Following the release of 2007's Unfold, Marié Digby kept herself busy by working on two concurrent albums: Second Home, her Japanese studio debut, and Breathing Underwater, her second American release. Both were released in 2009, with Breathing Underwater signaling her transformation from an acoustic-based songwriter into a mainstream pop diva. These songs may have been largely written by Digby, but they sound little like the summery material she penned for her debut, focusing instead on R&B production and slickly layered arrangements. Tracks like "Daybreak" embrace that change, wrapping Digby's melodies in layers of piano, booming percussion, and minor-key ambiance. The album peaks with that lead-off track, however, and heads steadily downhill from there, making various missteps along the way. "Come Find Me" imitates Jordin Sparks' "No Air" to a shameless degree (the sole difference being a ten-second bridge), while "Feel" sports the same melodic grunts ("Eh! Eh! Eh!") that Timbaland added to OneRepublic's "Apologize." It's hard to appreciate Digby's natural voice when it's caked in such sonic makeup, and Breathing Underwater ultimately falls victim to its own production.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey