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Gwen Stefani “Used To Love You” from THIS IS WHAT THE TRUTH FEELS LIKE.
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Used to Love You on Wikipedia
"Used to Love You"
Single by Gwen Stefani
from the album This Is What the Truth Feels Like
ReleasedOctober 20, 2015
FormatDigital download
Recorded2015; Westlake Studios (Los Angeles)
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Justin Tranter
  • Julia Michaels
  • Jonathan "J.R." Rotem
  • Teal Douville
Producer(s)Jonathan "J.R." Rotem
Gwen Stefani singles chronology

"Used to Love You" is a song recorded by American singer Gwen Stefani for her third studio album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like (2016). It was written by Stefani, Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, Jonathan "J.R." Rotem and Teal Douville, and produced by Rotem. After scrapping the album and its two singles, "Baby Don't Lie" and "Spark the Fire", in favor to start over, Interscope Records released "Used to Love You" as the album's first official single on October 20, 2015. It was then serviced to mainstream radio on October 27, 2015.

"Used to Love You" is an emotional midtempo synthpop ballad, with its instrumentation consisting of a piano, restrained synths and drum taps. Lyrically, the song talks about a painful break-up, with the protagonist questioning why she fell in love. Stefani described the song as being inspired by the end of her 13-year marriage with Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale.

"Used to Love You" was critically acclaimed for its lyrical content and Stefani's emotional delivery, with most critics calling it a heartbreaking song. Critics viewed the single as an improvement over her 2014 releases, which Stefani herself later described as "rushed". Stefani first premiered the song during a concert on October 17, 2015 and its music video was released three days later. The music video is a single shot of Stefani on a black background, displaying her emotions, and occasionally mouthing some of the words of the song. The song received its first televised performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on October 26, 2015.


  • 1 Background and release
  • 2 Composition
  • 3 Critical reception
  • 4 Commercial performance
  • 5 Music video
  • 6 Live performances
  • 7 Track listing
  • 8 Credits and personnel
  • 9 Charts
  • 10 Certifications
  • 11 Release history
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links

Background and release

In October 2014, Stefani released her first solo single in six years, "Baby Don't Lie", and following its moderate impact and reception, a new single, "Spark the Fire", was released in December of the same year. However, both singles underperformed on the charts,[1][2][3] prompting the album to be postponed for a 2015 release.[4] After months with no updates on the album, Stefani revealed in an interview for Entertainment Weekly that she scrapped the entire album in favor of starting over, since she did not feel fulfilled and totally involved with the previous project.[5] Stefani started writing new material in June 2015, and following her divorce from Gavin Rossdale a month later, she felt very inspired. In the same interview, Stefani claimed: "I needed to go through what I needed to go through to write the record that I needed to write. [...] These songs are really natural — they’re from not worrying about what happened or what’s going to happen but about living in the moment, from trying to be present and trying to feel."[5]

A&R President Aaron Bay-Schuck at Interscope Records asked songwriters and producers J.R. Rotem, Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels to work with Stefani on the album. Stefani recalled saying the following to them during a recording session: "'Listen, I don’t care about anything. I don’t care about hits. I don’t care about anything except for coming in this room right now…all I want to do is just say the truth. I just want the truth to come out'."[6] Michaels, revealed that "Gwen had written down of all of these things she was feeling at that moment. There was this one phrase that read, 'I don't know why I cry but I think it's because I remembered for the first time since I hated you that I used to love you.' I said, 'Whoa, what a crazy line that is.' She just goes, 'Cool, make it a melody. Let's go."[7] The song was written after Stefani was told by her label that the album was too personal to release; she rebelled against their advice and continued writing personal songs. The next day she ended up writing what she thought was the least commercial song on the album, "Used to Love You", and they approved it.[8]

On October 17, 2015, Stefani performed at a MasterCard Priceless Surprises concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.[9] Prior performing the show's encore, she wrote on her official Twitter account, "Ready for the encore? Hold tight—new single in 5–4–3–2–1!".[10] Before performing "Used to Love You", she said, "I just want to share a song that I wrote recently. This song is really special."[9] On October 19, 2015, Stefani revealed the single's cover art featuring a close-up picture of herself.[11] A day later, October 20, 2015, the song was released to digital download on iTunes and other online platforms,[12][13][14] while on October 27, 2015, Interscope Records serviced the song to mainstream radio as the official lead-single from the album.[11][15][16]


Color picture of J.R. Rotem

"Used to Love You" was written by Stefani, Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels and J.R. Rotem; Rotem is also one of the song's producers.[17][18] The song is a vulnerable and "emotional" midtempo synthpop ballad,[19][20] having a "driving piano melody", with a length of three minutes and forty-seven seconds.[21] Spin's James Grebey wrote that the song "largely showcases her passionate, conflicted vocals over restrained, electropop-leaning swells of emotional synths and drum taps."[22] Lyrically, "Used to Love You" is a break-up anthem, where Stefani is questioning how she fell in love with her ex in the first place.[1] The majority of music critics noted that the song is inspired by Stefani's divorce from Gavin Rossdale, after a 13-year marriage.[17] In an interview for Today's Matt Lauer, Stefani confirmed that the track was inspired by the end of her marriage, claiming: "I’ve never put a record out where I’m actually going through things in real time. [But t]his is like, I wrote that song like a couple weeks ago."[23] According to Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone that could be seen in the lines of the chorus, "I don't know why I cry / But I think it's cause I remember for the first time / Since I hated you / That I used to love you."[17] In other poignant lyrics, she sings, "I guess nobody taught you, nobody taught you how to love."[24] Kreps further compared the lyrical content of "Used to Love You" to "Dreaming the Same Dream", a song from No Doubt's sixth album Push and Shove.[17] Alex Kritselis of Bustle claimed that the song "recalls some of best ballads, like 'Cool', 'Early Winter', and '4 in the Morning'."[1]

Critical reception

Since its release, "Used to Love You" has received critical acclaim from critics. Madison Vain of Entertainment Weekly felt the song's "hyper-personal lyrics" were "immediate and affecting",[5] while Sierra Marquina of Us Magazine stated that the song has "powerful lyrics seem to hint at what went wrong."[25] Maeve McDermott from USA Today awarded the track "Song of the Week" for the week starting October 22, 2015, further adding that "he song's spiritual sibling is another of Stefani's best works: 1996's No Doubt classic 'Don't Speak'," but noting that "this time around, coming from a more mature artist with fewer things to prove, the pain feels dizzyingly fresh."[26] Bianca Gracie of Idolator praised the fact that the singer was "stepping away from the pumped-up vibes of previous tracks like 'Spark The Fire' & 'Baby Don’t Lie', also noting that "eartache is immediately relatable (just ask Adele) and Gwen is often praised for her underrated slow songs [...], so it is refreshing to witness her jumpstart this current album era with a new vibe."[21] Alex Kritselis of Bustle called it "a fantastic 'comeback single' — a tremendous improvement over 'Baby Don't Lie'," praising that "when she repeatedly sings, 'I don't know why I used to love you,' during the climax, you feel it."[1] Music Times's Carolyn Menyes agreed, noting that "we haven't heard a breakup anthem from this girl since her 'Tragic Kingdom' days. After a series of less-than-stellar singles, it's safe to say Stefani is back."[27] Sean Fitz-Gerald of Vulture wrote that "the song veers toward Stefani's more mellifluous, sentimental fare," calling it a "heartrending track".[28]

Commercial performance

"Used to Love You" was a moderate success around the world after its release. In the United States, "Used to Love You" debuted at number three on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which serves as an extension to the Billboard Hot 100.[29] After entering the Hot 100 at number 84 for the week ending November 14, the track reached its peak of number 52 on December 19, 2015.[30] In the United States, "Used to Love You" has sold over 310,000 copies.[31] In other countries, "Used to Love You" peaked at number 157 on the UK Singles Chart on October 31, 2015.[32] In Canada, the track debuted and peaked at number 57 while in Australia, the single debuted and peaked at number 58.[33]

Music video

On October 20, 2015, the same day of the song's release, Stefani premiered the music video, directed by Sophie Muller, on Facebook.[34] The minimalistic one-shot video shows Stefani on the verge of tears while sitting in a dark space with a white tank top.[35] Stefani noted that the video had been filmed inside of her dressing room for her New York performance, and was not intended to be released as the track's official music video.[36] Carolyn Menyes of Music Times remarked that "though most of the video is spent near tears, Stefani sings key lyrics, just for an additional emotional trigger."[27] McKenna Aiello of E! Online emphasized that "it's her ability to hold them back that really reveals Stefani's strong sense of self."[37] Marc Inocencio, writing for Seacrest's website, noted that the video "is simple, yet, it’s enough to tell the story behind a recent heartbreak," calling it "really, really heartbreaking."[35] Erin Strecker of Billboard echoed the same thought,[38] while Joe Satran of The Huffington Post called it "spare, vulnerable and raw: the exact opposite of the exuberant, even maximalist videos we've come to expect from the No Doubt frontwoman."[39] Bianca Gracie of Idolator described it as "poignant" and "raw".[21]

Live performances

On October 17, 2015, Stefani performed "Used to Love You" live during a concert for MasterCard users at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.[40] Stefani made the television debut of the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on October 26, 2015.[41] In regards to Stefani's live performance, Joe Satran of The Huffington Post considered it "quite moving",[39] while Caily Lindberg of Music Times called it "an emotional rendition".[42] Robbie Daw wrote for Idolator that "hile her black-clad band stood in the shadows quietly playing along and singing backup vocals, Gwen was front and center with her emotional breakup tune during her Ellen appearance, looking quite anguished but sounding on-point." [43] On November 22, 2015, Stefani performed "Used to Love You" at the American Music Awards of 2015.[44] Stefani performed the song live during various public appearances, including The Voice,[45] The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,[46] and New Years Eve with Carson Daily shortly after the countdown to the new year had ended.[47]

Credits and personnel


Recorded at Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, California


Credits adapted from the liner notes of This Is What the Truth Feels Like.[50]


  1. ^ a b c d Kritselis, Alex. "Gwen Stefani Single "Used To Love You" Is The Perfect Comeback Track — LISTEN". Bustle. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ Carley, Brennan (December 8, 2014). "Gwen Stefani Never Planned to Return to Her Solo Career". Spin. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ Gracie, Bianca (January 16, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Claims She’s Taking Her Time On New Album, Continuously Tests Our Patience". Idolator. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  4. ^ Riotta, Chris (August 14, 2015). "Gwen Stefani New Album 2015: Latest on Her Next Release". Music.Mic. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Vain, Madison (October 19, 2015). "Gwen Stefani scrapped an entire album and started again: 'It didn't feel right'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ Carroll, Sarah (November 2, 2015). "Interview: Gwen Stefani Opens Up About Her Divorce, New Music, & More With Carson Daly". 97.1 AMP Radio. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  7. ^ Wood Rudulph, Heather (November 2, 2015). "Get That Life: How I Became a Hit Songwriter by Age 21". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ Innocencio, Marc (November 3, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Talks New Single 'Used to Love You,' Gavin Rossdale & Blake Shelton Rumors". iHeart Radio. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
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  10. ^ Russell, Erica (October 17, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Debuts New Ballad ‘Used To Love You’ In NYC". PopCrush. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Wass, Mike (October 19, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Reveals "Used To Love You" Cover Art, Says She Scrapped Her Third Album And Started Over". Idolator. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
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  13. ^ " Used to Love You: Gwen Stefani: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Used To Love You (Single) by Gwen Stefani : Rhapsody". Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "FMQB: Available for Airplay". FMQB. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
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  20. ^ Jackson, Nate (October 21, 2015). "What Gwen Stefani Was Really Thinking In the "Used to Love You" Music Video". OC Weekly. Voice Media Group. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
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  24. ^ Jensen, Erin (October 18, 2015). "Your heart will break with Gwen Stefani's when you hear 'Used to Love You'". USA Today. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  25. ^ Marquina, Sierra. "Gwen Stefani Debuts Single "Used to Love You" Post Gavin Rossdale Split: "Nobody Taught You How to Love"". Us Magazine. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  26. ^ McDermott, Maeve. "Song of the week: Gwen Stefani, 'Used To Love You'". USA Today. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Menyes, Carolyn (October 20, 2015). "Gwen Stefani's 'Used to Love You' Music Video is Heartbreaking in Wake of Gavin Rossdale Split". Music Times. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  28. ^ Fitz-Gerald, Sean (October 20, 2015). "Listen to Gwen Stefani’s Latest Single, the Heartbreaking ‘Used to Love You’". Vulture. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
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  30. ^ "The No. 1s". Billboard Magazine 127 (38). 19 December 2015.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
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  32. ^ a b "CHART: CLUK Update 31.10.2015 (wk44)". UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  33. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (October 31, 2015). "ARIA Singles: Adele Says ‘Hello’ No 1". Noise11. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
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  39. ^ a b Satran, Joe (October 26, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Gets Emotional Singing 'Used To Love You' On 'Ellen'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
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  42. ^ Lindberg, Cailey (October 27, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Performs 'Used To Love You' on 'Ellen' as Gavin Rossdale Divorce Settled". Music Times. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  43. ^ Daw, Robbie (October 26, 2015). "Gwen Stefani Performs "Used To Love You" Live On TV For The First Time On 'Ellen': Watch". Idolator. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  44. ^ Spanos, Brittany (November 22, 2015). "Watch Gwen Stefani Belt 'Used to Love You' at 2015 AMAs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  45. ^ Dawn, Randee. "Gwen Stefani's emotional 'Voice' performance brings coaches to their feet". The Today Show. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  46. ^ Gracie, Bianca. "Gwen Stefani Performs "Used To Love You" On ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’: Watch". Idolator. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
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  49. ^ "Used to Love You". HMV Digital Media. January 1, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
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External links

  • "Used to Love You" music video on YouTube
  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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