Harder to Breathe
|"Harder to Breathe"|
|Single by Maroon 5|
|from the album Songs About Jane|
|Released||July 9, 2002
October 27, 2003 (UK)
|Genre||Alternative rock, funk rock|
|Writer(s)||Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael|
|Maroon 5 singles chronology|
The song expresses tension, having been written quickly under trying circumstances. It tells the story about a former relationship Levine was involved in. "Harder to Breathe" was met with positive reception by music critics, who praised the track's sound. It was released in July 2002 as the lead single off Songs About Jane.
The song peaked at number six on Airplay Monitor. It also appeared on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart at number 31 and the Billboard Hot 100 at number 18. Internationally, the single charted at #13 in the United Kingdom. "Harder to Breathe" also appeared in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand charts, respectively. The song also appears in Maroon 5's 2004 EP 1.22.03.Acoustic in an acoustic version and the live album Live – Friday the 13th (2005).
"Harder to Breathe" was used in one episode of Bird of Prey
In an interview with MTV News in August 2002, Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine, when asked behind the development of "Harder to Breathe", admitted that the song describes the band's frustration with their label, A&M/Octone Records, during the making of their debut album, Songs About Jane. The band thought they had enough material for a release, but when the label told them to keep writing, Levine wrote this song in frustration at the pressure. "That song comes sheerly from wanting to throw something. It was the 11th hour, and the label wanted more songs. It was the last crack. I was just pissed. I wanted to make a record and the label was applying a lot of pressure, but I'm glad they did."
"Harder to Breathe" tells the story of a relationship Levine had with a woman named Jane, who, according to Levine was the "muse" in the band's album. MacKenzie Wilson of Allmusic described the song as a "soulful disposition". Meghan Bard of The Daily Campus described the single featuring "a great up-tempo number with gritty guitar riffs and powerful vocals" from Levine. Bard noted that the theme in the song was about "recovering from heartbreak". Angus Batey of The Times compared "Harder to Breathe" sounding as "Zeppelin-esque".
Release and reception
Maroon 5 released "Harder to Breathe" in the United States in July 2002 as the lead single of their debut album. The single charted on Airplay Monitor in the number six position. It peaked at number 18 on Billboard's Hot 100. The song also appeared on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in the number 31 position in 2002 when it was an independent single before it hit commercial radio stations in 2003-04, it is the band's only song played on alternative rock stations, while the rest of the band's other singles were only played on pop and adult contemporary radio outlets considering Maroon 5 as a pop rock band and not an alternative band. Internationally, "Harder to Breathe" appeared in the UK Singles Chart on January 31, 2004 in the number 13 spot. The song spent seven weeks on the chart. The single appeared in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand charts.
The song received positive reception from critics. In the Rolling Stone review of the album, critic Christian Hoard called "Harder to Breathe" "a strong single". C. Spencer Beggs of The Observer wrote: "The two singles ['Harder to Breathe' and 'This Love'] are the most popular songs on the album, showing off Maroon 5's characteristic clean, crisp and upbeat sound." Sam Beresky of the Daily Lobo, who was less enthusiastic about the album, complimented Maroon 5 on "Harder to Breathe", in which he said, "The song is enjoyable. There are some aspects of mellow, soulful rockers like Train, John Mayer — maybe even a little Stevie Wonder or Jamiroquai. The track has a good rock meets R&B sound and is predictable enough to get radio play."
In October 2003, Levine told USA Today, regarding the success of the song, "I didn't love or hate the song, and I didn't care if it got on the album. We have a lot of pop songs on our record, and the idea was to start out with something different. Why come out of the gate with another pop song by another pop band?" The following year, the band released an EP titled 1.22.03.Acoustic (2004), which features "Harder to Breathe" in an acoustic version. In 2005, Maroon 5 released a live album, Live – Friday the 13th, which features the song performed live.
The video is centered around Maroon 5 playing in a dimly-lit house/factory. Throughout the course of the video, items such as darts on a dart board, candles, pictures, and even members of the band with their instruments are shown fading in and out. Towards the end of the video, Adam Levine is seen walking through a narrow corridor dragging a guitar with pictures on both sides of the wall fading in and out. When he reaches the end of the corridor, he is face to face with a wall with a small light coming out of it and then flings his guitar backwards and then pounds on the wall. The camera then quickly moves to a scene of the band playing and the lights suddenly flickering on.
|1.||"Harder to Breathe"|
|2.||"Harder to Breathe" (Video)|
Chart performance and certifications
|Germany (Media Control Charts)||79|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||86|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||33|
|UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)||13|
|US Billboard Hot 100||18|
|US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)||5|
|US Alternative Songs (Billboard)||31|
|US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)||15|
|US Radio Songs (Billboard)||18|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- Bard, Meghan (2003-04-01). "Get down with Maroon 5". The Daily Campus. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- Batey, Angus (2004-08-14). "The gonna be famous five". The Times (London: News Corporation). p. 1. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
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- Beggs, C. Spencer (2003-10-16). "Songs About Jane, an album with music and message". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
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