Song: ‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love Again’
Artist: Usher feat Pitbull
US chart peak: 4
Release date: July 13, 2010
Writers: Max Martin, Shellback, Savan Kotecha, Pitbull
Producers: Max Martin, Shellback
Quintessential Max moment: The double chorus
Video synopsis: Usher having a dance in an old church while Pitbull wears a cravat
As was the way in 2010 (and for what felt like decades afterwards), pop’s newfound friendship with EDM meant all songs were duty bound to take place in a club environment. Love was found on the dancefloor, cares were shed on the dancefloor and yet weirdly no one seemed to sing about how expensive they are or how sticky the floors can be. Usher, as you well know, loves to have a dance and he also loves to love, so ‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love Again’ – his first collaboration with Max ‘et al’ – was the ideal vehicle with which to launch his sales-rejuvenating EP ‘Versus’. In fact, it was a hit in most ‘territories’, ‘shifting’ over 4m copies in the US alone.
So why did so many people buy it? Well, for one thing, it sounds exactly like the summer of 2010, combining with Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’ (also a Max Martin collaboration) to create a one-two punch of chunky-synth-lead, and gloriously brain-dead, dance-pop. The joy here is that it’s so lyrically obvious and leaden-footed that the focus is placed solely on the brilliant, two-tiered chorus melody, which also carries with it another pop trope – having a nice time before an imposing apocalypse (Max would use it again later on Britney’s ’Til The World Ends’ too). So here Usher sings about the DJ making everyone fall in love again, which is nice, but then the second part of the chorus kicks in and he croons “so dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life, life”. It’s quite a nice sentiment isn’t really – dance so hard and have as much fun as possible because tomorrow you might be dead. Fingers crossed not at the hands of Usher but then there might be worst ways to go.
As with most of the songs he guests on, the song’s nadir/highlight is delivered by Mr Worldwide, Pitbull. While his rap skills have fallen out of favour slightly these days, 2010 was peak Pitbull – he’d already featured on eight songs by this point and was just about to help J.Lo get sick on the floor on ‘On The Floor’. Here he denigrates his ‘rap game’ to a whole new level spouting such glorious nonsense as “Yabba dabba doo make her bedrock” before signing off with – and why not? – “Bada bing bada boom”.
His sensational awfulness and innate ‘will-this-do-ness’ is a brilliant contrast to Usher’s earnest delivery throughout – he really does want people to feel like they’re in love in a club environment. Pitbull, however, just wants the cash to be honest.