"Forgive Me" is a song by British singer Leona Lewis featured on the North American version of her debut album Spirit (2008). It was released as the fourth single of the album in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2008. The song was written by Aliaune "Akon" Thiam, Claude Kelly and Giorgio Tuinfort, and produced by Akon. Lyrically, "Forgive Me" is a R&B, dance-pop and soul written in A minor. Its lyrics reference about a girl who has found a new love and she is asking forgiveness to her old love.
"Forgive Me" is an R&B, soul and dance-pop song written in A minor. It moves at 120 beats per minute and is set in common time. On it, Lewis performs her highest pitch (G5) in falsetto during the final chorus, and her lowest pitch (A3) during each verse. The song refers to a protagonist in a one-sided relationship who leaves her boyfriend and eventually finds someone to reciprocate her love. Though she has found love from someone else, she defends herself and asks her ex-boyfriend for forgiveness. In an interview with Digital Spy, Lewis explained why she decided in change the musical genre of her previous singles, from contemporary R&B to dance-pop. She said: "I wanted to do something a bit different and the chance to work with Akon came about. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and it's great that it's different, rather than what I always do." There are two versions of the song, the "album version" (3:41) and the "single mix" (3:25), which was used in the music video. The album version repeats the bridge two times,
Leona Lewis performing "Forgive Me" during the tour The Labyrinth
The single cover was released on 17 September 2008, whilst the song was released in the UK on 3 November 2008 as the fourth single. Originally, the song was featured only in the North American version of the album Spirit, launched in 2008. Despite this, it was not released as a single in the region. Later, "Forgive Me" was added in the deluxe edition of the album, which was released internationally in the same year.
"Forgive Me" received generally positive reviews from music critics. The BBC review of the single called "Forgive Me" a "danceable funky pop song". Gavin Martin of The Mirror said, "[the song] showcases her voice of fire and honey. No apologies necessary". Nick Levine, Digital Spy music critic, gave the song three out of five stars, comparing it with Whitney Houston's song "I'm Your Baby Tonight" saying that after her previous three ballad singles, "it's a nice change". However, he also said, "the adultery-themed lyrics are a poor match for the sweet, unassuming Hackney girl". Chad Grischow noted that with the song Lewis "will not go down as a glorified one-hit wonder".Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "Forgive Me", and another song ("Misses Glass") from the album as "just slightly glitzier than the rest of Spirit." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called the single 'bouncy and youthful'.The New York Times criticised Lewis for being "a second-tier Mariah" on the song.
"Forgive Me" debuted and peaked at number five in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2008, becoming Lewis's third single in debut within the top ten, after "A Moment Like This" and "Bleeding Love". In Ireland, before its official release as a single, it was the second highest debut of the week of the Irish Singles Chart, at number five. In the Slovak Airplay Chart, it debuted at number seventy-six and in its tenth week the song peaked at number one. Also, in the European Singles Chart the song reached the number 11. In Italy, "Forgive Me" debuted at number nine, but fell off the chart next week. Elsewhere in Europe, the song reached number seven in Sweden, twelve in Switzerland, and fifteen in both Austria and Germany. The song entered the Australian charts at number fifty on 19 October 2008, and next week peaked at forty-nine. Later, "Forgive Me" dropped out of the chart, but on 10 November 2009, it re-entered at number fifty. In the 2008 UK year-end chart, compiling the best-selling singles of the year, "Forgive Me" was eighty-fifth.
Lewis performing in the "Singin' in the Rain" inspired scene in the music video for "Forgive Me".
The music video for the song was filmed in May 2008 and directed by Wayne Isham. It premiered on 16 September 2008. It starts out with Lewis receiving a text message from her boyfriend saying he is just a minute away from meeting up with her. The video then turns into a dream-like sequence with Lewis dancing in four set-ups inspired by the Hollywood musicals West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show, Singin' in the Rain and Carousel. The video ends with Lewis coming back to reality after a drop of rain lands on her hand and her boyfriend sent a message saying "Hurry! Looks like there could be rain". The JabbaWockeeZ dance crew also make an appearance in the Rocky Horror scene in the video, dancing behind Lewis.