Let’s face it: we’ve maxed out on bad news this year. But thankfully, we have no shortage of anthems to help us get through it all. On Friday, August 14, Charlie Puth and “Hot Girl Bummer” singer Blackbear released their highly-anticipated collaboration, titled “Hard on Yourself.” Puth announced the single’s release date on his Instagram Wednesday (August 12), with the caption, “From an Instagram beat I made in 10 minutes…to a full song just a couple weeks later. ‘Hard on Yourself’ is out everywhere THIS FRIDAY.” The song is an encouraging anthem centered on forgiveness, self-love, and healing from past heartbreaks. Paired with Puth’s flavorful synth and Blackbear’s dynamic lyricism, there’s no doubt they have another hit on their hands.
This collaboration follows the success of Charlie’s first single of 2020, “Girlfriend,” which reached over 33 million worldwide streams in just a few months, and whose music video amasses over 8 million views on YouTube. While “Girlfriend” showed fans that dance-y, upbeat Charlie Puth that we all know and love, “Hard on Yourself” brings a more vulnerable side, reminiscent of 90s R&B and the singer’s Voicenotes era. Charlie has been keeping a relatively low profile over the last two years, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hard at work behind the scenes. A seasoned musician and perfectionist, Puth records and produces all of his music by himself. So it’s clear that each piece was painstakingly crafted as a labor of love (for example, “Girlfriend” took over three months to mix!).
While Charlie had been teasing the release of “Hard on Yourself” for weeks with Instagram video snippets, fans were speculating who the mystery feature was – everyone from One Direction’s Zayn Malik to South Korean pop sensations Blackpink was mentioned. Puth teased Blackbear’s involvement in a tweet on August 1st saying, “Blackbear and I are working on that song and it sounds so foooookin’ GOOD.” Up until that point, Charlie’s Twitter was filled with introspective nuggets that sounded a lot like lyrics, so fans were left to assume “that song” Charlie mentioned was “Hard on Yourself.” The collaboration between the two was finally confirmed on Tuesday (August 11) when both Puth and Blackbear appeared in a video together lip-syncing a portion of the song with the Snapchat baby face filter on.
While the catchy beat and vocals are the song’s main drawing point, it is clear that the lyrics carry a deep and heartfelt meaning. “I can see you struggling, promise you’ll find love again. Why are you so hard on yourself?” are some of the phrases that can be heard. It is a universal message that needs to be heard now more than ever. Charlie and Blackbear are here to remind us that though we can be our own toughest critics, we should also be our own fiercest protectors.
Stream “Hard on Yourself” everywhere now! Listen to it here.