Lyrically, the song describes a lively party where the narrator meets and propositions a woman for sex.
"Live While We're Young" is an uptempo, upbeat bubblegum pop song which features rock undertones, vocal harmonies, hand claps, prominent electric guitar riffs, and repetitive synthesizers, reminiscent of the musical structures of their debut album. The opening guitar riff has been noted as similar to that of The Clash song "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (1982).
"Live While We're Young" was written by Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk, and Savan Kotecha, and was produced by Yacoub and Falk. The trio had collaboratively helmed One Direction's previous hits, "What Makes You Beautiful" and "One Thing". In early 2012, the group confirmed a follow-up release for their debut album, Up All Night (2011), was in development.
"In the summer, we’re going to get back and start a new record. We want to bring out a record nearly every year, every year and a half," member Niall Horan said, revealing they were arranging "meetings and stuff with different writers and producers." The band began recording the album in May 2012, in Stockholm, Sweden, at Kinglet Studios—"Live While We're Young" is a result of those recording sessions.
In June 2012, Horan spoke to MTV News, elaborating that the lead single would probably be released in September 2012.
|Released||September 20, 2012|
|Filmed||August 23-24, 2012|
|VEVO views||569,161,369 (as of March 31, 2018)|
The music video for "Live While We're Young" was filmed on August 23 and 24, 2012. It was directed by Vaughan Arnell.
"Live While We're Young" was released on September 20, 2012. It was initially set to premiere on September 24, 2012, but on September 20, 2012, the video leaked online. As a result, the official premiere was moved up. The video garnered 8.24 million views within 24 hours of its release, smashing the record for most views within 24 hours of release which was previously held by Justin Bieber's 'Boyfriend'. The record was later broken by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj's 'Beauty And A Beat', which garnered 10.6 million views.
The video begins with One Direction waking up in a tent. Outside, Payne starts singing the opening lines, as others are seen playing guitars sitting on hay bales in a camp setting. Subsequent scenes inter cut featuring One Direction performing the song at the camp setting in a circle, on an open field, driving a car, and at a lake where members of the group play in plastic bubbles and boats. As it turns to nighttime, the camp is the main setting; they conduct a football match and afterwards a pool party. The video ends with One Direction looking at the camera, with Malik singing the last line. Throughout the video, teenage boys and girls are showing with the band.
Behind the scenes
The band confirmed the single by uploading a video to YouTube on 23 August 2012. Globally, the song was made available for pre-order at 24:00 GMT on 24 August, through the iTunes Store, while excluding, Canada, Japan, and the United States. The artwork was revealed on 14 September. Jocelyn Vena of MTV News described it as portraying "the fivesome enjoying the outdoors during a camping trip, goofing off outside a tent."
On 28 September, Sony Music Entertainment released it digitally in Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. It impacted the United Kingdom on 30 September, while in the United States it was released on 1 October. Due to a processing error, the US iTunes Store was selling the track for 99 cents — instead of the general $1.29. Label sources indicated the initial price was a mistake, but could not be corrected until midday 1 October. By the afternoon, the price had changed from 99 cents to $1.29.
Live While We're Young was a critical and commercial success, receiving positive reviews and becoming a top ten hit in fifteen countries, while reaching #1 in New Zealand and Ireland. In the United States, "Live While We're Young" debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, marking the second-highest bow of any UK act since Elton John's #1 debut with "Candle in the Wind 1997".
- "Live While We're Young" was featured in a Pepsi commercial starring One Direction themselves alongside NFL player Drew Brees.
- The song helped One Direction secure the 2016 Guinness World Record for 'Highest Debut By A U.K Group on U.S Singles Chart'.
- The song is featured on interactive dance video game Just Dance 4.
- In 2014, Louis Tomlinson responded on Twitter to parents who pulled their children from a school choir performing the song, due to the sexual lyrics, saying "Dear Mr and Mrs Stone, I'm deeply saddened by your complaint to Chelsea High School regarding our lyrics...I hope the two of you 'get some' very soon :) #cryingparents"
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Take Me Home.
- Carl Falk – writing, production, programming, instruments, guitar, background vocals
- Kristoffer Fogelmark – background vocals
- Niall Horan – additional guitar
- Savan Kotecha – writing, background vocals
- Rami Yacoub – writing, production, programming, instruments, bass
- Marcus Thompson - Flute