Breathe (The Prodigy song)

"Breathe" is a song by English band the Prodigy, released in November 1996 as the second single from the album The Fat of the Land. It became the group's second consecutive number-one in the United Kingdom and also topped the charts in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden. The song features a drum break from the song "Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed" of the group Thin Lizzy. The whiplashing sword sound effect is a sample of the song "Da Mystery of Chessboxin", by Wu-Tang Clan. As in "Firestarter", Jim Davies played the guitar in the song. In 2003, Q Magazine ranked "Breathe" at number 321 in their list of the "1001 Best Songs Ever".[3]

"Breathe"
Breathe Prodigy.jpg
Single by the Prodigy
from the album The Fat of the Land
Released11 November 1996 (1996-11-11)[1]
StudioEarthbound (Braintree, Essex, England)
GenreElectronic rock[2]
Length
  • 5:35 (album version)
  • 3:59 (edit)
LabelXL
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Liam Howlett
The Prodigy singles chronology
"Firestarter"
(1996)
"Breathe"
(1996)
"Smack My Bitch Up"
(1997)
Music video
"Breathe" on YouTube

HistoryEdit

The first ever performance of the song was held at a concert at the Pionir Hall in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, on 8 December 1995, 11 months prior to its release.[4] It was the first major international music act to play in Belgrade since the breakup of Yugoslavia, and came shortly after UN sanctions were partially lifted. Breathe thus became an iconic song for Serbia's urban youth.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Larry Flick from Billboard stated that the song, "with its jittery, faux funk beat, caustic synths, and snarling vocals" gets stronger with repeated spins.[6] A reviewer from Music Week rated it three out of five, noting that Liam Howlett's "raucous electronic punksters get louder and less accessible by the day. This frantic, apocalyptic number will do well to emulate their spring number one Firestarter."[7] James Hyman from the magazine's RM Dance Update praised the track, giving it five out of five. He added, "The punk-aggressive energy found here echoes landmark anarchist tracks such as the Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' (with its 'no future' cries) and Silver Bullet's 'Ruff Karnage'. Twangy guitar and ever-changing industrial breaks complement all the exhortations."[8] Paul Moody from NME wrote, "'Breathe' - that rarest of things, a Prodigy track that grows on you - sounds ever more sinister in such claustrophobic surroundings, drilled as it is to a brain-numbing intensity of kick drums over which Keith howls the still baffling lyric, "Twisted animator!"."[9] A reviewer from People Magazine said that songs like this "are cathartic performances capable of spreading dance fever to the stubbornest rock-and-roll head-bangers".[10]

Music videoEdit

The accompanying music video for "Breathe" was directed by English director Walter Stern and took place in what resembled an abandoned, decrepit apartment building, with the band members experiencing various aural, visual and psychological phenomena, with Keith Flint and Maxim representing the phenomena, while Leeroy Thornhill and Liam Howlett are caught in the phenomenon. Various animals, like an alligator, and crickets, make an appearance, evoking different types of phobias. The music video won the 1997 MTV Video Music Award for Viewer's Choice and International Viewer's Choice Award for MTV Europe. The video was also the band's final video to feature dancer Leeroy Thornhill.

Chart performanceEdit

The song was a major worldwide hit, reaching the top 10 in several countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. "Breathe" was a number-one hit in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The song was also a hit in France, reaching number 26.[11]

In the United States, the song reached number 18 on the US Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.[12] The single also returned to the Billboard charts after Flint's death, entering number 14 on its Dance/Electronic Digital Songs Sales chart in its 16 March 2019 issue.[13]

Track listingEdit

12-inch vinyl record

  1. "Breathe" (Edit) – 3:59
  2. "The Trick" – 4:25
  3. "Breathe" (Instrumental) – 5:35
  4. "Their Law" (Live at Phoenix Festival '96) – 5:24

CD single

  1. "Breathe" (Edit) – 3:59
  2. "Their Law" (Live at Phoenix Festival '96) – 5:24
  3. "Poison" (Live at Torhout & Werchter Festival '96) – 5:17
  4. "The Trick" – 4:25

Cassette single XLC 80

  1. "Breathe" (Edit) – 3:59
  2. "The Trick" – 4:25

Charts and certificationsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

An edited version of the song is featured as the opening track on MuchMusic's Diamond-Certified compilation album, Big Shiny Tunes 2. The song also featured in a 2012 television commercial for Tooheys Extra Dry.[61][62][63]

Fedor Emelianenko used this song as his walkout theme during his time with RINGS.[citation needed]

Al Snow used this song as his entrance theme during his days with Extreme Championship Wrestling.[citation needed]

Up until the 2012 PDC World Darts Championship, Dutch darts player Michael van Gerwen used the song as his walk-on theme.[64]

2021 remixesEdit

In 2021, two remixes by Rene LaVice featuring RZA were released for the F9 Soundtrack.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 9 November 1996. p. 29. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Keith Flint of The Prodigy Was the Face and Voice of America's '90s Electronic Boom". www.billboard.com.
  3. ^ "Q – 1001 best songs ever (2003)".
  4. ^ 5hand00 (10 August 2009), The Prodigy - Breathe (Live @ Pionir Hall, Belgrade, Serbia, 08-12-1995), archived from the original on 22 December 2021, retrieved 5 November 2018
  5. ^ "The Prodigy Belgrade 95 - The Prodigy Fanboy - Liam Howlett Keith Flint & Maxim".
  6. ^ Flick, Larry (7 June 1997). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 78. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 2 November 1996. p. 35. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  8. ^ Hyman, James (2 November 1996). "Hot Vinyl" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). p. 9. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  9. ^ Moody, Paul. "THE PRODIGY – The Fat Of The Land". NME. Archived from the original on 5 October 2000. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: The Fat of the Land". People. 11 August 1997. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
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  12. ^ "The Prodigy | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  13. ^ "The Prodigy Return to Billboard's Charts After Keith Flint's Death" from Billboard (13 March 2019)
  14. ^ "The Prodigy – Breathe". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  15. ^ "The Prodigy – Breathe" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
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  18. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3321." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
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  20. ^ "The Prodigy Chart History (Canadian Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13, no. 49. 7 December 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 52. 28 December 1996. p. 51. ISSN 0006-2510.
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  25. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14, no. 5. 1 February 1997. p. 19. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
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External linksEdit