"Basic Space" as written by Oliver David Sim, Romy Anna Madley Croft, James Thomas Smith and Baria Qureshi....
Nick just waits to fly
Easy to take
You could take me in for us
Make me a deal
A day apiece
Take it off, just stay a week

I'll take you in pieces
We can take it all apart
I've softened shipwrecks right from the start
I've been underwater
Breathin' out and in
I think I'm losin' where you end and I begin

Basic space
Openin'
Don't look away
When there's nothin'
There

I'm setting us in stone
Piece by piece before I'm alone
Air tight before we break
Keep it in
Keep us safe

This pool of boiling wax
I'm giving in that is sick
Got to fill this in
Gotta just?
Why don't we learn how to keep what I have
Preserved

Basic space
Openin'
Don't look away
When there's nothin'
There

Hot wax
Has left me with a sign
Wouldn't know if I've been left behind
Second skin
Second skin

I can let it out
I still let you in
I can let it out
I still let you in


Lyrics submitted by dumbledore222, edited by TrvsJ, mmmhh, midorka

"Basic Space" as written by James Thomas Smith Baria Qureshi

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Basic Space song meanings
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31 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commentbacky , I like your thoughts on this song. To be able to write about such weird sexual encounters with such minimalist imagery and put it to music takes a very poetic and certain person.
    To add to some interpretation: I think the refrain, "Basic space, open air / Don't look away, when there's nothing there" is very explicative of the nature of this primarily physical/sexual relationship. Sex is something basic, something that is part of life. It's at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, with food and shelter, anyway. It's skin-deep, supposed to be nothing more. But, at the same time, it is highly expressive for feelings or desires that cannot be expressed otherwise. It's simple and complicated at the same time. In this relationship in the song, there is "nothing" there, no substance, no love, so why look away/not make eye contact? The slight frustration expressed in this song is baffling.
    AmericanAquariumDrinkeron November 17, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentLike nearly everyone else, i think these lyrics are definitely about sex. Perhaps it's because i'm in love, but there's also an affectionate attraction here.
    "Make me a deal, a day a piece
    Take it all, just stay a week"
    He wants their encounter to be more than a fling.

    "I'll take you in pieces
    We can take it all apart"
    She feels the same way, and she is willing to figure him out and/or help him decode himself. Note the word "we". Surely this implies she wants to be beside him, even in his time of self exploration. Also, she says this as a suggestion, not a command, which emphasizes her sensitivity toward him.

    "I've suffered shipwrecks right from the start"
    She has experienced conflict, and is reassuring him.

    "I've been underwater, breathing out and in"
    He makes her feel invincible. His presence helps her accomplish the impossible. Alternatively, this can represent sex if being underwater is seen as being under the covers.

    "I think I'm losing where you end and I begin"
    They are becoming closer, falling for one another.

    "Don't look away, when there's nothing there"
    When they are together, the rest melts away. However, a hint of worry still lingers, but they realize they shouldn't be distracted or paranoid, the conflict is most likely nonexistent and in their mind.

    "I'm setting us in stone
    Piece by piece, before I'm alone"
    She has been hurt before, and fears they won't last.

    "It's a pool of boiling wax
    I'm getting in"
    He reassures her that he would do anything for her. By "let it set", he is telling her to let life flow and let it be.

    "Hot wax has left me with a shine
    Wouldn't know if I'd been left behind
    Second skin, second skin"
    Their worries (hot wax) have been erased by something beautiful (a shine). The second line implies they have helped each other discover themselves. "Second skin" shows they are now carefree around each other.
    lilacsunriseon July 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation"Basic space, open air.
    Don't look away, when there's nothing there"
    When everything is gone and you're think there's no one else [for you] don't stop looking even if you know /or think, there's nothing/ no one left.


    I'm pretty sure it's about starting off your relationship with some sexuuual activity, like hooking up & then growing from there. Like backy said, the song does infact have sexual aspects but I don't think that the relationship itself is just sexual, I think that they're also together because they have no one else.


    "I'm setting us in stone
    Piece by piece, before I'm alone
    Air tight, before we break.
    Keep it in, keep us safe."

    She's making them official, in a relationship- she's telling him almost forcefully that she is, and it's not up to him. She doesn't mind it, but she'd prefer someone else, she knows that he does too and if she doesn't publicize it + officialize it soon then she'll loose him, and she doesn't want to be alone.

    "It's a pool of boiling wax, I'm getting in
    Let it set
    Got to seal this in
    Can't adjust, Can't relearn
    Got to keep what I have, preserve"

    Basically what he's saying is that he's getting into something that feels good & yet has pain but doesn't make a difference/ seals things in, meaning the relationship. He's used to HER, so he can't really get used to another person. He doesn't want to have to start all over, so he's not going to try anything new because he's satisfied with what he has. He won't mess it up, and he won't change anything.

    "Hot wax has left me with a shine
    Wouldn't know if I'd been left behind
    Second skin, second skin"

    In the end they've added something good to each other, changed each other for the better. They won't know if they've been forgotten because they've been with each other the whole time, but it doesn't really matter. They're like a second skin to each other, they're attached & if something breaks it just heals itself.

    oceaneyeson February 03, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think it is about a typical 'fuck buddy' relationship. Not a proper "I'm with you, you're with me" deal. She wants her, she just wants him, she even puts up with the pain [I'll take you in pieces, We can take it all apart, I've suffered shipwrecks right from the start, I've been underwater, breathing out and in, I think I'm losing where you end and I begin]. He is just one of those guys who roots around and can't comit [Can't adjust, Can't relearn Got to keep what I have, preserve].
    beccabanksxxon July 13, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBasically.... this song is very simple! The xx did a great job explaining the beginning stages of a relationship. They both like each other very much but do not want to rush into anything. They want to give each other "basic space."

    without going into too much, he first talks about how she can take him all, or in fours, and later he talks about how he's taking her piece by piece... as taking the relationship very slowly and not to rushing into anything to fast, not specifically sex.

    yup! i made an account just for this song. its amazing the meaning a song could mean when it becomes relatable. this is my interpretation as music is an art and art is subjective. enjoy.

    *ignore any grammatical errors, i have plenty of homework ive been avoiding and did't proofread. sorry!
    FreakinJBon October 13, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmuch like how I end up interpreting most of their songs, I believe this one is primarily composed of sexual imagery and honest and personal experiences of a primarily physical relationship.

    sexual aspects:

    "Neck, chest, waist to floor - Easy to take"
    "Keep it in, keep us safe"
    "Can't adjust, Can't relearn - Got to keep what I have"

    the play on dominance- who is dominant in the relationship?

    "I can't let it out" vs. "I still let you in"

    for me, the strongest image is the one of her being so unhappy and suffocated that she claims to have been... "underwater, breathing out and in"


    I find their songs very beautifully composed and imagine it would be very difficult to sing about such dark bedroom memories without being incredibly poetic. the lyrics are sincere and that is what makes them memorable.
    backyon September 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentahh everyone i'm so sorry! my internet is goofy and for some reason posted my post SIX TIMES!!!! So sorry, i feel like i polluted this page. excuse me. : (
    AmericanAquariumDrinkeron November 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDefinitely seems to be about a mostly sexual relationship.
    missmeon April 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song ; the last part <3 I wish it would last longer =D
    sandiibeaton July 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree that its about a sexual encounter. I have a theory though, that the 'hot wax' is referring to a condom.

    "It's a pool of boiling wax, I'm getting in (Putting on a condom)
    Let it set
    Got to seal this in (self explanatory ;) )
    Can't adjust, Can't relearn
    Got to keep what I have, preserve"

    "Hot wax has left me with a shine
    Wouldn't know if I'd been left behind (feeling is minimal, and wouldn't know if she's come before him)
    Second skin, second skin" (If anyone has ever put your finger in melted wax it feels like a second skin)

    "I can't let it out, I still let you in" (she can't let him in her without the condom on, but she still let him in at all)

    I may be clutching at straws... it was just the hot wax/second skin thing that made me think of it.
    jenw87on November 18, 2010   Link

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