The first single from singer-songwriter Gavin Degraw's third album, Sweeter was a collaboration with OneRepublic's lead singer and songwriter for hire Ryan Tedder. The pair initially met when they performed on the same bill and the two, both groove-minded piano players, decided to write together. This is one of two songs McGraw co-wrote with Tedder for the LP.
The song poignantly evokes the difficulty of getting over someone. "'Not Over You' is about trying to get past someone emotionally," DeGraw explained to AOL Music. "You create this scenario - you see them in your dreams and if you bumped into them, you would let them know that you're doing fine and you're past the breakup - but you'd be lying."
DeGraw expanded on the song to AOL Music: "It's kind of riding that line between vulnerability and pride. You're saying 'If I saw you, even though I'm missing you, I wouldn't tell you I was missing you.' That may or may not be a masculine trait, but I do know it's prideful and vulnerable. I've been there, so that's why I got behind the song, and I know a lot of people have been there too, it's just real. You don't always have to be romantic - sometimes it's important to just be real."
DeGraw told Gibson.com the story of the song. Here's what he said: "I was hanging with Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, and he and I first got together when we were both going in and out of Nashville. We sat down together one day and wrote this track called 'Sweeter,' which is the title track, at this great studio called Blackbird in Nashville. The vibe was so good that after we wrote 'Sweeter,' we said, 'Let's do another one!' A few weeks later, I went out to Denver where Ryan had built a studio, and he played me this little piano riff. I was like, 'I like that!' He was like, 'It's for you. I love that melody and rhythm.' So, a couple days later, the song was finished. It really wrote itself."
Country singer Sara Evans covered this for her 2014 Slow Me Down album with DeGraw providing harmony vocals. Evans told Billboard magazine that she was amazed by DeGraw's professional approach to making the recording special. "He went in and sang all over the song – every line, he put oohs and ahhs on it," she said. "A lot of times, people will come in, throw in their part, and not really care. The fact that he wrote the song, I'm sure made him a lot more passionate about it than he would have been. It's actually another duet - more than just another harmony part."