Written by Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar
#1 (6 weeks)
December 25, 1999 – January 29, 2000
Radio & Records
#1 (6 weeks)
December 17, 1999 – January 21, 2000
Faith Hill’s signature hit is the final No. 1 single of the nineties.
The Road to No. 1
After three No. 1 hits, Faith produced the top fifteen “Love Ain’t Like That” and the top five “The Secret of Life.” The title track and lead single from Faith’s fourth studio album followed, and it is the final No. 1 single of the decade.
The No. 1
“Breathe” takes its cues from Shania Twain’s countrification of the arena rock anthem and applies the same approach to an eighties hair band ballad, and it works.
Hill is positively bewitching on this track, giving a sultry performance that fully utilizes her lower register. She already sang this same melody on her earlier No. 1 hit, “It Matters to Me,” and comparing the two shows how much her style had developed and changed over the years.
I love the way that the steel guitar is embedded throughout “Breathe,” giving it a warmth that serves the intimate lyric well.
I know this is in the same category of “Amazed” and “You’re Still the One” and “I Hope You Dance”: big country hits that were inescapable before they crossed over and even harder to get away from them after they crossed over. Hell, “Breathe” was the No.1 pop hit of 2000.
But I’ll continue to go to bat for all of them, just like I will for “9 to 5” and “Seven Year Ache” and “Islands in the Stream” when we cover the eighties. This is as good as pop country gets, and it’s every bit as important to making country a thriving and relevant musical genre as traditional country, bluegrass, and country rock are.
“Breathe” is a classic, and it ends the decade on a high note.
The Road From No. 1
Hill will be back when we get to the 2000s, starting with the second single from Breathe, which will also spend multiple weeks at No. 1.
“Breathe” gets an A.
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