Want U Back

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This article is about the song by Cher Lloyd. For other uses, see I Want You Back (disambiguation).
"Want U Back"
Single by Cher Lloyd featuring Astro
from the album Sticks and Stones
Released 17 February 2012 UK
22 May 2012 U.S.
Recorded 2011
Length 3:34 (Album version)
3:44 (featured versions)
Producer(s) Shellback
Cher Lloyd singles chronology
"With Ur Love"
"Want U Back"
Astro singles chronology
"Want U Back"
Snoop Dogg singles chronology
"I Drink I Smoke"
"Want U Back"
"Slow Motion"
Alternative Cover
North American artwork

"Want U Back" is a song by British singer Cher Lloyd, from her debut studio album Sticks and Stones. It was released on 17 February 2012, as the third and final single from the UK version of the album, and on 22 May 2012 as her debut US single taken from the US version of the album.[1] The UK single version of the song features guest vocals from The X Factor USA contestant Brian "Astro" Bradley, while new US and Snoop Dogg versions were released in the United States. It was written by Shellback and Savan Kotecha, and it was produced by Shellback. Musically, "Want U Back" is a dance-pop song, with elements of bubblegum and synthpop, while the lyrics are about a girl who's in denial of the fact that she's jealous that her ex-boyfriend has moved on to another girl. Even though she was apparently who the one who dumped him in the first place, she makes various attempts to sabotage her ex-boyfriend's new relationship.

The song received acclaim from most music critics, some praised her sassy attitude on the song and labelled it "infectious". There are two videos for the song: the UK version and the US version. The UK video features Lloyd traipsing through old photographs with her former beau and some with his new girlfriend and wreaking havoc on the happy couple, while the U.S. version features Lloyd at a diner (Cadillac Jack's) wreaking havoc on her ex's new girlfriend. The song has reached number 3 on the New Zealand Singles Chart, number 18 on the Irish Singles Chart and number 25 on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, the song has reached number 9 on the Pop Songs chart and number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first top 40 hit in the United States. It remains Lloyd's biggest hit both worldwide and in the United States to date.

Background and release[edit]

Lloyd announced on 15 December 2011 that "Want U Back" would be released as the third single from her debut album Sticks and Stones.[2] On 22 December 2011 she revealed the artwork for the single.[3] In December 2011 Lloyd said she is hoping the track will help her crack the notoriously tough American market, saying: "It's a bit crazy because I don't expect anyone to know who I am because I live in the UK. I'm from The X Factor and I came fourth. It's crazy and it gives me a lot of hope. With the USA, I'm not going to run before I can walk but you never know what’s going to happen."[4] The single version features Series One US The X Factor contestant Brian "Astro" Bradley who was mentored by L.A. Reid on the show. Reid recently signed Lloyd to Epic Records in the United States. It was Lloyd's first single in the US, but the version would be the U.S. version.[5] Lloyd was reported to have remixed "Want U Back" with rapper, Snoop Dogg upon its release in the US.[6] On 20 July the remix of the song featuring Snoop Dogg premiered on U.S. radio, but leaked the night before.[citation needed]


"Want U Back" was written by American songwriter Savan Kotecha and Swedish songwriter Shellback, and was produced by the latter.[7] Lyrically, it finds Lloyd singing about her jealousy of her former lover and his new girlfriend.[7] While talking about the song, Lloyd stated:

"It's basically a track from lots of different girls' stories out there. A lot of people are telling me they can relate to the track and they've been in that situation, but it's also got an element of fun in it."[8]

The beats and guitar in the song, according to Digital Spy, "give the song an almost caricature quality."[9] There is also some uses of Auto-Tune/pitch correction to go with the synths. Cher's vocal spans from low note A3 to high note F#5.

Critical reception[edit]

The song received acclaim from many music critics. Nick Levine from BBC Music wrote a positive review, commenting: "She's a natural and charismatic vocal presence, so much so that Want U Back even creates a recurring hook from – how to put this? – the sound of her ‘frustrated grunts’."[10] Jon O'Brien from Allmusic wrote that the song is "an infectious example of cutesy pure pop that recall Britney before she lost her innocence."[11] Alex Denney from NME considered it "a sassy bit of bubble-drunk pop from Britney songwriter Max Martin."[12] Danner had previously written in another NME review that the song is "a peachy-keen pop number that goes pining after an ex, Cher drawing comfort from the fact that, even if her beloved is going out with someone else now, at least they’re only getting sloppy seconds."[13] Joe Rivers from No Ripcord wrote that "It's packed with hooks and has Cher’s personality stamped all over it."[14]

Lewis Corner of Digital Spy gave the song a positive review stating: "Truth be told, it's quite refreshing for an artist to embrace their perceived public image, but the joke is really on us. Why? Because it's Cher Lloyd who has the last laugh with another hit on her hands."[9] X. Alexander of Idolator called it "uber-catchy song that we haven’t been able to get it out of our heads since we first heard it."[5] Virgin Media's Matthew Horton wrote that the song has "dynamic catchy bounce."[15] David Griffiths from 4Music praised the track, writing: "It might not sound a million miles away from Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the USA', but it's got Cher's stamp all over it. From her dead pan delivery ('Please, this ain't even jealousy, she ain't got nothin' on me') to her screams of frustration peppered throughout the track, this has the potential to be an enormous global hit."[16] Bradley Stern from "MuuMuse" commented: "It is one of the album’s catchiest, cutest moments–even if Lloyd’s gritting her teeth and clenching her fists with rage."[17] He further wrote:

"Kicking off with a deliciously angry grunt that plays on loop (UHH!!!) the Shellback-produced track finds Lloyd ruing the day she ever stepped out on her man…who’s now being made all the happier by some other chick: 'Remember all the things that you and I did first? And now you’re doing them with her?!' Lloyd sings incredulously on the bouncing electro-pop beat, dissing the chick’s jeans and denying all charges of jealousy in the process."[17]

In December, popular U.S. teen website Pop Dust called "Want U Back" the 25th Best Song of 2012.[18] They wrote about it saying "An entire timeline of Stockholm Syndrome in three-and-a-half minutes: Who is this manic muppet, and why is she grunting? Does she know he doesn’t want her back? At least she’s honest about her brattiness though, that’s refreshing. Do you think she’s in on the joke? Huh, it’s over already? OK, maybe just one more listen. Wait, why can’t I get her voice out of my head? Rimembah ol the things that you an’ oi did fuhst? No, stop looking at me like that, I’m just doing my Cher Lloyd impression".[19]

Chart performance[edit]

"Want U Back" first appeared on the UK Singles Chart on the week ending 19 November 2011. The track debuted at number 194, following digital downloads from the respective album.[20] The song then re-entered the chart at number 56 on the week ending 21 January 2012 - following the release of the music video and confirmation of its release as a single. On its third charting week, the song rose 30 places to number 26 with sales of 9,730.[21] In New Zealand, "Want U Back" was a massive success, reaching #3.

The song debuted at number 38 on the US Pop Songs chart.[22] It also charted at number 39 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.[23]

On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it debuted at number 75 on the issue date of 30 June,[24] The next week it rose to number 51,[25] rising to number 35 the following week [26] and climbing to number 27 the next week [27] and still climbing to chart at number 16 on the issue date of 28 July;[28] dropping one position the next week to number 17 [29] and climbing to its peaking position, number 12, the next week.[30] It was last seen on the Billboard Hot 100, close to exiting the top 75, later moving to "recurrent status" after 20 weeks if fallen below position number 50.[31]"Want U Back" dropped to number 73 on the issue date of 10 November [32] to drop the chart the following week. "Want U Back" has since peaked number 9 on Billboard Pop Songs, number 5 on the Digital Songs and number 23 on Adult Pop Songs. It also debuted at number 95 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and has since peaked at number 11.[33] As of February 2013, the track has sold over 2,000,000 copies in the US, and almost 3,000,000 copies worldwide.[34]

Music video[edit]

Lloyd spills popcorn on her ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend in the UK music video.

International version[edit]

The music video for the song was uploaded to YouTube on 6 January 2012. The video was shot in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. In the video Lloyd sings about her jealousy and disappointment of her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, with the video showing Lloyd's attempts to sabotage her former love's new relationship. As Lloyd sits on her bed scanning at pictures of her and her ex, she drifts off into various schemes to drive the new couple apart. In one scene Lloyd pours a bottle of water over her former boyfriend, while in another she throws popcorn all over the loved-up pair during a trip to the cinema. Astro makes an appearance in the video to rap in the latter stages of the video, posing as her ex-boyfriend, which ends with Lloyd rather airheadedly imitating the sounds of a helicopter.[4]

She also recorded a live acoustic version of the song, the video of which was uploaded to YouTube on 15 December 2011.[35]

US version[edit]

Lloyd being arrested on the US version of the music video.

In 2012, Lloyd recorded an alternate video which was shown in the US. It premiered on 1 May 2012.[36] This new video shows Lloyd confronting her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend in California diner Cadillac Jacks, previously the setting of Cee Lo's "Forget You" music video, while performing the track on the restaurant's counter top. During the video, she gives her ex-boyfriend a strawberry smoothie and he accidentally spills it on his girlfriend. The police then arrive to arrest Lloyd and take her into custody, where she is getting her mugshot taken.[36] The US version is Vevo certified with over 100 million views.[37]

Live performances[edit]

Lloyd has performed the track live at every radio station she visited on her radio tour. The majority of these performances were done acoustically. On 25 July 2012 Lloyd made her US television debut after a performance on an America's Got Talent results show. On 30 August 2012, Lloyd performed the song, along with her next single, "With Ur Love", on Today to an audience of hundreds of fans. She sang the song with Taylor Swift on Swift's Red Tour on 19 August 2013.[38]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download EP[39]
No. Title Length
1. "Want U Back" (featuring Astro) 3:44
2. "Want U Back" (Radio Edit) 3:33
3. "Want U Back" (Acoustic) 3:28
4. "Want U Back" (Cahill Remix) 5:52
5. "Want U Back" (Pete Phantom Remix) 3:54
U.S. version[40]
No. Title Length
1. "Want U Back"   3:33
Total length:
U.S. promo CD[41]
No. Title Length
1. "Want U Back" (Radio Edit) 3:33
2. "Want U Back" (Cahill Remix) 5:52
3. "Want U Back" (Pete Phantom Remix) 3:54

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
United Kingdom 19 February 2012[1] Digital download
Australia 21 February 2012[64]
New Zealand
United States 7 May 2012[65] Mainstream/Top 40 radio[66]
22 May 2012[67] Digital download
Taiwan 20 May 2012
Malaysia 3 June 2012


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  3. ^ Cher Lloyd | DAY 11 - WANT U BACK ARTWORK. www.cherlloyd.com/
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  5. ^ a b Alexander, X. (24 March 2012). "Cher Lloyd Looks Quite Arresting In Her "Want U Back" US Single Art". Idolator. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
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External links[edit]