Lyrically, Furtado said the song "is about the reality of love. My energy used to just go everywhere, but now I'm more grounded because I've found true love. The idea here is that, yeah, sometimes life sucks. But life is only so long, and somebody can come along who makes you want to be a better person. You just have to roll with the punches. So "Try" is not a happy-go-lucky song. It has a strange arrangement because the chorus happens only twice, and the end is improvisational. It's like one of those epic power ballads." The Los Angeles Times said of "Try", "Her unfettered enthusiasm wins out as she sings of passion for life".
Although the single was a big success in countries such as Mexico and Portugal (where it peaked at number one), it did not chart in the United States. "Try" was the last single released from Folklore in the U.S.; the subsequent singles were released only in Canada, Europe and Latin America. Two versions of the song exist; the original with the chorus only occurring twice, and a radio edit version in which the improv is taken out at the end and an extra chorus is added. A Spanish version, "Dar", was released in 2007 in the album of Loose (Summer Edition) only available in Latin America.
The music video was directed by Sophie Muller. The music video features Nelly and a male actor (who is assumed to be her husband) in traditional Portuguese dress, around the Settler time period. It shows their various hardships, and in one scene Nelly is seen tying lover's knots to the underside of the couple's bedsprings, which is assumed to be an infertility cure from folklore. There is an alternate version of the video, that shows Nelly singing the song with a guitar near the sea.