Run for Your Life (Matt Cardle song)

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"Run for Your Life"
Single by Matt Cardle
from the album Letters
Released9 October 2011 (2011-10-09)
FormatCD single, digital download
GenreIndie pop
Length3:43 (video/radio edit)
4:08 (album version)
LabelSyco Music
Songwriter(s)Gary Barlow
Producer(s)Gary Barlow
Matt Cardle singles chronology
"When We Collide"
"Run for Your Life"

"Run for Your Life" is a song by the British singer-songwriter Matt Cardle. It was released on 9 October 2011 as the lead single from his first studio album, Letters (2011). The song was written and produced by Gary Barlow, and was the last song that Cardle recorded for the album. It reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.


"Run for Your Life" was written by the Take That frontman Gary Barlow after he took over the role of head judge on The X Factor, of which Cardle won the seventh series. During an interview with The Sun, Cardle discussed the track. "I'm really, really happy to have had Gary Barlow write a song for me. We had 90% of the album written, and then really late in the process, Gary sent the song through. I really related to it. I've been in that position many times, you know, that the song is talking about. It's about not being good enough for the person you're with and not being able to give enough, I was nearly in tears recording the vocals.[1] I've actually been trying to write that kind of song for a long time – it's putting yourself down in a clever way. Gary nailed it, and then he let me have a go at singing it, I couldn't pass it up, so I'm really happy about that."[2]

On 19 August 2011, a 30-second snippet was posted by Cardle on his Facebook page. On 5 September 2011, the song received its first radio airplay by Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1. The video for the song was premiered on the same day on Cardle's YouTube channel. The song was officially released via digital download on 9 October 2011, with a CD single release following the next day.

Critical reception[edit]

"Run for Your Life" was met with generally negative reviews. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy rated it 3/5, stating: "X Factor winners of the male variety have never had it easy. Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson barely made it past a second single, while Shayne Ward and Joe McElderry were more recently banished from the Syco clique after failing to match the bar set by Leona and Alexandra. Fortunately for Matt Cardle, his anti-talent show image during last year's competition gave him a more promising outlook – but is it enough to buck the boys' worrying trend? Judging by 'Run For Your Life', it looks like he's finally succumbed to the peer pressure. Over an anaemic guitar-pop melody, he confesses he's not worthy of his kindly lass, admitting: 'You need someone to walk you back/ Someone to love you too before you ask – before launching into the arm-waving, Gary Barlow-penned chorus. While Matt's famous falsetto manages a brief appearance, it's about the only distinguishable feature that remains from his once-rebellious nature."[3] Copsey also called the single a "disappointing start".[4]

The BBC described the single as "plodding" and "try-hard",[5] while The Guardian said it "sounds like a song Barlow was happy for Take That to pass up."[6] Pop Ledge said it "was probably a Take That D-side cast off – not much to get excited about."[7] WhatCulture gave "Run for Your Life" a positive review, commenting that it "shows off Cardle’s stunning vocal range".[8]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Tom Watson, and was premiered on 5 September 2011 on Cardle's YouTube channel.[9] The video shows Cardle performing in front of a video screen, watching images of a woman running along a beach, staring back at him. The video ends when the woman jumps out of the screen, hugs Cardle, and the pair walk off into the distance.

Live performances[edit]

Cardle performed the song live for the first time on 9 October 2011 during the live results show of The X Factor, in front of the song's writer, Gary Barlow.[10] On 13 October 2011, he recorded a performance for The Album Chart Show along with a few other tracks from the album. On 19 November 2011, he performed the song live on Children In Need. For each performance Cardle had a live backing band.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download / CD single[11]
  1. "Run for Your Life" – 4:08
  2. "Lost & Found" (Richard Lobb) – 4:13
  3. "Chemical" (Cardle, Stannard, Howes, Sneddon, Bauer-Mein) – 3:12

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011 Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 12
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[13] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 6
UK Download (The Official Charts Company)[15] 7

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Ireland 7 October 2011 Digital download Syco Music / Columbia Records
United Kingdom 9 October 2011
10 October 2011 CD single


  1. ^ Smart, Gordon (19 August 2011). "Gary Barlow gives Matt Cardle a Run For His Life". The Sun. London. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Advanced Search". Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Matt Cardle: 'Run For Your Life' – Single review". Digital Spy. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Matt Cardle: 'Letters' - Album review". Digital Spy. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Music - Review of Matt Cardle - Letters". BBC. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  6. ^ Hoby, Hermione (16 October 2011). "Matt Cardle: Letters – review". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ "Album Review: Matt Cardle – Letters". PopLedge. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Matt Cardle - Letters CD Album Review". 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Watch: Matt Cardle premieres 'Run For Your Life' video". We Are Pop Slags. 5 September 2011. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Matt Cardle 'nervous' performing in front of Gary Barlow on 'X Factor' – X Factor News – Music". Digital Spy. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Run for Your Life – Single by Matt Cardle – Preorder Run for Your Life – Single on iTunes". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
    - "Run For Your Life: Matt Cardle: Music". 9 September 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Chart Track: Week 41, 2011". Irish Singles Chart.
  13. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "2011-10-22 Top 40 UK Single Downloads Archive". Official Charts. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013.

External links[edit]