"If I Never See Your Face Again" was originally intended to be a duet with Janet Jackson and appear on her Discipline album, although label problems interfered. The collaboration with Rihanna later came to fruition when Levine asked her to add her vocal to the remix version, which she accepted. "If I Never See Your Face Again" is a pop and R&B song featuring instrumentation provided by synthesizers and a guitar. The song received a mixed response from music critics, who praised the song's composition but criticized Levine and Rihanna's vocal performance. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Anthony Mandler and shot on an indoor soundstage in Castaic, California. The concept for the video was "high-end erotica".
"If I Never See Your Face Again" was written by Adam Levine and James Valentine, two of the five band members from Maroon 5. Production of the song was helmed by Mike Elizondo, Mike Endert, Mike "Spike" Stent, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Maroon 5. It was recorded by "Spike" Stent at Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA; Glenwood Place Studios, Burbank, CA and Phantom Studios, Westlake Village, CA. The song was originally intended to be a duet with Janet Jackson and appear on her Discipline album, but due to label problems Rihanna later appeared on the song. The song was included on the standard version of It Won't Be Soon Before Long without the inclusion of Rihanna, however, Levine stated in an interview with James Montgomery for MTV News whilst on set of the accompanying music video that he wanted to try something different for the album's re-release. The singer continued, saying that he asked Rihanna to do some "bits and pieces" in the recording studio and that it came together very quickly. Levine stated that if there is "magic" between two artists, then "you don't even have to think about it." During the interview, Rihanna confirmed that the song would be the only one to feature a collaboration on her re-release of Good Girl Gone Bad, revealing that she had always wanted to work with the group and was honored when they contacted her. "If I Never See Your Face Again" was released as a single in the United States on May 2, 2008.
Upon the release of It Won't Be Soon Before Long, music critics commented on the original version of the song, which does not include guest vocals by Rihanna. Jerome Blakeney for BBC wrote that "If I Never See Your Face Again", along with another It Won't Be Soon Before Long track "Makes Me Wonder", were "monster weapons of mass-marketing aimed at the feet and riding on swathes of string-drenched, synth-crunching disco." A reviewer for IGN was complimentary of 'If I Never See Your Face Again', writing that it is hard to resist listening to the song. The reviewer also noted that Levine appeared to adopt a vocal style reminiscent of techniques employed by Justin Timberlake, writing "Like Justin Timberlake it's all about the high pitched tenor falsetto and some sinewy grooves." Bill Lamb for About.com noted that "If I Never See Your Face Again" and "Makes Me Wonder" appeared to be inspired by Britishjazz funk and acid jazzbandJamiroquai, writing "Any Jamiroquai fan may call foul if they listen to 'If I Never See Your Face Again' or 'Makes Me Wonder'." Sal Cinquemani was critical of the song, labeling it as "nasty." Alex Fletcher for Digital Spy disapproved of the collaboration between the band and Rihanna, with specific thoughts on Levine and Rihanna's pairing. Fletcher was critical of their vocal performance, writing that their voices clashed with one another and that "the sexual chemistry radar for the pairing registers at zero." Fletcher commented about the song further, writing that it should never have left the recording studio.
"If I Never See Your Face Again" achieved moderate chart success on singles charts around the world. It debuted on the Australian Singles Chart at number 28 June 1, 2008, and peaked at number 11 in its sixth week. The song debuted on the New Zealand Singles Chart at number 37 on June 9, 2008, and peaked at number 21 the following week. In Europe, the song debuted and peaked at number 15 on the Italian Singles Chart on July 17, 2008. The song remained on the chart for one week. It debuted on the Dutch Singles Chart at number 35 on June 14, 2008, and peaked at number 20 the following week. The song fluctuated between positions in the twenties and seventies for 13 weeks. "If I Never See Your Face Again" debuted on the Danish Singles Chart at number 36 on July 27, 2008, and peaked at number 31 in its sixth week. It debuted on the Swiss Singles Chart at number 61 on June 29, 2008, and peaked at number 52 the following week, where it remained in its third week. It debuted on the Austrian Singles Chart at number 67 on September 5, 2008, and peaked at number 54 the following week. "If I Never See Your Face Again" debuted and peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 28 on June 14, 2008. Over the following two weeks, the song descend down the top-forty, before falling out in its third week. The song made a re-entry on the chart at number 36 on July 7, 2008. In the United States, the song peaked at number 51 on the BillboardHot 100 chart on July 26, 2008. It peaked at number 10 on the Adult Pop Songs chart; number 30 on the Pop Songs chart and 21 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.
Adam Levine and Rihanna in the music video, where they try to not succumb to each other's temptations.
The song's accompanying music video was directed by Anthony Mandler, and shot on an indoor soundstage in Castaic, California on April 23, 2008. The concept for the video was "high-end erotica". In an interview with James Montgomery for MTV News whilst on set of the music video, Levine provided a summary of what the video would entail, saying: "It's this kind of ultra-glamorous, photography-based, late-'70s/ early-'80s situation. It's really stylish and really beautiful ... It's the most choreographed thing I've ever done, because usually I just get up there and screw around. But with Rihanna, it's completely different and so cool." In response, Rihanna continued to say that "I don't do a lot of videos where I have so much chemistry with the other artist, and this is only my second duet in a video ... It's really intense, because you have to work with each other so much. It's new for me, but I'm enjoying it."
The video begins with Levine and Rihanna sitting opposite each other at a table, tapping their hands and staring at one and other. As the songs audio begins to play, band members of Maroon 5 start to play their instruments as Rihanna sits and watches them. The table and band scenes are intercut with each other for the first verse and chorus. For the second verse, Levine and Rihanna appear to argue and try to ignore the other's advances. Rihanna lays suggestively on a bed whilst Levine sits on a chair with his head turned in the opposite direction for the bridge. For the final chorus, the pair appear to reconcile and embrace each other. The video was made available to download digitally via iTunes on May 12, 2008.