Lighters (song)

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"Lighters"
Single by Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars
from the album Hell: The Sequel
ReleasedJuly 5, 2011 (2011-07-05)
RecordedEffigy Studios (Ferndale, Michigan), Isolation Studios, Levcon Studios (Los Angeles, California)
GenreAlternative hip hop, synthpop, soul
Length5:03
4:23 (radio edit)
LabelShady, Interscope
Writer(s)Marshall Mathers, Ryan Montgomery, Peter Hernandez, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Roy Battle
Producer(s)Eminem, The Smeezingtons, Battle Roy
Bad Meets Evil singles chronology
"Fast Lane"
(2011)
"Lighters"
(2011)
Bruno Mars chronology
"The Lazy Song"
(2011)
"Lighters"
(2011)
"Marry You"
(2011)
 
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"Lighters"
Single by Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars
from the album Hell: The Sequel
ReleasedJuly 5, 2011 (2011-07-05)
RecordedEffigy Studios (Ferndale, Michigan), Isolation Studios, Levcon Studios (Los Angeles, California)
GenreAlternative hip hop, synthpop, soul
Length5:03
4:23 (radio edit)
LabelShady, Interscope
Writer(s)Marshall Mathers, Ryan Montgomery, Peter Hernandez, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Roy Battle
Producer(s)Eminem, The Smeezingtons, Battle Roy
Bad Meets Evil singles chronology
"Fast Lane"
(2011)
"Lighters"
(2011)
Bruno Mars chronology
"The Lazy Song"
(2011)
"Lighters"
(2011)
"Marry You"
(2011)

"Lighters" is a song by the American hip hop duo Bad Meets Evil, a group composed of Royce da 5'9" and Eminem. As the second single from their first EP, Hell: The Sequel, Shady Records serviced the song for mainstream radio airplay in the United States on July 5, 2011. The song features the American singer Bruno Mars, who was added after the original cut. The song was written and produced by Eminem, Battle Roy and The Smeezingtons. Eminem and Royce da 5'9" took a different approach, wanting to break the typical album format that stereotypical hip hop artists use. It also made reference to T-Pain, Wendy Williams, Kwame Kilpatrick, and Marshall.

"Lighters" is an alternative hip hop song that has been said by critics to incorporate soul music, as well as influences of synthpop. It is noted for being different in style from any other song on the EP. The song features bass, cymbals and keyboards with percussion used in most of the song. The song was met with mixed reviews; some critics praised the change in style, as a break from more hardcore and aggressive themes of the other tracks found in Hell: The Sequel, while others criticized it for the same reason. Despite the mixed reception, the song performed generally well commercially, reaching the top ten in New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. "Lighters" was performed at the 2011 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and the Lollapalooza music festival.

The accompanying music video was shot in July 2011 and was directed by Rich Lee. The two rappers guide themselves through an underground tunnel with pipelines as red highway flares illuminate the setting, to reach an event by night. The video was met with positive reception for its positive and inspirational message.

Production and release[edit]

Royce da 5'9" spoke to Canadian music magazine Exclaim! about the origins of Bad Meets Evil's collaboration with R&B and pop singer Bruno Mars. Originally, "Lighters" was intended to be featured on Royce's fifth solo studio album, Success Is Certain.[1] It was produced solely by Rochester, NY producer Battle Roy. After Royce had presented the track to Eminem, he was inspired to write and record the first verse, prompting Royce to write his the day afterwards.[1] Bad Meets Evil then flew to Los Angeles, where Mars heard the song. Eminem and Bruno Mars then made minor changes to the musical arrangement.[1]

The song was recorded at Effigy Studios (Ferndale, Michigan) by Mike Strange, Isolation Studios by Asar and Levcon Studios (Los Angeles, California) by Ari Levine of The Smeezingtons, a music production and songwriting group consisting of Philip Lawrence and Mars as well.[2] The song was written by Eminem, Royce, The Smeezingtons and Battle Roy, all of whom (save for Royce) also produced the song. Battle Roy and Joe Strange also engineered the song.[2] Detroit producer Luis Resto provided additional keyboards for the song, who did so for six other tracks on the EP.[2] On May 25, 2011, when the album track listing of Hell: The Sequel was announced, "Lighters" was revealed to the public to feature Mars.[3] "Lighters" hit contemporary hit radio on July 5, 2011 as the second single from the EP, released by Shady Records.[4]

Composition[edit]

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A 30-second song sample, in which Mars finishes the soul-influenced hook and Eminem begins his verse. The keyboard instrumental has been compared to that of B.o.B's "Nothin' on You", which also features Mars.

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"Lighters" is mainly an alternative hip hop track, being different from the hardcore hip hop style used in other songs by Bad Meets Evil in Hell: The Sequel, instead taking influences from synthpop and soul music.[5][6][7] According to Royce, "We figured we'd have one song for other people to listen to. ... People who don't like listening to straight-up, raw, rappitty-rap lyrics. One joint to show versatility."[1] Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone referred to the song as having a "soul-ballad hook."[8] The song's usage of profanity has attracted attention from critics.[9]

"Lighters" has an electronic keyboard instrumental, similar to the B.o.B and Mars collaboration "Nothin' on You".[10] Jason Newman of MTV said that the track is unlike Bad Meets Evil's "late-'90s string of dark, misanthropic singles".[11] Written in the key of C major, "Lighters" has a moderate tempo of 92 beats per minute.[6] The song begins with "warm, pleasing" vocals from Mars: "This one's for you and me, living out our dreams." They have a musical keyboard on the instrumental, which is reminiscent of "Nothin' on You".[10] Eminem's verse appears can be interpreted as a message to people who have hated him.[11] The album version of the song is just over five minutes in length and is the longest song on Hell: The Sequel.[12]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critics were divided in their reactions to "Lighters". Most critics commented on the difference of style the song has compared to other songs on Hell: The Sequel. This was met with both positive and negative reception. Rob Markman from MTV News spoke about his opinion on the new song after it leaked on June 3, 2011, which was a positive one. He wasn't surprised to hear Eminem's performance. "It's hard to imagine a time when Eminem wasn't regarded as one of rap's elite, but his past drug abuse did take its toll before he reemerged triumphant on last year's Grammy Award-winning album Recovery."[13] He also commented on Royce da 5'9"'s verse; "The gritty Detroit MC recalls his own battles to the top, referencing doubters at every turn."[13] Billboard editor Jason Lipshutz published a track-by-track review of each song on the album. He thought that the song did not fit in with the rest of Hell: The Sequel, but alone, is a good song: "[The] track doesn't fit with EP, but Em's effortless confidence carries the celebratory anthem."[14] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone spoke about "Lighters" in an album review: "All the evil meeting badness can get pretty ugly [...]. But there's genuine humanity, too." and that the song is complemented by a "soul-ballad hook."[8] Magazine XXL commented on the song, saying it is "another break from the typical vicious lyrical assault."[15] About.com's Bill Lamb gave a generally positive review, naming it "an engaging, soulful pop hip hop blend," but went on to mention that the song "sounds a bit schmaltzy at times."[10]

Some criticized Mars' guest appearance on the track, saying that he would have performed better on a solo track.

"Lighters" was met with negative reviews as well. David Jeffries from Allmusic said that "the glossy 'Lighters' feels more like a Bruno Mars track than Detroit diesel."[16] Consequence of Sound gave a mixed review of the EP, and a rather negative review on "Lighters". Winston Robbins believes that the chorus, by Mars, does not fit into a rap song and would have done better on a solo track or with another artist, "but it is so far from home next to the hard verses of two of rap’s bad boys."[17] Chad Grischow of IGN gave a similar review, calling the song 'strange' and 'unusual'. Grischow did not favor the influences of "gooey synthpop" and soul fusion genres.[7] "In the end, this brief look at the duo's skills does not fully deliver what you expect, but still leaves you wanting to hear more."[7] Music website PopMatters said that "Lighters" was the only disappointing one of 11 tracks on the EP (Deluxe Edition) and "it’s easy to press the skip button if you’d like to."[18] Web magazine Plugged In Online, once a magazine that published reviews from a Conservative Christian's perspective, favored Mars' rapping but harshly criticized the duo's lyricism: "These two Detroit rappers use a lot more nasty words to get the job done".[9] The reviewer went on to analyze Royce's verse: "Toss in nods to toking marijuana and two allusions to oral sex, and you've got a pretty good picture of what Royce's vision of 'living out our dreams' looks like in action."[9] Royce da 5'9" responded to the criticism of "Lighters" and according to him, Eminem and he wanted to be versatile with the EP.[19] "I don’t want that audience to think that I can only do one thing. It shows versatility on my end and it was a good way to set up Slaughterhouse."[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Lighters" debuted on the Billboard Digital Songs chart at number eight, before the single's release, on the issue dated July 2, 2011, while it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 16.[20][21][22] However, the next week, the song dropped on the Digital Songs chart, to number 21, and to number 36 on the Hot 100.[23][24] For the July 16, 2011 issue, "Lighters" suffered the fourth biggest fall on the Digital Songs chart, down to number 44.[25] However, the next week, it moved up to number 25, while it moved from number 58, to number 33 on the Hot 100.[26][27] The next week, the song further moved up to number 17 on the Hot 100, and to number 10, the week after, giving Mars his sixth top-ten hit and Bad Meets Evil's first.[28][29] On the issue dated August 13, 2011, "Lighters" moved up to number seven on the Hot 100, with sales of 165,000 digital copies. The next week, it entered the bottom of the top five and held the Airplay Gainer honor.[30][31] The song reached its Hot 100 peak on the issue dated September 10, 2011, at number four.[32] "Lighters" peaked at number six on the Digital Rap Songs chart, and has been on the chart for 14 weeks.[33] On the Pop Songs chart, the song peaked at number two, and has been on the chart for 15 weeks.[34] The song has sold 2,208,000 copies in the US as of September 2012.[35]

On July 3, 2011, song entered the Australian Singles Chart at number 30 and rose to number 19, the following week; it peaked at number 17 at the end of July 2011.[36] The song is yet to leave the chart.[36] On the Ö3 Austria Top 40, the song debuted at number 45, in the beginning of July 2011.[37] Two weeks later, the song made a final appearance at number 69, before re-entering on August 26, 2011, at number 68.[37] On September 10, 2011, "Lighters" debuted on Flanders' Ultratop 50 singles chart, at number 32, and peaked at number 24, the following week.[38] The song also entered Wallonia's Ultratop 50 at number 38, a week after debuting on the Ultratop 50.[39] In Denmark, "Lighters" entered at number 25, in the beginning of July 2011, and later peaked at number 18.[40] The song's 13th and final chart appearance in the country was at number 37.[40] The song did not enter France's national singles chart until August 13, 2011, when it debuted at number 85.[41] Lasting eight weeks, it reached a peak position at number 11 on September 24, 2011.[41] On the week ending of July 21, 2011, the song debuted in Ireland at number 41, and rose to number 35, the week after.[42]

On June 25, 2011, "Lighters" debuted at number 66 on the Dutch Single Top 100; it reached a peak position at number 17, during the fourth week.[43] In New Zealand, the song debuted and peaked at number two, making this the song's highest debut and peak position.[44] September 26, 2011 marked the song's 14th and final chart appearance, at number 36.[44] In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 37, on June 25, 2011.[45] It rose to number 30, the week after, but left the chart, two weeks later.[46][47] However, the song re-entered the chart on September 10, 2011, at the bottom; it jumped to number 28, the week after.[48][49] On October 8, 2011, the song peaked at number ten.[50]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Lighters" began filming on July 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.[51] It was directed by American music video and commercial director Rich Lee, who previously shot the "Not Afraid" music video with Eminem.[51] Mars revealed to MTV that the video would "leave fans inspired" and that it is "a very beautiful [video]. I haven't even seen it yet, but I think it's going to be beautiful."[52] Not revealing any specific details about the music video, he jokingly added "I'm doing handstands, and I'm juggling naked."[52] He promised that it would be released "very soon".[52] The video was uploaded to music video website VEVO on August 22, 2011.[53] Unlike the previous single Fast Lane, VEVO did not release an audio track of "Lighters".

Royce da 5'9" in the music video, rapping in an undergound tunnel system, illuminated by red highway flares.

The music video begins as Mars, wearing a leather jacket, starts playing an upright piano, singing the beginning lyrics of the song, as the Sun shines towards him from a window. The video cuts between scenes where Eminem lays on a couch in an untidy living room, wearing a white T-shirt and baggy red pants; Eminem picks up a notepad with lyrics, preparing to start rapping his verse. The video occasionally cuts to the living room setting, where Eminem gets off the couch, to find a trap door underneath the and go through it. He climbs down a ladder to find himself in an same underground tunnel with plumbing systems, while red highway flares illuminate the setting. He lights a flare to navigates through a series of tunnels. While Mars sings the chorus once again in the same setting as before, Eminem continues to search through the tunnels.

Royce begins rapping in a prison cell; he finds a poster and peels it off the wall to find a door compartment, a reference to the 1994 drama film The Shawshank Redemption.[54] He crawls through it and finds himself in the tunnel. Royce lights a flare to help navigate through the system. As Mars sings the bridge, the two rappers find their way out of the tunnels, through a manhole which leads them to a field where Mars sings. As the Sun starts to set, couples, along with Bad Meets Evil, gather to see a large group of rising sky lanterns aglow. Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are advertised in the video and one couple gathers in front of a Chrysler 300.[55][56] As the video reaches its conclusion, the setting gets dark and Mars sings the last lines.

Becky Bain from Idolator wrote, "Bruno jams out on his 88 keys while the 'King Of Hip-Hop' and his Bad Meets Evil cohort Royce da 5′9″ go underground, emerging to the sight of thousands of lanterns lighting up the sky."[53] Consequence of Sound's Chris Coplan said that "all three men emerge to exactly what they’d been singing for: a sky full of decorative lamps."[57] Kyle Anderson from Entertainment Weekly gave a mixed review, criticizing the lack of sufficient lighting in the video, but praised the final scene of glowing lanterns, naming it possibly "the most compellingly beautiful thing to appear in an Eminem video."[55] James Montgomer, from MTV News, wrote: "It's a stirring image, for sure, and yes, you can probably read plenty into it."[54]

Live performances[edit]

Eminem performing at Lollapalooza on day two of the festival.

Eminem and Royce da 5'9" made their debut live performance as Bad Meets Evil for "Fast Lane" and "Lighters" at the 2011 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.[58][59] They were accompanied by Eminem's hypeman from D12, Mr. Porter.[59] Mars was not seen at the performance, however.[60] The live show was complimented with animated lighters in the background screen.[60] The duo wore Bad Meets Evil t-shirts and black hoodies.[59] Eminem also wore camouflage shorts.[61] In the beginning of the performance, Eminem asked the audience to hold their lighters, if they had brought one, which most did.[59] The performance was widely praised; James Montgomery from MTV said, "It's the same renewed vigor Eminem has displayed on his most-recent efforts."[59] News reporter Adam Graham from The Detroit News favored the performance, commenting on its effect on the audience: "Royce joined his partner-in-rhyme on stage for two songs, 'Fast Lane' and 'Lighters,' the latter of which lit up the humongous field in front of the [stage] in a sea of Bic lighters."[62] Magazine The Hollywood Reporter quoted, "Bonnaroo's crowd may be a hippie enclave, but you wouldn't have known it Saturday night."[61] Mars joined Bad Meets Evil to perform "Lighters" on the second day of Lollapalooza 2011, which took place in Chicago and once again, they were accompanied by Mr. Porter.[63] Piet Levy from USA Today newspaper named the performance as "the evening's highlight".[63] During the show, many fans held up Bic lighters and lit their cell phones and cameras.[64] Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly quoted the show as "a set heavy on hard-spat hits".[65] Gil Kaufman from MTV News thought of Mars' chorus as "a feathery pop sheen to the harder-edge".[64] Mars also brought a silver guitar that he occasionally played.[66] "Lighters" was included on Eminem's set list at V2011 (V Festival), which took place in Staffordshire and Chelmsford on August 20 and August 21, 2011, respectively.[67][68]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel

Credits were adapted from the Hell: The Sequel digital booklet.[2]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2011)Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[36]17
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[37]41
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[38]23
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[39]32
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[69]4
Denmark (Tracklisten)[40]18
France (SNEP)[41]11
Germany (Media Control AG)[70]26
Ireland (IRMA)[42]11
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[43]17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[44]2
Norway (VG-lista)[71]8
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[72]9
South Korea (GAON)[73]2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[74]18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[75]10
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[76]3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[50]10
US Billboard Hot 100[77]4
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[78]2
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)[79]27
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[80]75
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[81]6

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[82]Platinum70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[83]Gold7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI)[84]Silver200,000^
United States (RIAA)[85]2× Platinum2,208,000[35]

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

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2011)Position
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade[86]65
US Billboard Hot 100[87]34

Radio dates[edit]

CountryDateFormat
United States[4]July 5, 2011Contemporary hit radio

References[edit]

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External links[edit]