In the wake of one of the more tragic celebrity breakups of recent months, Gwen Stefani has released a new single from her forthcoming album called, appropriately, “Used to Love You.” The ardency of her vocals on the track are further intensified by the accompanying video, which is as stripped down to the bare minimum as possible with Gwen simply staring at the screen while a wave of emotion possesses her (it’s almost akin to the “Head Over Feet” video from Alanis Morissette).
During a recent interview for the Today Show, Gwen explained that the footage for this song wasn’t intended to become the video so much as background screens for something else. But because of how saliently earnest and vulnerable she looks for the duration, it seemed fitting to make it the final product for “Used to Love You.”
Although Gwen has been rather silent on the matter of her split from Gavin Rossdale, the lyrics of “Used to Love You,” written within the past month, express everything she needs to say, including, “You go, I’ll stay/You can keep all the memories/I thought I was the best thing that ever happened to you/I thought you loved me the most/I don’t know why I cry/But I think it’s cause I remembered for the first time/Since I hated you/That I used to love you.”
Complex in its simplicity, “Used to Love You” is easily one of the best Gwen singles of her career, and is made further memorable by how uncomfortable, yet empathetic one feels when watching her bleed sorrow in the video. After all, art is nothing if not a shared sadness.