U.S. CD single
|Single by Toni Braxton|
|from the album Toni Braxton|
|Released||August 6, 1993|
|Songwriter(s)||Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds|
|Toni Braxton singles chronology|
"Breathe Again" is a song by American R&B singer Toni Braxton from her self-titled debut album (1993). Written by Babyface and produced by L. A. Reid, Babyface, and Daryl Simmons, the ballad was released as the album's second single, garnering heavy airplay during the summer and autumn of 1993, which resulted in it being the most successful single released from the album. The single peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. The song reached number two on the UK charts in January 1994.
The lyric evokes a sense of nostalgia from a relationship that has run its course. The song earned Braxton her second consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1995.
Background and composition
After the success of the previous single, "Another Sad Love Song", "Breathe Again" was released as the second official single from Toni Braxton's self-titled album, on August 6, 1993. "Breathe Again" was written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, with co-production being handled by Daryl Simmons and L.A. Reid. Lyrically, in "Breathe Again", Braxton would crumble and have a nervous breakdown if her boyfriend were to break up with her, singing, "If I never feel you in my arms again/If I never feel your tender kiss again/If I never hear I love you now and then [...] Please understand if love ends/Then I promise you, I promise you/That, that I shall never breathe again."
"Breathe Again" received mostly positive reviews from music critics. Ron Wynn of Allmusic picked the song as a highlight from the album, writing that "Braxton's husky, enticing voice sounds hypnotic on the track." Mitchell May of Chicago Tribune was very positive, writing that "the way her voice throbs when she sings, 'I can't stop thinking about you,' conveys a sense of despair and longing that is rare." People Magazine called the song "haunting", writing that, "The quaver in her voice says more about love's promise and deceit than many singers manage in a career."
According to Daryl Easlea of BBC Music, the song "fully established Braxton," calling it "a delicate ballad that refused to resort wholly to cliché, it is brought to life by Braxton’s dreamy, breathy delivery." John McAlley of Rolling Stone called it "the album's best material", writing that "Braxton's love hangover has reached ludicrously epic proportions." "Breathe Again" was included in all of the greatest hits collections released by Braxton, including Ultimate Toni Braxton (2003), Platinum & Gold Collection (2004), The Essential Toni Braxton (2007), Playlist: The Very Best of Toni Braxton (2008) and Breathe Again: The Best of Toni Braxton (2009).
"Breathe Again" was Braxton's first huge hit around the world. In the US, the song was a success, reaching number 3 for three non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It spent 17 weeks in the top ten, longer than many other number one hits that year. In other Billboard component charts, "Breathe Again" also reached high positions, peaking at number 2 on the Pop Songs chart, and number 4 on the Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It sold 500,000 copies domestically, earning a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. In the UK, "Breathe Again" debuted and peaked at number 2, on January 15, 1994, becoming her best charting-single, matching with "Un-Break My Heart"'s position. In Australia, the song debuted at number 47 on the ARIA Charts, on March 20, 1994, and reached number 2 on May 1, 1994, remaining at the same position for two further weeks. It spent 17 weeks on the ARIA Charts, and ranked at number 20 on the "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts".
In New Zealand, the song debuted at number 20 on the RIANZ chart, on December 12, 1993. In its eighth week, the song climbed to number 2, becoming its peak position. It spent 4 non-consecutive weeks at the peak position and 21 weeks on the RIANZ chart. The song is also Braxton's best single ever on the New Zealand charts. The song earned a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1995, becoming Braxton's second consecutive Grammy Award in the same category. In Zimbabwe the song was voted as the best song of the year at the end of year music chart and was the most played song of the same year.
The accompanying music video, directed by Randee St. Nicholas, was filmed in England and is set in black-and-white format. The concept was Braxton running through a maze, clearing her thoughts of a special kind of love. On her DVD, "From Toni with Love... The Video Collection", two other versions of the video are also featured: the "European version" and the "Spanish version". On the same DVD, Braxton commented about the video, saying, "This video was originally filmed in color and Randee St. Nicholas, the director, didn't like the maze part, she said it looked like piles of dirt, instead of these beautiful green [...], she said it looked like chunks of rock, so she put it in black and white." About her look, she said, "I remember my stylist was going crazy, trying to find a 17th-century dress, and my hair was short, and I didn't want to wear wigs and my stylist put these little extensions in my hair and It was so cold and the dress was so heavy."
In 2002, Jazz trumpeter Greg Adams covered the song on his album "Midnight Morning".
In 2004, Sweet Tea covered the song on the compilation album Reggae Gold 1994.
Track listings and formats
- U.S. CD single
- "Breathe Again" (Radio Edit)
- "Breathe Again" (Extended Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Breathless Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Club Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Spanish Version)
- UK and German CD single
- "Breathe Again" (Radio Edit)
- "Breathe Again" (D'Jeep Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Extended Club Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (D'Moody Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Breathless Mix)
- "Breathe Again" (Spanish Version)
- Spanish CD single
- "Breathe Again" (Versión en Castellano)
- "Another Sad Love Song" (Album Version)
Certifications and sales
- "Breathe Again - Toni Braxton | Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "Music Review: Toni Braxton "Breathe Again"". The Bland Is Out There. July 3, 2005. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Wynn, Ron. Toni Braxton - Toni Braxton at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- May, Mitchell (October 7, 1993). "Toni Braxton Toni Braxton (LaFace)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "Picks and Pans Review: Toni Braxton". People Magazine. August 23, 1993. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Easlea, Daryl (2010). "BBC - Music - Review of Toni Braxton - Toni Braxton". BBC Music. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- McAlley, John (November 25, 1993). "Toni Braxton: Toni Braxton : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- "Best-Selling Records of 1993". Billboard. BPI Communications. 106 (3): 73. January 15, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "American certifications – Braxton, Toni – Breathe Again". Recording Industry Association of America.
- "Australian-Charts.com - Toni Braxton - Breathe Again". ARIA Charts. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1994". ARIA Charts. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Charts.Org.Nz - Toni Braxton - Breathe Again". New Zealand Singles Chart. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "From Toni With Love...The Video Collection - Sony Music Entertainment Germany". Sony Music. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "The Music Inside - Chuck Loeb - Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Reggae Gold 1994 Various Artists - iTunes". iTunes. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Margot B. Inspired - Margot B. - iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Toni Braxton – Breathe Again – swisscharts.com". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "Ultratop.be – Toni Braxton – Breathe Again" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "RPM (Jan 31, 1994)". RPM. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
- "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 1994-02-19. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- "Musicline.de – Toni Braxton – Breathe Again". Musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (09.12.1993-15.12.1993)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Breathe Again". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 14–1994". Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Toni Braxton – Breathe Again" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Toni Braxton Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Toni Braxton Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Toni Braxton Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Toni Braxton Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Toni Braxton Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
- "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
- "End of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "British single certifications – Toni Braxton – Breathe Again". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Breathe Again in the search field and then press Enter.
- "American single certifications – Toni Braxton – Breathe Again". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 25, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.