Don't Wanna Write This Song

Album: Ticket to L.A. (2018)
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Songfacts®:

  • Brett Young wrote this song with Zach Crowell and the singer's "Mercy" collaborator Sean McConnell.

    Like "Mercy," "Don't Wanna Write This Song" is a heartbreak song with a sparse, dark instrumental, and both are the last tracks on their respective albums. The similarities are intentional. Knowing he had yet to record a breakup ballad for Ticket to L.A., Young texted Crowell and McConnell just before their songwriting session to say that the only thing they needed for the record was something like "Mercy."
  • It's only in the third verse that it becomes clear this isn't a breakup song, but Brett Young is actually mourning the death of his lover. He told Billboard:

    "It was already a big undertaking to say that we wanted to try writing Mercy 2.0, but we got to where the bridge would happen, and we all kind of realized that we had to kill her. It was a strange realization."

    The three writers ended up writing an alternate ending in case people felt it was too dark. However, once Young recorded the demo everybody agreed letting his lover die was the right thing to do.
  • Young explained why he likes putting pure ballads at the ends of records. "I feel like sequencing the record is so much about tempo, and if you put it smack-dab in the middle, you kind of suck the energy out when there's still four or five songs left. I never want the ballad to be the reason people don't continue to listen through the rest of the record."
  • "Don't Wanna Write This Song" was a title Young first tried to write by himself in the late 2000s in LA. He admitted to The Boot that "it was a terrible, terrible song."

    A decade later, Young tried again and for the first time in his life he was able to revisit an idea and make it work.
  • When Young told his co-writers about the song he hoped to create with them during their session, McConnell was so inspired that he wound up writing part of the tune before they even got together.

    Young recalled that he woke up to a voice note from McConnell on the day of their write. "It was just piano, and not only a lot of melody but a lot of lyrics, so we had a lot to build on," he said. "A lot of what you're hearing melodically, and the piano part, as well as a lot of the lyrics, we kept from the idea [he] had sent that morning."

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