Pink - "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Nate Ruess

Pink Just Give Me a Reason
Pink - "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Nate Ruess. Courtesy RCA

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The genius behind "Just Give Me a Reason" is that it is a powerful, well written song that is allowed to shine by a simple, spare Jeff Bhasker production and straightforward vocals from Pink and Nate Ruess of the group fun. The song lays out the emotions behind a wish for reconciliation in a relationship but doesn't provide easy answers. The simple piano based production ensures that every word is clear and the emotional tone of the voices is heard.

Pros

  • Jeff Bhasker's controlled, measured production
  • Straightforward vocal performances
  • Meaningful lyrics

Cons

  • No unforgettable moment in the song

Description

  • Written by Pink, Nate Ruess, and Jeff Bhasker
  • Produced by Jeff Bhasker
  • Released March 2013 by RCA

Review

There is a plaintive sound to the piano intro for "Just Give Me a Reason," and it sets the tone for what is to come. Lyrically the song opens with Pink proclaiming a lover stole her heart, and she was a willing victim. The words of thief and victim are a clear indication this is not the story of a relationship with easy happy endings. The first round of the chorus is backed by strong, but not overdone, percussion making it clear this is a trademark production from Jeff Bhasker, best known for working with fun and Kanye West. Pink delivers the opening vocals with measured singing that touches listeners while not turning overly dramatic.

The genius of the other half of the duet delivered by Nate Ruess, co-songwriter of this song and lead vocalist for fun, is that he sounds gently reassuring and scales back the dramatics that often take place in fun's top hits.

The restraint in this recording is ultimately a key element of its success. The sound of "Just Give Me a Reason" becomes hopeful, because it is the sound of a controlled musical conversation instead of overwrought conflict. It is likely that is the element that catches the hearts of pop music fans.

Pink remains one of the most consistent of mainstream pop artists, and "Just Give Me a Reason" is a song where she makes a step beyond simply consistent quality. Love relationships are not easy, and reconciliation is particularly tricky. This song addresses that truth in winning fashion. When the song breaks down into an a capella, anguished "We'll come clean" from Pink, it has strong impact because the rest of the song is a model of control. "Just Give Me a Reason" is a peak career moment for Pink, and it well deserves its commercial success.

At first, Pink and Nate Ruess only planned to write songs together. However, when Pink realized she needed an additional singer on "Just Give Me a Reason," she asked Nate Ruess to sing it with her. She believed the song read as a conversation so it required two singers. "Just Give Me a Reason" was released as the third single from the album The Truth About Love.

Legacy

"Just Give Me a Reason" was a strong commercial success. It became Pink's fourteenth top 10 hit and then her fourth #1 hit. "Just Give Me a Reason" spent three consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. By the end of 2013 it had sold more than four million digital copies.

"Just Give Me a Reason" also went to #1 on the mainstream pop, adult pop, and adult contemporary radio charts. It was a #1 hit in many other countries including Canada and climbed to #2 on the UK pop singles chart.

The accompanying music video directed by Diane Martel, known for her work on Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop," received strong critical acclaim as well. It won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Collaboration. "Just Give Me a Reason" earned two Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Duo or Group Performance and Song of the Year. 

"Just Give Me a Reason" was released just as Pink's Truth About Love Tour was getting underway. It ultimately played over 140 shows and earned more than $180 million. Critics praised both Pink's singing and the theatricality of her concert tour. Pink won the Top Boxscore at the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards.

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Lamb, Bill. "Pink - "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Nate Ruess." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2016, thoughtco.com/pink-just-give-me-a-reason-featuring-nate-ruess-3247373. Lamb, Bill. (2016, August 29). Pink - "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Nate Ruess. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/pink-just-give-me-a-reason-featuring-nate-ruess-3247373 Lamb, Bill. "Pink - "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Nate Ruess." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/pink-just-give-me-a-reason-featuring-nate-ruess-3247373 (accessed November 17, 2017).