It premiered on Beats 1 Radio on February 25, 2016, and ultimately was released as the first promotional single from the album on February 26, 2016 along with the album's pre-order on iTunes.
"It's You" has self-reflective lyrics, expressing somewhat bitter sentiment, touching on "a love that is pain", and was inspired by the breakup of a relationship, where the protagonist is desperate for answers on a failed relationship
"It's You" was released as the album's first promotional single on February 25, 2016, along with its music video. Zayn performed "It's You" on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, on February 18, 2016 where the album's cover-art was also revealed.
Several critics believed that the song was written about Zayn's break-up with former fiancée Perrie Edwards.
Malik's management team reached out to record producer, Malay Ho because Zayn was a fan of his work with artists such as John Legend, Alicia Keys and Frank Ocean. Later, Ho heard "Pillowtalk" and "Fool for You" before signing on to produce the record, and thought Malik's voice was "incredible" and agreed to work with him.
The two recorded most of the songs in the Studio Suite at the Palms Casino Resort, inside Malik’s Beverly Hills Hotel room, and in the middle of the woods. As recalled by Ho, the work had a "super creative, super free" atmosphere. Zayn admitted that "He’s just an amazing person. Like from the second I met him I just knew he was kind of different. He looks into every instrument in high detail and he understands how to break it down."
One of the songs they worked together, "It's You", was said to be one of the album's centerpiece, with Malik commenting: "I just felt like I needed to put myself out there, just because it was a form of therapy for me and it did help me get through some shit. If I can help someone else at that time, that’s cool." Dan Hyman from Pitchfork Media stated that the song shared similarities with Ocean’s "Bad Religion", with Ho mentioning that after hearing the song live and Zayn's fans noting similarities between both songs, he found them similar with the organ.
The music video for the song was directed by Ryan Hope and released on February 26, 2016 exclusively on the Apple Store Eventually, the video was uploaded on his Vevo account on YouTube on March 28, 2016.
The black-and-white video finds the singer in a pensive state, with scenes shot in slow motion. In the beginning, Malik is first seen alone inside a home while his video co-star Nicola Peltz is outside enjoying the pool. Later, Malik sits at a piano. As the video progresses, "the object of his affection is seen with another man at a cocktail party while Malik looks on. It culminates with Malik watching through a window as his former love drives away," as explained by Rolling Stone's Althea Legaspi.
|Released||March 28, 2016|
|VEVO views||46,623,958 (as of July 18, 2020)|
Zayn made his solo live debut on television with a live performance of "It's You" during his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on February 18, 2016. "It's You" was also part of his setlist at the 2016 Wango Tango. An additional live rendition occurred during the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City, New York.
"It's You" was highly received by several music critics. Tim Sendra of AllMusic picked the track as one of the album's highlights, noting that "his soaring falsetto on 'iT's YoU' is breathtaking." Zach Frydenlund of Complex called it an emotional ballad that "showcas[es] his tremendous vocal abilities, which weren't on display like this previously." Amy Davidson, writing for Digital Spy, named it "a slice of slick R&B," observing that "the stripped back production lets his airy falsetto come through nicely, and the whole thing sits as perfectly stylised as his glorious quiff." Lewis Corner of the same publication opined that, "It's the most vulnerable Zayn sounds on the entire record, while his spire-scaling 'oooohs' are poignantly doleful." Kate Solomon of Drowned in Sound was also positive to what she called "his dreamy falsetto underpinned by a melancholy organ line and coupled madly with Top Gun guitars and Disney film strings."
Michael Cragg of The Guardian expressed that "Zayn "showcases his Frank Ocean-esque falsetto on the sad-eyed, organ-drenched [track]." Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times also perceived influences of Ocean. Sarah Murphy of Exclaim! thought that the track worked for showing a "more mature content and a sleeker, less bubblegum-y pop sound" and credited Malay for the feat. Spin's Andrew Unterberger also praised Zayn's voice for "floating like a paper airplane above the tremors." While selecting as a "standout" track, Daniel Bromfield of Pretty Much Amazing called it "theatrical."
After being released as a promotional single, "It's You" charted in several countries around the world. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number 48 on the official UK Singles Chart, and at number 9 on the R&B component chart. In Australia, France, and Sweden, it spent one week on their respective charts, where it debuted at numbers 38, 65, and 97, respectively. According to Billboard, "It's You" was the most mentioned song on Twitter for the week ended 19 March 2016, where it topped the Billboard Twitter Real-Timechart, in addition to peaking at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100. Furthermore, the track peaked in Scotland, Canada, and Ireland at positions 30, 71, and 74, respectively.
In the United States, it was driven primarily by sales, it debuted at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 19 on the Digital Songs chart. It received favorable reviews from music critics, both for the song — particularly Malik's vocals — and its music video. Stuff said it is "up there with some of the best R'n'B releases in the last year." The song was also praised by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. According to him, "It's the most beautiful record."
Credits and personnel
- Recorded at Larabee Studios, North Hollywood, California; Germano Studios, New York City.
- Mixed at Larabee Studios, North Hollywood, California.
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