Singer/guitarist Jared Leto wrote this piano driven ballad in Berlin in 2007.
Lead guitarist Tomo commented on this song to Musicradar.com
: "It's dark and there's not much guitar on it, other than some acoustic in the beginning and a little bit in the chorus. Other than that, it's all keyboards. But that's cool. We're not some egotistical rock band that has to dazzle everybody with our shred skills. We just want to do what's right for the song."
On this song Leto asks the question "Where is your God?" and other tracks on This Is War also feature lyrics where he appears to be questioning faith. Kerrang magazine November 28, 2009 asked him about this. Leto replied: "Faith is an important topic on the record. There is a sense of a quest there. I haven't reached any resolution in that quest, but it's important to ask questions."
The song originally featured a vocal contribution from Kanye West. However, some last-minute legal wrangling got in the way. A version of the song featuring West's additional vocals was released as a single but ultimately that version was used neither on the album nor in the video. Leto explained to MTV News: "He sang on the song, but I think, you know, you have to ship the album and get it manufactured, and they were working out the back-end stuff that's boring to talk about, to figure out all the rights of one record company and the rights of another. It has nothing to do with me or Kanye. But he's phenomenal on the song, and it will be out at some point. I don't even know if it will be in the first pressing, but we'll get it out there."
This song shares an icy sentiment with West's love-torn 2008 album, 808's & Heartbreak. Leto commented to MTV News on the similarities between the two records: "I wanted to work with him before 808's, but there was something about the direction that he headed in that album that lent itself to the song," Leto said. "I wrote 'Hurricane' in Berlin in the winter in 2007. It was winter, it was getting dark at like 3:30 in the afternoon, and it could go either way. It could be incredibly comforting or incredibly depressing. Thankfully, it was a little bit of both. It was inspiring nonetheless."
West's version of this track features on the deluxe edition of This Is War. Leto explained to MTV News how the collaboration with happened: "I had actually brought up [the idea ] some time ago, but it's pretty unbelievable that it actually happened . He came by here, he was here in the studio, and we did some initial kind of listening, and he did some singing, and we knew we needed to kind of follow up and finish things, so I went over to Hawaii [with] an engineer and a small crew, and we had a great time."
Like the original version of this song, the one with West is a bleak rumination on death and lust and sacrifice, and it finds West getting darker than he's ever been before. "It was an interesting time. ... I remember, he started here at the house, where we made the record, and then we finished in Hawaii," Leto told MTV News. "It is a song that's on the darker side of things. It's the flipside of 'Kings and Queens
' — which has a through line of optimism and hope, and a really strong spirit to it — this song explores a different territory, and his lyrics do the same."
This song finds West singing with his natural voice, without the help of Auto-Tune. Tomo told Musicradar.com: "My favorite is when he sings, as opposed to rapping, and I told him that as well, that I really liked him as a singer. But the Auto-Tune thing doesn't really bug me. People are going to be surprised at how good he sounds. Well, maybe not - they already know he's terrific. Put it that way: we sound good with him!"
The song's music video was shot in New York. Leto described its concept to MTV News: "It's a surrealistic nightmare dream-fantasy through the desolate empty streets of New York City at night," he said. "There's no people, there's no cars and you see the band as we encounter some fears and some fetishes, a series of challenges. It's a really ambitious, really cinematic short film."
The clip caused a stir among TV executives in the US and was banned by MTV and several other TV channels due to elements of violence, nudity and sex.
This was voted Best Single at the 2011 Kerrang! Awards.