Louis Tomlinson’s new single, which dropped at midnight local time worldwide, sees him drop a few f-bombs. Featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, “Back To You” comes seven months after the release of his collaboration with Steve Aoki (“Just Hold On”) in December.
In an earlier post, I wrote that Tomlinson had been dropping teasers here and there on Instagram in the lead-up to the single. The teasers did a sufficient job of hyping the fans, and now that the full song is out, the teasers did it more than justice.
Where “Just Hold On” was a buoyant celebration of vitality, “Back To You” leans toward the histrionic side of electro-pop. With lyrics like “You got me so addicted to the drama / I tell myself I’m done with wicked games” and “You drag me down, you f*** me up” (there’s the f-bomb), it’s clearly about a person or situation who isn’t good, but drags you back in anyway. No, it’s not lyrically groundbreaking, but it’s decently relatable.
Sonically, it sounds modern, but not generic. It’s easy for pop and EDM to fall into overdone formulas and hooks. This doesn’t. It’s catchy, it’s dramatic, and really, it has all the makings of a summer hit.
Rexha, who many might recognize from the hook of David Guetta’s “Hey Mama” or her own solo work, is the perfect choice for a song like this. She has a very distinctive tone to her voice, dramatic and soaring. It works well with Tomlinson’s reedy tenor, and here’s the thing. They both have extremely nuanced voices, which is exactly what a song about a toxic but addictive relationship calls for. This isn’t a song that can be sung well without that nuance.
The video was shot in Tomlinson’s hometown of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, England. Some of his friends from home, as well as his sister Lottie and her boyfriend, are featured in the video as well. The highlights for sports fans might be the sequences filmed in the Keepmoat Stadium, where the Doncaster Rovers play.
(Side note: Ed Sheeran’s video for “Castle on the Hill” was shot in his hometown as well. If this is becoming a trend, I’m here for it.)
You can watch the video below: