Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2000

Breathe by Faith Hill

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Faith Hill's soft sexy ballad successfully crosses from country to pop and greatly expands her audience.

Song: Breathe
Artist: Faith Hill
Album: Breathe
Songwriter: Holly Lamar, Stephanie Bentley
Producer: Byron Gilmore, Faith Hill
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Concept
Singer praises the romantic feelings her lover inspires. A simple song of love and intimacy.

Lyric
A straightforward lyric about the warm physical closeness of romantic love. Not much of a story, more a laundry list of images of two people making warm gentle love. No earthshattering new lyrics, yet there is a freshness in describing what has been expressed many times before. The only thing that I can hear is the beating of your heart. I can hear you breathe, just watching over me, and suddenly I'm melting into you......

Groove
This groove starts off with a slow 16th figure on the guitar and slowly builds as the rhythm track gently takes over at the second verse. The drums give us a steady 8th note background over which 16ths float in the guitar and in the vocal line itself. Although the background is straight ahead, Hill's vocals add effective gentle syncopated pushes.

Melody
The melody is sung in a 6-tone major scale (no 7th, 1 2 3 4 5 6 - 8). The phrases in the verse are long, and shorter in the chorus with the button at the end of chorus short and memorable. The contrast between verse and chorus isg reat as the chorus is almost an octave higher giving the song a hefty range of an octave and a fifth, truly a melody for the country diva that she is.

Harmony
Breathe uses simple major diatonic harmony without any surprises. The verse starts on the ii chord followed by I/3, IV and I/3 which contrasts with the I, ii, IV and V in the chorus. The chorus ends with a post hook on a cadence that lands on a IV chord before it resolves to the I.

Structure
Two-part song form with verse, post-hook, and chorus with verse, chorus and post-hook repeated. A A B (post) A B (post) half of B (post)

Signature
A simple acoustic guitar figure.

Production
Simple straightforward arrangement featuring guitar and drums, everything else very much in the background.

Performance
Faith sings with the breathy intimacy inherent in the song. She delivers the experience as well as the words and music.

Predicted Longevity
This recording was a number one hit for several weeks and has the elements to stay around for a while. While it is not the most classic of love ballads, lovers making this song their special song and may keep it in circulation for a while.

Album Cover: Breathe

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