"It Won't Always Be Like This" is a wistful meditation about appreciating every stage of life. Each of the piano-driven ballad's verses reviews a stage in Pearce's journey, both personally and professionally. From reminiscing about her grandpa in Kentucky and the struggles of moving to Nashville to the early stages of a new relationship, Pearce now wishes that she had held on to those moments a little tighter.
Carly Pearce originally wanted to pen a song in memory of her grandparents to highlight how their time together went by much too fast and how she ended up losing them far too soon. Eventually, Pearce took those thoughts and turned them into a song about her impatient youth; she was unable to appreciate life's big moments because she was anxious to move on to the next one. It's only now Pearce realizes how precious those memories are.
Pearce penned the tune alongside Natalie Hemby and Sam Ellis, while the late producer Busbee produced the track - it was one of the last projects he worked on before his passing.
Busbee was Pearce's longtime collaborator. His death from brain cancer at the cruel age of 43 gave the song a whole new meaning for the singer.
"Busbee thought this song was really special from the beginning," Pearce recalled to American Songwriter
. "Everyone in the studio could just feel it. And just by coincidence, Busbee's brother was in Nashville visiting him while we were working on this song. They had had a rocky relationship in the past and I remember the song bringing him to tears. He was just so touched by this song."
When Pearce debuted "It Won't Always Be Like This" live at the Grand Ole Opry in June 2019, she told the audience it was, "probably the most personal song that I will ever write in my career."
Carly Pearce bonded with Natalie Hemby over the song as both experienced a lot of the same hardship during their early days in Nashville. The singer told The Boot
"I think the second verse in its entirely is me speaking to 22-year-old Carly that was watching everybody get record deals and watching everybody succeed, and I was still in Nashville cleaning AirBnBs. Just the spin on that verse of saying to myself, 'The heart won't ache forever. No matter how hard it gets' - I wish I could go back and tell myself at 22... 'Hold onto who you are, and don't let this town eat you up,' because now I'm entering my 30s and I'm going, God, I wish I just would have enjoyed the time a little bit more and not beaten myself up about why I don't have something."
The emotional ballad took on new meaning for both the singer and her fans in light of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. "I wrote this song just kind of about things that happened to me and that everything is for a reason," Pearce said before performing the tune during her April 29, 2020 Billboard Live At-Home session. "A lot of people have reached out to me and say that they can relate to this song because of COVID, so hopefully, this song will speak to you."
Once Carly Pearce saw how the song was helping people get through COVID-19, she created a new music video to accompany it. The clip combines shots of the singer and her band spreading the hopeful message "It Won't Always Be Like This" with snapshots of America during the pandemic.
"The first chorus, my band goes in and out with photos across the country of really busy places, cities, subways, different venues where there's nobody there anymore and it's an eerie look," Pearce explained to ABC Audio. "And then the second chorus takes you and shows you a lot of really heavy moments for the healthcare workers and everybody in the hospitals on the front lines of this."
"It's a powerful thing that I hope people can relate to, especially during this time, and give them comfort," she added. "Because it won't always be like this."