Should've Been Us
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Should've Been Us
"Should've Been Us"
Should've Been Us (Official Single Cover) by Tori Kelly.png
Single by Tori Kelly
from the album Unbreakable Smile
ReleasedJune 2, 2015 (2015-06-02)
Tori Kelly singles chronology
"Nobody Love"
"Should've Been Us"
Music video
"Should've Been Us" on YouTube

"Should've Been Us" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Tori Kelly for her debut studio album Unbreakable Smile (2015). Written by Kelly with Ludvig Söderberg, Jakob Jerlström, Oscar Holter, Laleh Pourkarim, Alexander Kronlund and James Alan, and produced by The Struts and Holter, the song was sent to US mainstream radio as the second single from the album on June 2, 2015. A remix of the song featuring American singer Jeremih was released digitally in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2015, as Kelly's first single there.

"Should've Been Us" is a pop song with influences of urban music. Lyrically, the song talks about an unrequited relationship, where she laments the failed romance and what it could have been like with her former lover. The song received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who commended it for being infectious and relatable. The song peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Kelly's highest charting single to date in the United States. While promoting the song on a variety of television programs, as well as award shows, Kelly received high praise from critics, who positively highlighted her vocal performance, most notably at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.

Background and release

"Should've Been Us" was released when pre-order of her debut album Unbreakable Smile became available on May 11, 2015.[1][2] The official audio was uploaded on VEVO on the same day.[3] The lyric video for the song was also uploaded to YouTube and Vevo on May 25, 2015.[4] It was officially sent to mainstream radio in the United States on June 2, 2015 as the second single from the album.[5] For the British market, a remix of the song was commissioned, featuring American recording artist Jeremih.[6] It was released digitally on September 10, 2015 as the singer's debut single in the United Kingdom.[7]

Composition and lyrics

The song was written by Tori Kelly, Ludvig Söderberg, Jakob Jerlström, Oscar Holter, Laleh Pourkarim, Alexander Kronlund and James Alan, with production being done by The Strut and Holter. According to the sheet music published at by Kobalt Music Group, it was written in the key of F? minor, with a steady tempo of 88 beats per minute. Kelly's vocal range spans from the low note of F#3 to the high note of F#5.[8] "Should've Been Us" is a pop and R&B song,[9][10] with a "jangly, echoing, urban-inspired backing mix."[11] Lyrically, the song tells "the story of the protagonist all dressed up downtown lamenting a failed relationship. She wonders what is happening with her lost love and fully admits she wishes that she could have her heart's desire back."[11] "You got yours, I got mine, but I wonder where you are tonight,"[12] she laments before "exploding" on the chorus, singing: "It should've been us/Shoulda been a fire/Shoulda been the perfect storm."[13]

Critical reception

The song received generally favorable reviews from music critics. In his AllMusic review, Matt Collar picked the song as one of its highlights, calling it an "unrequited relationship anthem [that is] "universally relatable, utterly infectious song that you immediately want to hear again."[14] Bill Lamb of praised the song's "engaging slice of friendly pop fluff," as well as "Kelly's effortless vocals" and the "lyrics that invite singing along." He called it "a breezy pop confection that will sound fun on the radio all summer long," while adding that it "feels safe and calculated to appeal to the broadest possible audience while offending no one."[11] Mike Wass of Idolator commented that "It's great to hear the rising diva finally getting material worthy of her voice."[12] Matthew Scott Donnelly of PopCrush named it "sort of a 'This is How We Do' with an R&B twist, and might just serve as the perfect soundtrack to your latest bout of heartbreak."[13] In agreement with Donnelly, Melody Mak of Fortitude Magazine called it "an expressive catchy break-up song that brings back '90s R&B vibes that is bound to have you singing along out loud."[10]

Music video and live performances

A music video for the song was released on June 22, 2015 and it juxtaposes direct-to-camera emoting and clips of Kelly performing on her tour.[15][16] Matthew Scott Donnelly of PopCrush further explained the video's story, claiming: "[The video] finds Kelly touring through underpasses, exploring what appear to be abandoned airplane hangars and signing her name in paint-graffiti on a brick wall. And, in the event none of those successfully help her get over the pain of a relationship's end, she finds the support of an eager crowd that cheers her on through a performance of the tune."[17]

Kelly performed the song on a variety of television shows through the summer of 2015 including Good Morning America on June 22,[18]Live! with Kelly and Michael on June 29,[19]The View on July 9,[20][21] and The Late Late Show with James Corden on August 12.[22][23] She also performed the song at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015, where she received rave reviews.[24] She also did an acoustic version of the song on the CBBC Official Chart Show in the United Kingdom on October 16, 2015.[25]

Track listing

Digital download - Remix featuring Jeremih[7]
1."Should've Been Us" (featuring Jeremih)3:06
Digital EP - Remixes[26]
1."Should've Been Us" (Lost Kings Remix)3:13
2."Should've Been Us" (DubVision Remix)4:26
3."Should've Been Us" (Lincoln Jesser Remix)3:58
4."Should've Been Us" (Panic City Remix)3:07
5."Should've Been Us" (Aylen Remix)3:15


Chart (2015) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[27] 91
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[28] 64
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[29] 37
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[30] 36
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31]
Remix featuring Jeremih
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[32]
Remix featuring Jeremih
US Billboard Hot 100[33] 51
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[34] 30
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[35] 31
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[36] 16
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[37] 37


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[38] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "New Single "Should've Been Us" - Out Now!". May 12, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Segovia, Martha (May 12, 2015). "LISTEN: Tori Kelly Releases Second Single from Upcoming Album 'Unbreakable Smile'". Confront Magazine. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Tori Kelly - Should've Been Us". May 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "Tori Kelly - Should've Been Us (Official Lyric Video)". Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ Hudelson, Molly (May 23, 2015). "Tori Kelly to headline Best Buy Theater in support of 'Unbreakable Smile'". AXS. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Danny (September 10, 2015). "Tori Kelly - Should Have Been Us Feat. Jeremih [New Song]". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ a b "iTunes (UK) - Music - Tori Kelly - Should've Been Us (feat. Jeremih) - Single". iTunes (UK). September 10, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Tori Kelly "Should've Been Us" Sheet Music". Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Floyd, Marcus (June 28, 2015). "Renowned for Sound | Album Review: Tori Kelly - Unbreakable Smile". Renowned for Sound. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ a b Mak, Melody. "Album Review: Tori Kelly - Unbreakable Smile". Fortitude Magazine. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Lamb, Bill (June 8, 2015). "Review of Tori Kelly - "Should've Been Us"". Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ a b Wass, Mike (June 22, 2015). "Tori Kelly Sings About The One That Got Away In "Should've Been Us": Watch The Fiery Video". Idolator. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ a b Donnelly, Matthew Scott (May 26, 2015). "Tori Kelly's 'Should've Been Us' Lyric Video Is A Foot Fetishist's Dream". PopCrush. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Collar, Matt. "Unbreakable Smile - Tori Kelly | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "Tori Kelly's 'Should've Been Us' Video Proves You Can Do a Lot with a Little". June 22, 2015.
  16. ^ Hiramine, Brie (June 24, 2015). "Tori Kelly Drops Utterly Fierce "Should've Been Us" Music Video". J-14.
  17. ^ Donnelly, Matthew Scott (June 23, 2015). "Tori Kelly's 'Should've Been Us' Finds The Singer Handling Heartbreak Well". PopCrush. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "Tori Kelly Performs "Should've Been Us" on GMA; Plus Official Music Video". Singers Room. June 22, 2015.
  19. ^ Miller, Jordan (June 29, 2015). "Tori Kelly Performs On Live With Kelly and Michael". Breathe Heavy.
  20. ^ Wass, Mike (July 9, 2015). "Tori Kelly Performs "Should've Been Us" Live On 'The View'". Idolator.
  21. ^ Cantor, Brian (July 10, 2015). "Tori Kelly Performs "Should've Been Us" on ABC's 'The View'". Headline Planet.
  22. ^ "Tori Kelly Performs 'Should've Been Us' on JAMES CORDEN". Broadway World. August 12, 2015.
  23. ^ Wass, Mike (August 12, 2015). "Tori Kelly Absolutely Nails "Should've Been Us" On 'The Late Late Show With James Corden'". Idolator.
  24. ^ Karsen, Shira (August 30, 2015). "MTV VMAs: Tori Kelly Performs Show-Stopping 'Should've Been Us'". Billboard. Retrieved 2015.
  25. ^ "CBBC Official Chart Show - Tori Kelly - Exclusive Performance". CBBC. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "iTunes (UK) - Music - Tori Kelly - Should've Been Us (Remixes) - EP". iTunes (UK). October 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  27. ^ "ARIA Report: Issue 1321 (Week Commencing 22 June 2015)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 4. Retrieved 2015.
  28. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  30. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Canada Hot AC)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  32. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "CHART: CLUK Update 17.10.2015 (wk42)". Tobias Zywietz. Retrieved 2015.
  33. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  34. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  35. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Dance Mix/Show Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  36. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  37. ^ "Tori Kelly Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  38. ^ "American single certifications - Tori Kelly - Should've Been Usl". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2015.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.

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