Break Your Heart

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For Natalie Merchant song, see Ophelia (album).
"Break Your Heart"
Single by Taio Cruz
from the album Rokstarr
Released 13 September 2009 (2009-09-13) (UK)
2 February 2010 (2010-02-02) (US)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2009
Genre Synthpop, R&B, dance-pop
Length 3:23 (original version)
3:05 (remix with Ludacris)
Label Island, Mercury (US)
Writer(s) Christopher Bridges, Fraser T Smith
Producer(s) Taio Cruz, Fraser T Smith
Taio Cruz chronology
"Take Me Back"
(2009)
"Break Your Heart"
(2009)
"No Other One"
(2009)

"Break Your Heart" is a song by English singer-songwriter Taio Cruz. The song serves as the lead single from his second studio album, Rokstarr (2009). It was written by Cruz and Fraser T Smith and produced by Smith. It was first released in the United Kingdom on 20 September 2009, followed by a release in the United States and other markets on 2 February 2010. The official remix version features American rapper Ludacris; that version was the single released in North American countries. The song, originally penned for Cheryl Cole, is an uptempo R&B song with synthpop and dance-pop elements, accompanied by Cruz's auto-Tuned vocals. The song is lyrically a warning to someone about being a heartbreaker.

The song received mixed to positive reviews, critics commending its infectious sound, but noting that it was generic. The song peaked at number one in Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, and also within the top ten of many other countries. The accompanying music video features several scenes of Cruz on escapades with different women, including a speedboat compared to classic Diddy and a club scene with Ludacris in the American version.

Background[edit]

"Break Your Heart" was one of two songs penned by Cruz for Cheryl Cole for her debut solo album, 3 Words.[1] After Cruz did not hear back from Cole's label about the song, he reworked the song for a male and made it the first song off his second album, Rokstarr.[1] Cruz told MTV News UK that after he released the song, Cole's people would have liked the song for her after all.[1] The latter track by Cruz, "Stand Up" made it onto the final tracklist on Cole's album.[1]

However, according to the song's other co-writer Fraser T Smith in an interview with HitQuarters, "Break Your Heart" was rejected by Cole's Polydor label boss Ferdy Unger-Hamilton felt it was too similar to "Heartbreaker" by will.i.am, the executive producer of 3 Words.[2] Smith also told This Must Be Pop: "Taio felt the lyric was a bit cocky for him to carry off – I told him he sounded great on it."[3]

Speaking of the song's lyrical background, Cruz told Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul:

"Its about breaking a girl's heart, but in a way that's kinda not on purpose. It's more that I'm just a single guy, trying to be single and trying to remain single. And sometimes, when you are in that place, you get girls who wanna be a part of what you're about – but, because you're not really ready for a relationship, those girls can end up being heartbroken. So what I'm basically saying is 'I might just break your heart. But I'm only gonna break your heart if you come through this way right now'."[4]

Cruz also has called his song "catchy" with a "good melody" and "fun topic", stating that "both girls and guys can get into this character".[5] In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cruz elaborated and said the song was partially based on a personal situation, and rather an "exaggeration of an experience".[5]

The success of the song in the United Kingdom attracted the attention of David Massey and Daniel Werner from Mercury/Island Def Jam who were excited and aggressive about releasing "Break Your Heart" in the United States on their label.[6] According to Cruz's manager Jamie Binns, the relationship with Monte Lipman at Universal Republic had "gone a bit quiet" by this point and as Taio wanted to be with the label that was most enthusiastic about his music, a move from Universal Republic to Mercury/Island Def Jam was engineered.[6] Massey and Werner's belief in the single's potential within the United States and relentless promotional push they gave it helped the song reach the Billboard Hot 100 top spot.[6]

Ludacris remix[edit]

In addition to re-working his album for an American release, Cruz tapped American rapper Ludacris on a remix for the American version of "Break Your Heart". According to Cruz's manager Jamie Binns, Mercury Records president David Massey had suggested that to introduce Cruz to the American market, the single should feature an American rapper with chart credibility.[6] Massey and Mercury A&R manager Daniel Werner engineered an introduction with Ludacris' manager Jeff Dixon, who then played the song to Ludacris, who loved the track and within a week his contribution was complete.[6]

On collaborating with Ludacris, Cruz said, "With Ludacris, pretty much every track he's ever featured on sounds amazing. I gave him a quick call and asked him if he could get on the record, and he recorded it and sent it over. As I expected, there was nothing I needed to change. It sounded perfect. He put my name in there, which is great – so people know to pronounce it now properly, hopefully."[7] The version featuring Ludacris was originally released digitally as the b-side to "No Other One" in November 2009, before in the United States in February 2010.[8][9]

Composition[edit]

A 31-second sample of the remix version of Break Your Heart featuring Cruz's vocals and Ludacris' rap-intro

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Break Your Heart" is an electropop song featuring a "surging dance-pop" sound, accompanied with Cruz's Auto-Tuned R&B vocals.[10][11][12][13] It is written in the key of E major described as a "medium dance groove", and Cruz's vocals span from B4 to B5.[14] According to Jason Draper of Yahoo! Music UK, the song is a mix of European and American urban music.[15] It includes several tempo changes, which have been compared to that of Jay Sean's "Down".[12] The song is filled with boasting lyrics about being a heartbreaker rather than being heartbroken.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Although BBC Music called the song a "cheese-fest", the reviewer said "in a weird way it's kind of beautiful", investing in the "Ibiza-inspired R&B trend".[11] The review also compared the song to Dizzee Rascal and Cruz's "layered vocals" and "slick production" to OneRepublic and Timbaland's "Apologize".[11] Michael Menachem of Billboard said that the "stateside version" turns up the heat with Ludacris' feature as "Cruz's breezy vocals on this electro-pop number have all the warmth of smooth R&B, while producer Fraser T Smith sets up the right ratio of catchy vocals and tempo changes to make a hit".[12] Ash Dosanjh of New Musical Express said that Cruz's downfall was when he acts the player, as on "Break Your Heart" and "Dirty Picture".[16] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian said Cruz was "proficient but generic" in the song, but his "autotuned vocals could have been anyone's, and this facelessness is a problem Cruz rarely surmounts."[10] Chris Ryan of MTV Buzzworthy said that the song "perfectly embodies Cruz's infectious, dancefloor-friendly sound and sleek, immaculate production", and compares it to Jason Derülo and Akon.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted at number one in the United Kingdom becoming Cruz's first song to reach the pole position in that territory.[17] The song remained at the top of the chart for three weeks.[17] The song also peaked at number one in Switzerland, and in the top ten in several other countries across Europe.[18] It also charted at number two in Australia, and peaked at the top position in the United States.[19] With the jump from fifty-three to one on the Billboard Hot 100, Cruz also set the record for largest jump to the top of the chart by a debut act.[19] The record was previously held by American singer Kelly Clarkson, who jumped fifty-two to one with her American Idol coronation song, "A Moment Like This", and who also holds the record for the biggest non-debut jump on the chart, moving from ninety-seven to one with "My Life Would Suck Without You".[19] It originally moved 31,000 digital copies in the United States for a partial sales week prompting its original Hot 100 entry, and shifted 273,000 downloads in its first full week of availability, claiming the top debut on Hot Digital Songs.[19] It also marked Ludacris' fifth number one song. The song eventually dominated American airplay also, peaking at number one on the Pop Songs chart.[20] Cruz became the twelfth male artist to have his first solo single peak at the top of the chart, and was the third since October 2008, following Jay Sean and Jason Derülo.[20] By August 2012, "Break Your Heart" had sold 3,712,000 digital copies in the United States.[21]

Music video[edit]

Cruz and his girlfriend on a speedboat in the music video.

The original music video was filmed in Marbella, Spain in July 2009, with new parts filmed in Miami, United States in February 2010 to include Ludacris,[22] resulting in two versions of the video.[23]

The video begins with Cruz and his girlfriend, played by Uzbekistan-born supermodel Nadya Nepomnyashaya, sitting together in a sports car near a pier. She tells him "You know I'm just gonna hurt you." Cruz responds by saying "You know I'm only gonna break your heart, right?" She says "You want a bet?" and he says "Bring It On." They then exit the car, walk down the pier and enter a nearby speedboat. Scenes are then shown in several different venues, including a club, a boat, a beachfront party, the speedboat and a hotel room. Throughout the video, Cruz is on escapades with different women. The video ends with Cruz's girlfriend laughing at his attempts to break her heart and then the two get off the boat they are on and go back onto the speedboat. For the version with Ludacris, there are scenes with him and Cruz in a white concrete backdrop with a flashing light, as well as the two of them together with a large group of people in another club.

When asked if an old school Diddy was an influence on the video, Cruz said "Probably on some kind of subconscious level. I just love supermodels, I love sunshine, and I love sports cars. And this time we also added a speedboat. So you got the four S's in there."[5] In an interview with Rap-Up, when talking about the video portraying him as a heartbreaker, Cruz said "No, not really. I suppose maybe 20%. It was more of just playing a character and having fun, just going out there and making a real cool, fun, cocky video. Not everyone has seen the whole plot of the video, but it's actually myself and my girlfriend both going out with the intention of breaking everyone's hearts."[24]

Covers and other uses[edit]

"Weird Al" Yankovic included the chorus in his polka medley "Polka Face" from his 2011 album Alpocalypse.[25] Violinist Lindsey Stirling used the song to perform to in America's Got Talent

Track listing[edit]

  • German CD single[26]
  1. "Break Your Heart" (featuring Ludacris) – 3:05
  2. "Break Your Heart" (The Wideboys Remix Radio Edit) – 3:46
  1. "Break Your Heart" – 3:23
  2. "Break Your Heart" (Vito Benito FF Radio Remix) – 3:22
  3. "Break Your Heart" (Paul Thomas Remix) – 7:41
  4. "Break Your Heart" (Cassette Club Remix) – 7:22
  • Digital download[28]
  1. "Break Your Heart" – 3:23
  2. "Break Your Heart" (Paul Thomas Remix) – 7:41
  • Digital download – EP[29]
  1. "Break Your Heart" (Vito Benito FF Radio Remix) – 3:22
  2. "Break Your Heart" (Cassette Club Remix) – 7:22
  3. "Break Your Heart" (Agent X Remix) – 4:27

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album liner notes.[30]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 13 September 2009[74] Digital download Island Records
14 September 2009[75] CD single
United States 2 February 2010[76] Mainstream and rhythmic airplay Mercury Records
25 February 2010[8] Digital download
11 May 2010[77] Urban airplay

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Interview With Fraser T Smith". HitQuarters. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "Thank You for the Music: Fraser T Smith". This Must Be Pop. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
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  6. ^ a b c d e "Interview With Jamie Binns". HitQuarters. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
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External links[edit]