Inhaler

Album: Holy Fire (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • The lead single from Foals' third LP, Holy Fire, is a track about claustrophobia that was described in a statement as "heavier than anything Foals have written before." The album was helmed by production duo Flood & Moulder (PJ Harvey, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers) at Assault and Battery studios in London.
  • Vocalist Yannis Philippakis explained the song's meaning to NME: "It's about feeling under attack. I tapped into that feeling of rush-hour claustrophobia, wanting to scream everybody away and gain space for myself. On a more personal level it's about wanting to push away at people and at everything."
  • The song was inspired by the guilt Yannis feels about the damage caused by smoking to the lungs that his ancestors have given him. He explained to Q magazine that he can't shake off the feeling that his potency as a young man has been wasted. "You get given these organs," he said, "and I've just been desecrating everything since the age of 12."
  • The song was written by the band on tour. Guitarist Jimmy Smith recalled to Consequence of Sound: "When we used to play 'Miami' live, we used to do like a two-minute jam afterwards, and that's kind of where the beginning of 'Inhaler' came from. That's where we discovered the groove for that song. And then Yannis would have this fat riff lying around and would be like, 'Hey, check this out.' It just came from that."
  • This won Best Track at the 2013 NME Awards. It was the second time a Foals song has won that honor as "Spanish Sahara" took the prize at the 2010 NME awards.
  • Philippakis told NME the song was titled 'Inhaler' as he is "asthmatic."
  • The song's music video was directed by Foals' frequent collaborator Dave Ma and features artwork from Tinhead. Philippakis told NME regarding the clip: "Most of the people in it are just mates of ours from Oxford - this self-destructive skater crew. We decided to harness their power and arm them with fireworks. We let them loose in an abandoned swimming pool outside our local hospital."

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