The single is a big departure from the sleazy rock characteristic of the previous two albums, and has a far more warm and acoustic sound to it. The single had various producers: "Positivity" was produced by John Leckie, "One Love", "Superstar" and "Colours" were produced by Stephen Street, "Simon" was produced by Suede and Ken Thomas, "Cheap" was produced by Suede and Dick Meaney while "Campfire Song" was produced by Suede and Alex Silva. Initially Brett Anderson liked the song and considered it one of his favourites on the album prior to its release. On the song Anderson said it's about "someone who's really close to me, who doesn't have much in life but manages to deal with it incredibly well." The video for the title song was directed by Julian Gibbs.
The single garnered mixed reviews from fans and critics. Even Brett Anderson would become very self-critical of the song. Anderson said: "When I first wrote it I thought it was a masterpiece but soon realized that many people were genuinely offended by it." One NME writer felt that Suede's time was up and hinted that they should disperse, saying "For the love of God chaps, you still have fans. Go quietly now, and they'll remain true."
Scottish newspaper Daily Record contrasted the single with their earlier material, which they described as being "so miserable they had a black cloud following them all the way up the charts." Their review finished on a positive note, saying: "the band return with an altogether more upbeat approach to life, the universe and music. As the title suggests this is a substantially chirpier Suede, and it's a very welcome reinvention."
Despite the negativity surrounding the song, "Positivity" reached #16 on the UK singles chart, and #1 in Denmark. Making the song the only number one single by the band other than "Trash".