It’s very rare that I’ll write a “buried treasure” or “in-depth album review” post, only to have that song given a full music video and promoted later on. So rather than have everyone sift through The Bias List archives, I’m going to re-post my original review of Breathe today, updated with the video.
My thoughts on the song haven’t really changed since last month. I still think it’s absolutely great — a blast of fun that takes full advantage of Golden Child’s charms. The video, in all its Haikyu!! cosplay glory, is also a ton of fun and I love how it gives some spotlight to members who we don’t always see front-and-center during promotions.
Woollim Entertainment’s boy groups have a history of ending their albums with a big, satisfying dance track. Whether it’s Infinite (Shower, Zero, An Inconvenient Truth, Up To You), Golden Child (Sea, I’m Falling), or even DRIPPIN (Light), I love when an album ends with a bang rather than a whimper. And make no mistake about it… Breathe is definitely a bang!
Now, I do think Golden Child chose the right track to promote. Burn It is just incredible and showcases their talent so wonderfully. But for me, Breathe is a close second. It’s a great exclamation point on the album, and harnesses their bright, funk side without feeling juvenile.
Breathe is produced and polished to the hilt, but the arrangement of the instrumental gives it the looseness of a live band. Woollim’s acts often tour with a band, and that live instrumentation imbues their music with a different feel. Breathe breaks free of the rigid production that makes up many of today’s pop hits, and that sense of spontaneity is really refreshing. This is no more apparent than during the song’s explosive bridge. This brief breakdown is unbelievably funky, and gives Jangjun and Tag’s rap a delicious groove to chew on. A few well-placed percussive stabs elevate the second verse as well, along with a gorgeous, harmonized intro that lets us know we’re in for something more than the expected skrrt skrrt boy group dance track.
I also mentioned this when writing about Round N Round, but one of YES’s strengths is how it emphasizes its lyrical themes musically. Even as an English speaker who pays little attention to K-pop lyrics, I appreciate this attention to detail. Breathe’s ebullient chorus cracks open the track, delivering an ascending melody that really feels like the clouds are parting and we can all exhale. What an invigorating way to close out an album!