|Song by Mike Shinoda from the album Post Traumatic|
|Released||June 15, 2018|
|Live debut||June 20, 2018|
|Label||Warner Bros. Records|
"I.O.U." is the 13th song off of Mike Shinoda's debut studio album, Post Traumatic.
"I.O.U." was one of the last songs added to Post Traumatic, with it originally being seen as a Fort Minor song and making reference to the project in the first verse. Mike said that he did the intro to the song on his phone, similar to "Lost In The Echo." He commented, "I did "I.O.U" on my phone, not the whole thing, but I got the beat started on my phone."
As far back as fall 2016, Mike was planning to release more Fort Minor music and perform shows as Fort Minor in between Linkin Park dates on their next world tour. On the One More Light World Tour, Mike had already begun recording tracks on tour. Mike originally planned for a Fort Minor release of songs in fall 2017, going as far as to run the idea by Linkin Park and get their approval for the release, before Chester passed away in July 2017. "Lift Off" and "I.O.U." were at least two songs planned for this Fort Minor release. On the European Tour, Mike began teasing Fort Minor by wearing exclusive new Fort Minor merch that he designed himself.
Mike told Ultimate Guitar, ""I.O.U." was a track I was working on and was thinking it could be a Fort Minor song, which was unfinished. I worked on it, rewrote it and finished it for the album."
Mike told Genius, "This song was a late addition to the album. I had originally envisioned the track as a Fort Minor track, but it seemed to round out the Post Traumatic album well, with some much needed lyrical firepower. I had a horrible year, and my friends told me, once they heard me talking sh*t in a rap song, they knew I was getting better."
About the line "yeah, levitatin' off the blacktop", he said, "This line is like the tip off." About the line, "tell 'em take an I.O.U.", he said. "I.O.U. (I owe you). This song is about people who want to take something from you, whatever that may mean."
About the line "levitatin' in the blackout", he said, "I liked the basketball imagery ("levitating off the blacktop") in the first verse, and I wanted to flip it for the second verse. Levitating in the blackout is a more sci-fi kind of image, and set a film-like kind of tone for the second verse." About the line "used to drink at least a forty 'fore we mashed out", he said, "When I was in high school, we listened to Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, who always rapped about drinking 40s. That was pretty much what we drank at every party, until my mom caught me drinking underage. Needless to say, I was in big trouble."
About the lines "used to think that workin' forty was a max-out / now I'm workin' even when I'm sleepin', do the math now", he said, "When I'm working hard on a song, I will literally dream about it. I'll wake up singing it and thinking about how to make it better." About the following two lines "'cause even when I'm sleepin', eyes keep 'em open / stripe across 'em both the color of your hemoglobin", he said, "All my close friends know this – and most have seen it– I literally sleep with my eyes open. They're open a tiny bit, and I will watch people moving around the room. The result of this is that I have a red line across the middle of both eyes. It's worse on days when I've gotten less sleep."
About the line "X-23 I'm keen to leave 'em with a femur broken", he said, "In the Logan / Wolverine story, Logan was asked to protect X-23, a little mutant girl who was created in his image. Dafne Keen was the actress who played X-23 in the film. Hence "Keen" to leave em with a femur broken."
About the line "I'm '81 Reagan with that nonsense, miss me", he said, "In 1981, an assassination attempt was made on president Ronald Reagan. It was unsuccessful." And finally, about the line "father like Francis, Anakin or John Misty", he said, "Pope Francis = father of the Catholic Church, Anakin Skywalker = father of Luke, John Misty = Father John Misty"
At the Chicago, IL Post Traumatic Tour show on November 11th, 2018, fans noticed that Mike was being filmed on stage while performing "I.O.U." on stage.
A music video for "I.O.U." was shot, directed and edited by Chady Awad and released on March 4th, 2019 following a teaser from Mike on March 1st. Chady would go on to document Mike on the European Post Traumatic Tour in 2019 as well. The video features footage shot at various locations during the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour in 2018 such as Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Dallas, Montreal, Los Angeles, Denver and Anaheim. An edited version of the song was used in the video, being 20 seconds shorter than the album version.
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|I.O.U.||Post Traumatic||2:43||2017-2018||June 15, 2018|
|I.O.U. (Official Video)||2:24||2017-2018||March 4, 2019||
|I.O.U.||Post Traumatic - Instrumentals||2:42||2017-2018||
Mike added "I.O.U" to the setlist last minute at the Post Traumatic release show in New York, where it opened the encore. The song was a setlist staple until the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour, where it was added to the regular rotation.
- Written and produced by Mike Shinoda
- Vocals by Mike Shinoda
- Mixed by Jaycen Joshua
- Mastered by Michelle Mancini
Yeah, levitatin' off the blacktop
- I.O.U. (Official Audio): YouTube
- Twitch: Mike Shinoda - 9.16 / Gorillaz / Delta Blues / Motown, September 16, 2020
- LPLive: Mike Live Chat Update], October 20, 2016
- https://twitter.com/lplive/status/874300425847140354 LPLive: Twitter
- https://lplive.net/forums/topic/12802-new-fort-minor-shirts/ LPLive: New Fort Minor Shirts
- https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/interviews/mike_shinoda_on_new_album_post_traumatic_my_priority_wasnt_to_impress_anybody.html Mike Shinoda on New Album 'Post Traumatic': 'My Priority Wasn't to Impress Anybody'
- Genius, June 2018
- https://lplive.net/forums/topic/13612-iou-music-video-coming-soon/ LPLive: 'I.O.U.' Music Video Coming Soon...?
- https://twitter.com/mikeshinoda/status/1101529895883091968 Mike Shinoda: Twitter