To hear Hoobastank tell it, they once had an opportunity to release a version of “Inside of You” featuring Rihanna while she was still early in her career, but decided to use a recording without her contributions instead.
“True story. There is a version of a @Hoobastank song featuring @rihanna when she was a ‘newer’ artist,” lead singer Doug Robb wrote in a tweet. “Displaying a total lack of foresight, we didn’t use that version of the song for the album. We also didn’t think The Reason was a single though either so…🤦🏻Oops 🤷🏻”
Adding to the self-deprecating tone of the tweet, Robb attached a video of Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance with audio from Hoobastank’s “Crawling in the Dark,” which contains the lyrics, “‘Cause I’m looking and I just can’t see what’s in front of me.”
In a statement shared with Consequence, Robb elaborates further on the situation. “Back when we were recording our third album, Every Man for Himself, we were approached by someone at our label, Island Def Jam, about potentially featuring a ‘new artist’ on one of the songs,” he says. “This kind of stuff happens all the time. We said, ‘Sure. Who do you have in mind?’ It was Rihanna. I had never heard of her. I don’t think anyone else in the band had, either, at the time.”
He continues, “We gave her camp a song called ‘Inside of You.’ I think they rearranged some of the music to create a pre-chorus section, that wasn’t originally part of the arrangement, for her to sing a small part on. We heard it and didn’t really love it so we passed on using it. It’s really just that simple. I think we had already gotten used to hearing the song as it was written so it just felt weird to us.”
Robb admits that they could have approached creating the song in a different way, saying, “I think if we had done a proper collaboration with her, writing the song knowing there was gonna be another artist on it and making space for it, we probably would have felt differently and used it. I think the way we did it was just wrong. The paint had already dried so to speak. Well, it was that, plus a stunning lack of vision to see what a star Rihanna was going to be.”
However, the band apparently remained on good terms with Rihanna. “We’d run into her at various award shows after and she was always very sweet and super cool,” Robb says. “I think everything worked out ok for her in the end. 😂.”
To be fair to Hoobastank, Rihanna would have just been coming off her 2005 debut, Music of the Sun, at that time. It’s easy to look back now and assume the collaboration would be a guaranteed hit, but Rihanna wasn’t yet the superstar we now know despite her breakout single “Pon de Replay” hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Inside of You” didn’t approach the success of Hoobastank’s signature hit “The Reason” (which reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 2004), but it still peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Revisit the track below.
As for Rihanna, she has amassed 14 No. 1 songs and 31 entries in the Top 10 of the Hot 100.
In 2021, Robb and his Hoobastank bandmate Dan Estrin sat down with Kyle Meredith to revisit their 2001 self-titled debut album and speak about “The Reason” going viral on TikTok. The band will be appearing at the inaugural edition of the Sick New World festival in Las Vegas this May; grab your pass here.
True story. There is a version of a @Hoobastank song featuring @rihanna when she was a “newer” artist. Displaying a total lack of foresight, we didn’t use that version of the song for the album. We also didn’t think The Reason was a single though either so…🤦🏻Oops 🤷🏻 pic.twitter.com/NjIAj4IMGMAdvertisement
— Doug Robb (@HoobaDoug) February 14, 2023
There’re many things I wish I didn’t do….
— Doug Robb (@HoobaDoug) February 15, 2023