The song hints at the pressure to conform to societal norms. Lines like “When you’re alone constantly telling yourself everything is alright” convey the internal struggle to maintain composure and blend in, even when one might feel overwhelmed.

Interpreting the Symbolism

The lyrics of “Asthma Attack” are rich in symbolism, adding layers to the song’s meaning. Here are a few key symbols worth exploring:

1. Asthma: Asthma can be interpreted as a metaphor for the suffocating feeling of being trapped or overwhelmed in a personal struggle, relationship, or societal pressure. The inability to breathe represents a yearning for freedom and relief.

2. Blueberry Boat: The title of the album that features “Asthma Attack” holds its own symbolism. The Blueberry Boat can be seen as a vessel or journey, representing the chaotic voyage through life’s struggles.

3. The Fiery Furnaces: The name of the band itself can be seen as symbolic. The fiery furnaces represent the intensity and heat of emotions, akin to the overwhelming feelings experienced during an asthma attack or personal struggle.

Interpretations and Analysis

Understanding a song’s meaning is often subjective and open to interpretation. Here are some interpretations and analysis put forth by both listeners and critics:

1. Emotional Turmoil: Many listeners perceive “Asthma Attack” as an exploration of emotional turmoil and the complexities of navigating personal struggles. The turbulent arrangement of the music reinforces this interpretation.

2. Relationship Struggles: Some interpretations focus on the representation of a tumultuous romantic relationship. The back and forth in the lyrics, combined with the chaotic soundscape, symbolizes the highs and lows of love and conflict.

3. Societal Pressure: Others see the song as a critique of the pressure to conform and maintain a façade of composure in the face of internal struggles. The repetition of the line “When you’re alone constantly telling yourself everything is alright” highlights the struggle to hide true emotions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. What genre is The Fiery Furnaces?
2. Is “Asthma Attack” a popular song?
3. How did the band come up with the name The Fiery Furnaces?
4. Was “Asthma Attack” critically acclaimed?
5. Are there any interviews or statements from the band discussing the meaning behind the song?
6. Does the song have any medical references other than the asthma metaphor?
7. What was the audience’s initial reaction to “Asthma Attack”?
8. Were there any controversies surrounding the song’s release?
9. Do the band members have personal connections to asthma or personal struggles?
10. Are there any live performances or music videos of “Asthma Attack” available?
11. Are there any remixes or cover versions of the song?
12. How does the song fit within the overall theme of the album “Blueberry Boat”?
13. Has “Asthma Attack” been used in movies, TV shows, or commercials?
14. What other songs by The Fiery Furnaces tackle similar themes?
15. How has the song aged since its release in 2004?


The meaning behind The Fiery Furnaces’ “Asthma Attack” remains a subject of interpretation and debate among fans and critics alike. With its themes of relationships, personal struggle, and societal pressure, the song resonates with listeners on various levels. Through its rich symbolism and thought-provoking lyrics, “Asthma Attack” continues to captivate audiences and serves as a testament to the power of music in conveying complex emotions.

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