play w/ me

Album: released as a single (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Bailey Bryan at a breaking point, frustrated by a guy who has been playing games with their relationship. "I wrote the song because a guy I was kind of seeing sent me a 'U up?' text on a Wednesday after not replying all day," she said on the Songfacts Podcast. "I am not the girl you do that to. I'm the girl you text back within an hour or you never hear from me again. I was not in the mood to let it go - the bad bitch was out. Instead of texting him back I was irritated and began playing with my guitar."
  • Bryan was just 22 when she wrote and released this song, but she had been making music for four years, moving from Washington State to Nashville when she was 17. She came on the scene with her first single, "Own It," when she was 18. That lighthearted song has a country-pop sound reminiscent of early Taylor Swift, but "play w/ me" takes her into electronic pop territory and finds her far more assertive in tone.
  • This was produced by the Monsters & Strangerz team, which has worked on hits for Katy Perry ("Daisies"), Maroon 5 ("Memories") and Miley Cyrus ("Prisoner").
  • The song took off on TikTok late in 2020, with users creating videos to the hook lyrics:

    Feeling like a bitch slap
    Ever seen a bitch snap?


    On the Songfacts Podcast, Bryan said: "I went through a breakup situation which shifted me from bad bitch to sensitive. I woke up crying from a text from my manager to a TikTok of a girl being inspired by 'play w/ me.' It was starting to blow up on TikTok and I sat in bed watching this with tears pouring down my face. It was too ironic and I got my phone and posted the video of me crying saying that I was crying over a stupid boy."

    "It's crazy to me," she added. "Every day I see a new statistic and my day is absolutely made. It just makes the song so much more authentic to me that I got to be encouraged by the song in the same way that other girls have been. I got to relate to people who needed to hear that song. Now everyday I think about what I actually want to say and I do it. It's more authentic. I'm so happy that the song didn't get this attention when it was released, it got attention when it needed to."
  • Bryan also released a "sensitive version" of this song with a more mellow, piano-driven sound.

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