Since its release, BREATHE (the album) has received many plaudits......
A music fan from Canada , December 8, 1998 [5 out of 5 stars]
Another great work! The composer has achieved a nice musical chef d'oeuvre. Discreet, soft and full of ambiance.
A music fan from Florida , December 1, 1998 [4 out of 5 stars]
This is the Swatch song. This album haunted us all through Europe last spring.We paid $30 for it in Paris!
firstname.lastname@example.org from Currently FL, USA , November 19, 1998 [5 out of 5 stars]
Truly a Masterpiece. Unfortunately many of the reviewers here are Americans and thus have not grown up and been exposed to the Ultravox/Ure era the way I have in Germany. For me it's impossible to think of the 80's without U-Vox and Ure. Only by accident I stumbled across BREATHE here in the States a year ago and it was a chance encounter. This album is nothing short of brilliant. Yes, Midge is a little on the "heavy" side with his message, but he always was - Thank God! I can't think of any American artist who could reach his level of intelligence, talent and spirit. This man has got it all but in a world of superficial and ignorant beings his efforts are only seen by the ones who see with their souls. In Midge's own words: Breathe some soul to me...
The following article appeared in the 11 July 1998 edition of 'The Straits Times Life' which is Singapore's national newspaper. It was written by Rebecca Lim.
Swatch sounds, but sweet stuff...
OKAY, this is the answer that you have all been looking for. That song on the Swatch advertisement is the title track from ex-Ultravox singer Midge Ure's 1996 album. That it took a watch ad to take this beautiful song to new heights two years after it is released is a sad indication of popular taste. But the Glasgow-born singer is surely not complaining. If you are wondering if it is worth buying the album for the song, it sure is. The rest of the 11-track album sports some nice songwriting from Ure - ethereal, with folksy Celtic strains thanks to the use of the fiddle, Celtic harp and Uilleann pipes and guest vocals by Eleanor McEvoy.
email@example.com from Houston, TX , June 11, 1998 [4 out of 5 stars]
I first heard Midge Ure on the 1986 Prince's Trust concert album. He delivered one of the best performances of the show, and I looked at the credits for the album and thought, who is this Midge Ure guy? I then purchased "Answers to Nothing" and an Ultravox best-of compilation, and found them to be competent but a little too poppy for my taste, without a lot of hook. Where was the strong, deep voice I'd heard on the Prince's Trust album? Well, it's back with "Breathe". Midge Ure left the musicianship to some independent experts and decided to just handle the singing bit, and it shows. Many songs on the album (including the Swatch-commercial anthem "Breathe") are very solid work, with good hooks. Ure's only real fault is that he seems convinced that every single song must be deep, serious and thoughtful. That gets tiresome after a while.
A music fan from ENCINO , June 11, 1998 [5 out of 5 stars]
Excellent. A real gem. I listen to this everywhere except in the shower which tends to wreck my cd player!
Tony Phillips, VH-1 Music Satellite TV Channel - 1998
When I told friends of mine outside the music business that I'd gotten Midge Ure, I heard everything from "Which breeder did you use" to "I hope it clears up before your beach holiday." When I mentioned the Big 80's gem "Vienna" from one of Ure's more famous outings, Ultravox, I found a few fans who not only remembered Midge, but insisted on singing the chorus. When I mentioned a little project he co-wrote and co-produced with fellow Band Aider Bob Geldof called "Do They Know It's Christmas," many more came on-board. But it was only when I mentioned the new Swatch ad that co-opts the title track, "Breathe," that I got the unanimous, "Oh, that's who that is."
The shame of this is that although "Breathe," which opens the disc, is definitely a catchy single, it is by no means the only highlight of this album, but rather one bright peak in a range of many without the usual corresponding valleys. The second track on the disc, "Fields of Fire," harks back to another Big 80's hit of the same name by Big Country. Only this version is unplugged and substitutes a lovely violin solo in place of a guitar trying too hard to sound like a bagpipe. It's not until the third track, "Fallen Angel," with its mandolin, celtic harp and harmonium, that the listener begins to clue into the fact that Midge has moved on to making world music. This may have something to do with the all-star line-up of guest musicians on the disc, like Robert Fripp, Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, Eleanor McEvoy and the Hothouse Flowers, but it also comes out of the strong musical influence of Ure's Scottish/Celtic background.
For all the disc's guest appearances, one true discovery is newcomer Sally Dworsky. Ure found this virtually unknown violinist in a small Los Angeles club and duets with her on one of the standout numbers on this disc, "Guns and Arrows." The haunting song showcases not only the writing skill of Ure and first class production of Richard Feldman (whom Big 80's fans may also recognize as the producer of Bananarama spawn Shakespear's Sister), but also Ure's ability to step into the background and let the spotlight shine on the different artists and traditions which are so critical to the success of true world music. On Breathe, Ure achieves the organic vibrancy he's been trying so long to capture on a disc that is exotic and hum-able all at the same time.