‘Say Something,’ A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

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The cover of the single “Say Something,” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.

Nov. 5, 2013 was the day it all changed for A Great Big World. In September 2013, the duo had released “Say Something” — a heartbreaking ballad about making one last attempt to save a relationship that’s probably doomed to end — as the lead single from its “Is There Anybody Out There?” album, and it hadn’t done much. But Christina Aguilera had heard it, and offered to sing on a new version of it. This version was released on Nov. 4, the day before Aguilera and A Great Big World — Fair Lawn’s Ian Axel, and Chad Vaccarino — performed it on “The Voice,” where Aguilera was one of the judges.

Their intense performance made the song into an overnight Top 10 hit. It must have been startling to watch live: You just rarely hear such a powerful performance on a network television talent show (or, for that matter, on Top 40 radio, where the song soon became ubiquitous.) Below is the song’s music video.

Today, the song was honored with a nomination for best pop duo or group performance in next year’s Grammy ceremony. (The bad news: It has strong competition, including “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, “Bang Bang” by “Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, and “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry and Juicy J). The ceremony takes place Feb. 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.

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