The title track of If I Should Go Before You is a love song with a somewhat morbid feel. It also has a dual meaning that relates to the music itself.
"You never know what this business is going to be like," City and Colour mainman Dallas Green told Billboard magazine. "I never know when it's going to end. You can't take anything for granted. So the title is a way of saying, 'If this is my last record for some reason, if I should go before you, here's a record I'm proud of to leave you with.'"
Death and relationships permeate If I Should Go Before You's 11 tracks. "It's about a love so large it outlasts life and death," Green told Jam! Music regarding the title song. "The reason I also called the album that is because I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy. I'm always looking and wondering, 'What's next?' I look at it as if, for some strange reason, this is my last record; here's something I'm very proud of I'd like to leave you with."
Dallas Green expanded on the meaning of this devastating request to a cherished lover. "It's about the idea of loving someone so much you want them to move on if you were to go, but loving them so much you wouldn't want to if they did," he said. "But, in my head, it also says, 'if I were to go, I give you this record to listen to.'"