Back when Nate Ruess was a part of Valley band The Format, it was difficult to imagine him becoming the superstar he is today. After all, in "I'm Actual," from Dog Problems, he sang, "Can we please take this hour and talk about me and my hatred for corporate magazines? You know they don't speak to me. The irony is they won't speak with me."
Those days are long over: This week, Ruess achieved his third number one single with "Just Give Me a Reason," his duet with Pink. Sure, some might call the weepy pop tune a sell-out -- but if nothing else, the collab was enough to get a big ol' onstage virtual Ruess during Pink's current The Truth About Love Tour.
It's likely many of the Arizona fans who saw this during the tour's kickoff didn't know Ruess is from Arizona, but at least he's getting support across the country now.
But "Just Give Me a Reason" isn't your typical Top 40 radio fodder.
It starts off low and quietly and has a melody a fifth-grade piano student could create. But the track is more somber than you might expect, as Ruess and Pink play a disconnected, mistrusting couple. Pink thinks the relationship spells doomsday, while Ruess assures her they're just fine. No explanation for the fighting is forthcoming, but there are enough issues that the couple are no longer sleeping close to each other in bed.
- Fun. and Nate Ruess play Zia Records just after "We Are Young"-mania begins.
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Pink and Ruess co-wrote the song, and the track's success suggests Ruess might want to pair up with more female singers in the future. He's always had a pop-friendly voice -- even when those corporate magazines wouldn't speak with him -- so maybe he should capitalize on that more.
If you were wondering about the role Ruess would play in the music video -- when the song is obviously all about Pink's on-again/off-again husband Carey Hart -- the answer's easy: Ruess is the awkward third wheel. He's singing to Pink even though her thoughts are all about Hart, who appears in the bed. It would have made more sense to give Ruess his own storyline, but, hey, at least he's in big-budget music videos now.
Give the track a listen, and watch the video below. Do you think it's quality material from Ruess? Do you think the video was a little weird, too? Let us know what you think in the comments.