Breathe (Kylie Minogue song)

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CD 2 of the double-single set.
Single by Kylie Minogue
from the album Impossible Princess
Released February 1998
Recorded London, England
Length 3:39 (radio edit)
4:36 (album version)
Label Deconstruction
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Dave Ball
  • Ingo Vauk
Kylie Minogue singles chronology
"Did It Again"
"Cowboy Style"
Music video
"Breathe" on YouTube

"Breathe" is a song by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue from her sixth studio album, Impossible Princess (1997). The song was released in February 1998, as the third single from the album, and final from her label Deconstruction Records. Minogue wrote and produced "Breathe" in collaboration with the producers Dave Ball and Ingo Vauk. Backed by synthesizers and keyboards, it is an electronica track. The lyrics revolve around contemplation and calmness.

Critical response to "Breathe" was positive: many critics highlighted the track as an album standout and commended the lyrical and vocal delivery. Many critics have cited the song as one of Minogue's career standouts. Released in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, it peaked at a position of twenty-three and fourteen on the Australian Singles Chart and the UK Singles Chart. This was her last charting single in the UK until her 2000 single "Spinning Around".

To promote "Breathe", Minogue performed the song at the Top of the Pops and her Intimate and Live. Kieran Evans directed the song's music video, which was Evans first music video he had directed. It portrays Minogue floating in an open airspace with spiraling effects that were generated by CGI. The video was positively received for the production and the visual effects.


Kylie Minogue left London-based PWL in 1992 after British tabloids accused their staff of creating "cheap" and "dated" music for other artists on the label.[1] Minogue signed a three-album deal with British dance label Deconstruction Records that same year.[2][3] Minogue released her first self-titled album through Deconstruction in fall 1994 and received mixed reception from music critics.[4] Commercially, the album peaked inside the top three in Australia and sold over two million copies worldwide as of April 2007.[4][5]

Minogue begun work on her sixth studio album and had greater freedom in both songwriting and composing. Many British tabloids rumored stories that Minogue wanted to establish herself as an indie artist. However, she denied, telling Mixmag: "I have to keep telling people that this isn't an indie-guitar album. I'm not about to pick up a guitar and rock."[6] To promote the album, she released the lead single "Some Kind of Bliss", but was only chosen due to a bias decision by Deconstruction as she personally favored "Limbo".[7] The song received negative reviews from most music critics in 1997.[8][9] The song under-performed in international countries, mainly in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, where it peaked inside the top twenty and top fifty respectively.[10][11] The following single "Did It Again" was positively received from most music critics and although it only charted in Australia and UK, it managed to be successful and was certified gold by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for exceeding sales off 35,000 units.[12]


"Breathe" was written by Minogue herself alongside British musician and producer Dave Ball and Ingo Vauk.[13] All three collaborators had also produced and composed the song, despite Minogue never being accredited this on the album notes.[13][14][A] "Breathe" was one of the only songs on the album that Minogue had composed, participating with the synthesizer and keyboards, while Livingstone Brown had played the bass guitar, drums by Steve Sidelnyk and other additional instruments were handled by Ball and Vauk.[13] This also marks Minogue's first and final song along with "Too Far" that she had co-produced.[13] "Breathe" was recorded in London, England at Ball and Vauk's home studio's while additional recording was handled at Mayfair Studios.[13] For the Todd Terry remix, Minogue flew to Chicago, USA to re-record the track and overlap the track for the remix.[13]

"I wrote it in Japan; at the time, I felt very still and restrained. My girlfriend told me, "You don't realize how loud you are when you are quiet!". It is typical of me to be thinking, deciding what is wrong because I'm not clear in my head. That's why I say "Breathe" because I have to stay calm.[15]

—Minogue talking about "Breathe".

Musically, "Breathe" is an electronica-inspired song that was noted for its comparison with other electronic tracks, particularly with "Say Hey".[16] Structure-wise, the song is set in the key of B.[17] Minogue's vocals span from B note to A note while singing through the chorus and verses, while the bridge of the song is sung in a higher E note.[17] According to Tom Parker, who provided the special edition album notes for Impossible Princess, "["Breathe"] is a seductive electronic groove, with a hypnotic subtlety and timelessness befitting the theme inward contemplating and resolve."[13] Larry Flick from Billboard said that "Breathe" is a user-friendly jam and is largely due to its big-beat electronic groove and ear-tickling pop chorus.[18]

Lyrically, the song talks about withholding expression and emotions and expresses contemplation.[15] Written in Tokyo during her trips with her then-boyfriend Stephane Sednaoui, Minogue explained that the story was based on her friendships, with many of her friends commenting on her quietness; she commented "My girlfriend told me 'You don't realize how loud you are when you are quiet."[15] She felt that it was "typical" of her to be "think, deciding what is wrong" because she felt that things in her head "were not clear."[15]


Minogue decided to release "Breathe" as the third single.[19] Impossible Princess was released four months prior and critical reception and commercial performance fell under expectations; the album peak inside the top ten in both Australia and the UK but suffered criticism in the latter country. Many critics and public criticized the phase of "Indie Kylie" and felt it "scared" the public.[20] Sales also suffered, reaching and making it her lowest charting album in the UK.[21] Deconstruction were afraid of bankruptcy and were prompt to terminate Minogue's contract if sales did not increase, but due to mutual agreements and near completion of her contract, they decided to allow her to leave in her own choice; she announced her leave shortly after.[22]

"Breathe" was released as the last commercial single by her Deconstruction. Like her previous single, Minogue released the single as two-set CD single's.[23] The song was released as a two-set CD single in the United Kingdom and Australia, both including remixes, the album version and the first set release featured an interactive music video of "Did It Again".[24] The artwork for the single was shot by Sednaoui, who had previously photographed the album sleeve and photoshoot of Impossible Princess. The cover sleeves feature a close-up picture of Minogue's face. The song was released as a promotional CD and cassette single in the UK and a vinyl in Spain, Australia and the UK.[25][26][27]

Critical reception[edit]

"Breathe" received positive commentary from most music critics. Michael R. Smith from Daily Vault said along with "Did It Again"; "[“Did It Again”] and [“Breathe”] are most notable for the videos that went along with them and are fair representations of the album at large (which should be the purpose of singles), though there are many more undiscovered gems here."[28] Nick Levine from Digital Spy had selected the song as the albums best track by writing "Truth be told, this album lacks an absolute classic to match ['Confide In Me'], but ['Breathe'] – subtle but sneakily catchy with it – could be one of Min's most underrated singles."[16] While reviewing the 2004 compilation Ultimate Kylie, Jaime Gill from Yahoo! Music praised the DeConstruction era by writing "If you doubt the fanbase observation, witness the famously fallow deConstruction years. Beginning in 1994 with the gorgeously glacial, slinkily synthetic ["Confide In Me"], Kylie enjoyed brief success before fans fled in droves from awkward faux-rock like "Some Kind Of Bliss" (not included) and flimsy house like "Breathe"."[29] While review the 2000 compilation Hits+, Mackenzie Wilson was positive towards Minogue's seductive vocals on "Breathe", "Automatic Love" and "Confide in Me".[30]

Chris True from Allmusic selected the song as an album standout on her Greatest Hits 87-97 compilation album. Jason Lipshutz from Billboard had listed 'Kylie Minogue Primer: The Top 10 Past Hits You Need To Know' and listed "Breathe" at number four, stating "Breathe" is the obvious standout, sounding almost like a Nine Inch Nails throwaway in its opening seconds and morphing into a silky, sexy defense of Minogue's experimental side.[31] A reviewer from the publication TheBacklot put "Breathe" at number 14 on their "Kylie Minogue’s 50 Best Songs, In Honor Of Her Birthday" and said "“Breathe” would be a meditative masterpiece if it weren’t so confrontational, deadpan, and sexually domineering. Impossible Princess’ unassuming heartstopper trips into unexpected carnality in its choruses, assuring you “It won’t be long now” as you try to time your hyperventilation."[32]

Commercial response[edit]

In February 1998, "Breathe" was released in the United Kingdom. The song became Minogue's twenty-eighth consecutive top forty single when it debuted at number fourteen on the singles chart, and spent a total of four weeks in the top seventy-five. The song was the fourth highest debuting single off that week, with the highest debut being Spice Girls's single "Stop".[33] In Australia, the song was released as the third out of four singles, the other being an Australian-only single "Cowboy Style". The song debuted at number twenty-three, the highest entry of the week end 26 April 1998.[34] The song stayed inside the top forty for ten weeks and survived a total of thirteen weeks, dropping at number forty-eight on its final weekend of 19 July 1998.[35] Despite a lower position, it became one of Minogue's longest charting singles in Australia. In other countries, the single performed mildly. It reached number one on the Israeli Singles Chart and number three on the Russian Airplay Singles Chart.[36]


Music video[edit]

An accompanying music video was directed for by Welsh film director Kieran Evans and was his first collaboration with Minogue.[24] "Breathe" was the first professional work ever directed or produced by Evans and after the shooting of the music video, Evans continued to work within the music industry and became a regular collaborator for Heavenly Films, a sister project of British record label Heavenly Recordings; this led him to direct and produce more music videos for other music artists.[37] The music video starts with close up shots of Minogue's body parts including her face, hands, wrist, eyes and lips. Throughout the song, a giant glass orb is centered on the screen and is shun by a mysterious light.[38] From there onwards, it features Minogue in an airspace of spiraling effects, as she floats through the atmosphere, all produced by green screen and CGI effects.

Near the chorus, it features shots of Minogue's foot and hand touching against a smooth surface. In the second verse, it features three different video footage of Minogue layering over top, with one of the video footage having her singing the track and features an all body shot during the second chorus.[38] The video then finishes with Minogue floating away, being inset of her own eye that was shot at the start of the video.[38] For the radio/video version, the song was digitally sped up and ran at a much faster tempo.[38]

One of the shots of the video was used as the album cover for her 2002 greatest hits compilation Confide in Me. The music video was features on many of Minogue's video formats including The Kylie Tapes 94–98, Greatest Hits 1987–1999, Kylie Minogue: Artist Collection and the most recent release was on her 2004 DVD release Ultimate Kylie.[39]

Live performances and other uses[edit]

To promote the single, Minogue had performed the single on several television programs and channels. Minogue had debuted the single performance in 1998 on The Ben Elton Show, wearing a pink shirt, long skirt and singing while being backed by her live band.[40] While Minogue was a guest start for an exclusive interview, Minogue received the oppitunity to perform the single live on the Australian morning series Hey Hey It's Saturday.[41] She had later received the oppitunities to perform the single live on several other live shows including the Top of the Pops, The National Lottery show and Live & Kick music show.[42][43][44]

Minogue performed the song on the Intimate and Live Tour. The song was featured on the opening act for the tour and featured Minogue singing the track on stage, wearing a black long-collared shirt and three-quarter pants, similar to the costume off "Did It Again".[45] Like the rest off the costumes on the tour including the performance off "Some Kind of Bliss", it features Minogue with a lot of "princess"-inspired outfits.[45] The performance was part of the concert realized in the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia, which was recorded and released in CD and DVD.[46][47] "Breathe" was later performed by Minogue on Money Can't Buy, a one-off concert show held on 15 November 2003 at Hammersmith Apollo, London, to promote her ninth studio album Body Language. The "Bardello" act of the concert commenced with a mashup of "Breathe" and "Je t'aime... moi non plus", a 1969 French duet between Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.[48] Craig McLean from the Daily Telegraph described the backup dancers during this segment as "Tour de France cyclists moonlighting as Moulin Rouge hostesses."[49] The performance was later added to Minogue's Body Language Live DVD from the concert.[50]

In 2011, Minogue sang an acoustic version while on her 2011 Aphrodite World Tour.[51] In 2012, the orchestral version of the song didn't make the tracklist of The Abbey Road Sessions but the song was eventually uploaded on Minogue's official YouTube account.[52] In 2015, Minogue had used the single as an opening introduction for her Kiss Me Once Tour and sung limited of the song through the performance.[53]


Credits adapted from the EP's liner notes.[13]

Song credits[edit]

Cover credits[edit]

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Breathe".

  • "CD Single #1"
  1. "Breathe" (Radio edit) — 3:39
  2. "Breathe" (Tee's Freeze mix) — 6:59
  3. "Breathe" (Nalin & Kane remix) — 10:11
  4. "Breathe" (Album mix) — 4:38
  • "CD Single #2"
  1. "Breathe" (Radio edit) — 3:39
  2. "Breathe" (Sash! Club mix) — 5:20
  3. "Breathe" (Tee's Radio edit) — 3:29
  4. "Did It Again" music video — 4:15
  • "Cassette tape"
  1. "Breathe" (Radio edit) — 3:39
  2. "Breathe" (Sash! Club mix edit) — 3:43

Charts, peaks and positions[edit]


Chart (1998) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[54] 23
Greek International Singles Chart[55] 9
Spanish Singles Chart[55] 13
UK Singles Chart[56] 14


  1. ^ In an album interview (An Interview with Kylie Minogue, 1997. CAT: KM002), Minogue stated that she co-produced and co-composed "Breathe" and "Too Far", but omitted her name from the liner credits from the studio album.


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External links[edit]