Heat Waves

Album: Dreamland (2020)
Charted: 10 19
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Songfacts®:

  • "Heat Waves" is about a man who's failing at a romantic relationship. He doesn't feel like he's giving his partner the life that she deserves. It differs from the typical heartache song in that all of the angst is directed inwardly. Frontman Dave Bayley never blames or condemns his partner - only himself.

    You just need a better life than this
    You need something I can never give
    Fake water all across the road
    It's gone now the night
  • The term "heat wave" usually denotes a stretch of uncommonly hot weather, but that's not the way that Bayley uses it here. In this song, the term is used in the sense of a heat haze, which is sometimes also called a highway mirage. Both names refer to the wavy air that rises off asphalt on extremely hot days. Bayley is using it as a metaphor for his own failed promises. He's tried to offer his love all the things she wants and needs but they're just like heat waves rising off hot asphalt, illusory and without substance.
  • The band recorded the music video for the song during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their neighbors filmed it on their own phones.

    The video shows Bayley carting an amp in a wagon through London. He reaches an empty music hall and performs this song with the rest of the band. Bayley called the video "a love letter to live music and the culture and togetherness surrounding it."
  • The song shares certain lyrical themes with "Your Love (Deja Vu)."

    "They're both definitely two of the songs that are about relationships and sort of knowing that they're doomed," Dave Bayley told ABC Audio.

    He added that "Heat Waves" could be considered the "sequel" to "Your Love."

    "'Your Love' is sort of realizing that person's gonna keep hurting you, and that you can't save this thing... it is doomed," Bayley explained. "And 'Heat Waves' is kinda realizing that that's OK. It's just accepting that you can't always make everyone happy."
  • This topped the 2020 Triple J Hottest 100, Australia's annual listener-voted poll of the most popular songs of the year. Glass Animals were the first British act to top the countdown since Mumford & Sons won the 2009 poll with "Little Lion Man."
  • Spearheaded by Scottish postman Nathan Evans's version of the traditional nautical song "Soon May The Wellerman Come," sea shanties went viral on TikTok in early 2021. Glass Animals jumped on the "ShantyTok" trend by transforming "Heat Waves" into a sea shanty.
  • The song originated late at night when Dave Bayley was fumbling with his guitar trying to come up with a long chord pattern. "After 10 minutes of looking into space and plucking the guitar, I hit those eight chords, and I was like, 'Ooh, that's it,'" he recalled to Billboard. "As soon as I had [that], I started singing. Literally the first thing that came out was the hook."
  • Sometimes, all I think about is you
    Late nights in the middle of June


    Bayley was in a melancholic mood when he penned the song, as it was coming up to a sad time of the year for him. He explained: "There's a certain time of year where I always start to feel a bit s--t, because I lost someone really important to me, and 'round their birthday, I start to feel a bit weird. Their birthday is in June, by the way. It was coming up to that period and it was late at night."
  • The song climbed to the top of the Australian ARIA Singles Chart dated March 1, 2021 in its 12th week on the survey.
  • When the song reached #1 on Alternative Airplay, it gave Glass Animals their first-ever chart-topping Billboard single. The band's previous best ranking had been the #7 they achieved on Alternative Airplay with "Your Love (Deja Vu)."
  • Glass Animals released an updated version of "Heat Waves" featuring Iann Dior on March 25, 2021. The reworking comes complete with an extra verse from the Puerto Rican-born, Texas-raised rapper.
  • After originally peaking at #19 on the UK singles chart in the first half of 2021, the song slowly slipped down the tally. It rebounded to its highest chart position yet on the chart dated September 3, 2021 thanks to the #allithinkaboutisyou trend on TikTok playing off the song's lyrical hook.
  • The song climbed to #1 on Billboard's Hot Rock & Alternative Songs September 11, 2021-dated chart. It reached the summit in its 60th week on the tally, breaking the record for the longest ascent to the top previously held by Twenty One Pilots' "Ride" (47 weeks in 2015-16). It was Glass Animals' first ever #1 on any Billboard tally.

Comments: 5

  • Kkbird from NarniaI like to think that it is about a gay relationship, June being pride month and all. Hence, I will keep referring to it as the #1 gay song of 2021. :]
  • AnonymousAlthough this song has up best tone and rhythm the song is actually about a friend who committed suicide and then wishing they could of done more for that friend
  • AnonymousI love this song so much, and I think it's just because of it's weird rhythm. Even his voice is almost a forced whisper mixed in with a good singing voice. It's the perfect song for when you want to think, because the lyrics can go multiple ways. You can view the lyrics as SongFacts said, which is about him feeling that he didn't give enough. But you can also listen and hear how maybe she is with someone and he thinks he can do better for her.
    "You just need a better life than this" - he would provide her with that.
    "You need something I can never give" - he doesn't have the opportunity to because she is with someone else and he has to respect that.
    "Sometimes all I think about is you" - obviously, he thinks about her all the time.
    May 10, 2021
    Age: 15
  • Spoopyghost from SomewhereThis helped me with a deep analysis in my English class, thank you! (It was during the poem unit and we had to choose a song to do with love or hate)
  • Ghost8841 from Somewhere In Coloradowow :)
see more comments

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