This slow jam finds R&B singer Usher in lover mode as he croons in his falsetto, "Where are you now, when I need you around?" over producer Diplo's rippling synths. Diplo tweeted: "I'm pretty sure in 9 months there are gonna be a lot of new babies that this song is responsible for." The song was released via Twitter on February 14, 2012, as a Valentine's Day present for his fans.
Philadelphia producer Diplo's resume also includes Chris Brown's hit "Look At Me Now
." He penned this song with Ariel Rechtshaid, who is the bassist of the Los Angeles-based folk-rock band Foreign Born, and has also produced for Cass McCombs, We Are Scientists
and Plain White Ts. The third credited co-writer is South Florida singer-songwriter Redd Stylez, whose debut album Let It Play
was released in 2006.
The strings were arranged by the Manhattan-based classical composer Nico Muhly, whose work with Pop/Rock musicians includes arrangements and orchestration for Grizzly Bear ("Ready, Able
"), Antony and the Johnsons, ("Everglade
") and Jónsi ("Go Do
Speaking with US radio station V-103, Usher explained this is not intended to be a song about sex, but rather the complication of relationships. He said: "It's not even about sex. It's really about the ultimate experience or lack thereof. Or the finale of an experience of love and life. When you're in a relationship and it has kinda reached the climax of where it can go, you gotta let it go if you are not going to commit."
Diplo told MTV News about working with Usher on this song: "We got really luck on that one. We just had great chemistry. I was super-nervous working with him the first two days. The way we did it, it was just a super-open format. He was down to do whatever we were excited about."
Speaking with UK newspaper The Guardian, Diplo explained the song started with the concept about looking back at what he felt at one time was a perfect relationship. He explained: "With this one I had explained to him about a moment I had with a girl where I felt like I could die with her and be content, but I didn't and life moved on, and that point in my life was over. It was a sad feeling but it was beautiful. He was relating with me about the idea and how many times you think things are perfect and feel that way but they can pass. I remember I was tryin' to explain a Portuguese word 'saudade' to him when we were just writing the lyrics; it's the feeling of nostalgia, but it's hard to make sense of in English."
This topped Time
magazine's Best Songs of 2012 list. Runner-up was PSY's "Gangnam Style
As well as addressing romance, Usher also uses creative wordplay to pay homage to electronic dance music. "It's about a relationship that was cut short because I was unwilling to move to the next level," he explained to Entertainment Weekly. "A lot of times, it's about sex first if there's not a deeper connection. So you reach that climax and then it's like, 'Man, let's just separate.' I was also hanging out in a lot of EDM clubs, and there's this point where the song reaches the climax and then drops back down, so there are double and triple entendres there."