Breathe

Feat. Colbie Caillat | Promotional Single
Fearless (2008) | Fearless (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Breathe” is a song on Taylor’s second studio album, “Fearless” (2008). It was written about the end of a friendship. Colbie Caillat provides background vocals for the track. The re-recording of the song, “Breathe (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on April 9, 2021 on the album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

The song was written by Taylor and Colbie Caillat and produced by Nathan Chapman with Taylor’s aid. The lyrics for “Breathe” are about heartbreak and the loss of a person the narrator spent much time with. In the song’s verses, the narrator acknowledges that people change and grow apart, though she is upset because she knows the person “like the back of her hand.” In the song’s chorus, she realizes the need to remain strong and breathe in order to live without the person. Taylor explained to That’s Country:

“[‘Breathe’ is] a song about having to say goodbye to somebody, but it never blames anybody. Sometimes that’s the most difficult part. When it’s nobody’s fault.” — Taylor Swift

BACKGROUND AND PRODUCTION
Taylor was very fond of Caillat’s 2007 debut album, “Coco”. Taylor explained, “When it came out, I fell in love with the way that she makes music.” She later contacted Colbie’s management and asked if she could write a song with her. They confirmed Caillat would be available due to a then upcoming concert in Nashville, Tennessee and, coincidentally, on the same day, Taylor had a vacation day. Taylor explained:

“It was total therapy because I came in and I was like look, ‘One of my best friends, I’m gonna have to not see anymore and it’s not gonna be part of what I do. It’s the hardest thing to go through. It’s crazy listening to the song because you would think its about a relationship and it’s really about losing a friend and having a fallout.” — Taylor Swift

Colbie and Taylor said one of the beauties of the song was that many people would be able to relate to it because it is never specific as why the departure is occurring or whose fault it was. Taylor desired for Colbie to sing background vocals but in a loud manner, enough for audiences to recognize who sang backup. Originally they were only to harmonize in the chorus, but as Colbie recorded, Taylor decided to include her voice more throughout the track because of how impressed she was. Taylor first recorded the entire song, and Colbie then recorded background vocals separately. Taylor was very pleased with the finished product: “I think she sounds beautiful on it. I’m so excited to have her voice on my album.” Colbie talked about how they collaborated:

“I went to Nashville about a year and a half ago, and she wanted to write with me, and I flew there and she had this beautiful song started and it’s about having to let someone go and say goodbye to a really good friend. And we became friends after that. She is so sweet, so beautiful, so talented and honestly just a really intelligent young woman. She knows what she is doing and she knows how to handle her career and take charge. I love her.” — Colbie Caillat

“Breathe” was released on October 21, 2008, as a promotional single from “Fearless”, exclusively through Rhapsody.

The song received favorable responses from contemporary music critics. “Breathe” was nominated for the GRAMMY Award for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals”, but lost to Jason Mraz and Caillat’s “Lucky”.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I see your face in my mind as I drive away
‘Cause none of us thought it was gonna end that way
People are people and sometimes we change our minds
But it’s killing me to see you go after all this time

Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm

Music starts playin’ like the end of a sad movie
It’s the kinda ending you don’t really wanna see
‘Cause it’s tragedy and it’ll only bring you down
Now I don’t know what to be without you around

[Pre-chorus 1]
And we know it’s never simple, never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand

[Chorus]
And I can’t breathe
Without you, but I have to
Breathe-taylor-swift
Breathe
Without you, but I have to

[Verse 2]
Never wanted this, never want to see you hurt
Every little bump in the road I tried to swerve
People are people and sometimes it doesn’t work out
Nothing we say is gonna save us from the fall out

[Pre-chorus 2]
And we know it’s never simple, never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand
And I can’t breathe
Without you, but I have to
Breathe
Breathe
Without you, but I have to

[Bridge]
It’s two a.m., feelin’ like I just lost a friend
Hope you know it’s not easy, easy for me
It’s two a.m., feelin’ like I just lost a friend
Hope you know this ain’t easy, easy for me

And we know it’s never simple, never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me, oh

[Chorus]
I can’t breathe
Without you, but I have to
Breathe
Without you, but I have to
Breathe
Without you, but I have to

[Outro]
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry

General Information
AlbumsFearless
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 21, 2008
Re-ReleasedApril 9, 2021
GenreCountry Pop
Length4:21
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Colbie Caillat
ProducersNathan Chapman
Taylor Swift
Single Certification
Hidden Message
I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry
The Making of "Breathe"
Official Audio