Gwen Stefani realizes it’s time to say farewell on “Used To Love You,” the worthy sequel to 2014’s near-breakup song, “Baby Don’t Lie.” For the lead single off of her third solo album, this one goes full-on tearjerker. Co-written by Stefani, Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, “Used To Love You” reanimates the lyricism that originally made Stefani famous. Production responsibilities go to J.R. Rotem, who is also accountable for Fall Out Boy’s prodigious hit, “Centuries.” This song is an emotional rollercoaster ride containing honest lyrics.
Stefani, deep in shock, expresses her concern in the lyrics: “Never thought this would happen / Gotta let it sink in / You’re gone.” Its allure proves hard to resist, which enables the emotional heartache to float. “Used To Love You” is a heartfelt song disclosing every emotion endured after a breakup. The difference here is that Stefani moves frontward to evolve from the painful sorrow and confront her reality. In accord with the acceptable production, an emotional hook arouses interest, “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.” Further, the arrangement of the chorus imposes on unresolved emotions but makes it clear the love that lived is irreparable in the most irresistible harmony.
Producer J.R. Rotem composes a foot-stomping, finger-snapping pop ballad covered in heavy 80’s influence with the dramatic organs and the slow pace of the bridge. Additionally, the composition connects reasonably with the tone and character present but feels like a rerun of “Sugar” from the band, Maroon 5.
As a single, “Used To Love You” has mass appeal and is grabbing for the attention of pop audiences. Even more, it’s important this latest single is a success after the modest hits “Baby Don’t Lie” and “Spark The Fire” both missed the chance to fly high on the charts. Nevertheless, stand back naysayers, Stefani’s return this go around comes equipped to soar.