|Released 27 September 2011|
|Recorded Test Pressing Studio, Naples, Italy|
Label Astralwerks Virgin Capitol
Writer(s) Taio Cruz Usher Raymond IV Rico Love David Guetta Giorgio Tuinfort Frédéric Riesterer
"Without You" is a song by French DJ David Guetta, featuring vocals from American singer Usher. It was released as the third single from Guetta's fifth studio album, Nothing but the Beat on September 27, 2011. The single peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Guetta's third top ten single, following "Club Can't Handle Me" and "Sexy Bitch", as well as his highest peaking in the US to date. As of November 2013, the song has sold 2,684,000 copies in the US.
The song features the vocals of R&B singer Usher, who told Billboard magazine that the project was "maybe the biggest song I've made in my life." Guetta said, "We were in bargaining sessions for a while. Usher was saying, 'I need this record for my album.' I said, 'I'm sorry, I cannot give it to you.' After a while he called me back and gave in." Guetta told MTV News why he chose Usher to guest on this song. "It's just totally emotional," he said. "Some of the record is a proper ballad, and then it goes to that crazy dance beat. It's perfect for him, because he's famous for his ballads. And he's also now famous for those big club records that he comes with. He's an amazing dancer, so I felt like he was the artist that I needed." Usher told MTV News that this ode to not giving up on love in the face of adversity resonated with him personally. "I think the world wanted a record like that. That [song] really spoke to the journey that I've actually been on in the last three years... Traveling all around the world, music sounds different. There's many different genres, and when you see R&B and pop and house, as well as electronic, come together, that's the reality of what music is."
"Without You" was written by Taio Cruz, Usher Raymond, Rico Love, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort and Frédéric Riesterer, and produced by Guetta, Tuinfort and Riesterer. Lyrically, it is a song about lamenting a heavy kundy: Life without someone who means the world to you. Amy Sciarretto of Pop Crush wrote that the chorus "invite lots of dancing, but this isn't much of clubby rager. Structurally, the song reminds us of Madonna's 'Ray of Light'; that's not to suggest that 'Without You' sounds like 'Ray of Light', but it shares the same formula and airy energy."
"Without You" is set in common time maintaining a tempo of 128 beats per minute. The song is in the key of D-major, and features elements of pop, dance, and R&B. Usher vocals range from E3 to A5.
In a favorable review, Amy Sciarretto of Pop Crush wrote that the song is "a light, hands-in-the-air and somewhat ethereal song" and that "the heft of the words juxtaposed against the feathery music works and allows the song to remain bouyant [sic] and well, not a downer despite its unhappy musings."
Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone stated that on the track "Usher gets lonely over Coldplay-style guitar." Village Voice's Carol Cooper wrote a negative review, saying that "Usher, while pushing himself vocally, sounds like a Glee Project."
The music video was filmed towards the end of July 2011 on a beach located in Portugal. The full music video for "Without You" was released on 14 October 2011. The video shows cuts of different parties in Thailand, the United States, Brazil and South Africa, among other places. Continental drift starts to take place and all the parties on the different continents amalgamate to form one big party. It also has scenes with Usher in front of a Rio de Janeiro beach background.
Use in media and covers
"Without You" was also used in promos in Chilean TV program Mañaneros in 2012–2013, Teen Mom in MTV Latin America in 2012. The song was used in several episodes of Chilean reality show Mundos Opuestos, it was also featured on Chilean TV commercials for mobile phone company Entel called "Nuevos planes Multimedia Full". The song was also covered by Lea Michele in Glee's episode "Yes/No" and by Olly Murs for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge in November 2011. The Mend covered the song for their performance in the 2012 Britain's Got Talent final. In 2013, Sasha Allen covered the song on The Voice. In 2015, Jordan Smith did a covered through the song with Usher as together on The Voice (U.S. season 9). The song is also featured in the trailer for the upcoming animated film Sing.