This Paul Jenkins, Jason Sellers and Andy Gibson penned song is a duet with pop singer Kelly Clarkson. Aldean explained to The Boot why he decided to hook up with the Season 1 American Idol champ: "Michael Knox, my producer, and I had been throwing the idea around for a couple years, but it was something that I didn't want to force. If it made sense and the right song came along, that would be cool. If you go out looking for that perfect song for a duet, you'll never find it. Jason Sellers pitched that song to us, and I loved it. The more I listened to it, the more I thought if there was ever a song that we could pull off as a duet, this was it. It just so happened that Kelly Clarkson was available, which doesn't happen all the time."
Aldean told The Boot that recording the song with Clarkson was the easy part of their collaboration: "When you think about a song and recording a duet, you have in mind how it will sound. Kelly came in and we started cutting vocals on her and the first note she sang I was like, 'Oh my, this is going to be good.' She's an amazing singer, and she was really cool to work with. I couldn't believe how easy it was to get her to do it. We just played her the song and she loved it. Dealing with the record label and getting through that red tape was the worst part of making it happen."
The song was Jason Aldean's fifth Country Songs chart-topper and the first for Kelly Clarkson, whose previously best had been a #2 placing for Reba McEntire's 2007 remake of "Because Of You" with the maiden American Idol champ. The song's elevation to #1 meant Clarkson became the third Idol alumni to top the country chart following Carrie Underwood and Josh Gracin. This was the first duet between pop and country artists to reach #1 on Country Songs since Bon Jovi and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles reached the summit with "Who Says You Can't Go Home" in May 2006.
The three songwriters told The Boot how when they penned this song they focused on what two people in love would actually say to each other in everyday life, rather than penning poetic, romantic lyrics. Andy Gibson: Paul had this hook, "don't you wanna stay," and right away I thought, "Wow, that is just so simple." It wasn't over-the-top, flowery-emotional ... not gooey kind of romance. It was realistic! And we wanted to keep it that way throughout the whole song, lyrically. We wanted to make sure it was stuff you'd actually say in real life. Keep the lyric real simple, yet still have that super romantic, strong emotional connection. Paul Jenkins: It was one of those things where you have the title and some semblance of the melody just pops into your head. I don't know where exactly it came from. I sang what I had to Jason, and we thought, "What if we did something like, 'you're chocolate and I'm peanut butter' ... and then we had the start of the song for a minute. Jason Sellers: As writers, a lot of times something in your life happens and you write it from that. But in this particular case, we had this title. So we started thinking about the concept. In our business, they want tempo, tempo all the time. But every once in awhile, you find the right ballad. And we just felt like this kind of sentiment might really catch a lot of people who might feel that moment of, "Man, this is so awesome, let's not cut this short! Can't we just keep this going? Matter of fact, can't we just keep this going forever?" Paul Jenkins: When you're a songwriter, you're always trying to break it down, say it in the most simplified way for each other in our everyday lives ... it's just our instinct. We're always aiming to do that, encapsulate it in some magical way. Right from the beginning, this is a love song. And we tried to keep it as confessional as we could. Jason Sellers: You write a lot of songs, and sometimes the lyrics are more art-driven, in a poetic sense. But we just wanted to write this as if someone was saying this to the other person. Once we had a clear path, we started writing it. Andy Gibson: I remember when we were writing the second verse, and we had said earlier, "Don't wanna just make love, wanna make love last." We came back to that and thought, "That's so simple and it means so much. I don't wanna be with you right now, I wanna be with you forever. It's those kind of things people hear - girls, especially - and they'll go, "Wow!" I wanted to write something like the kind of person I am - I'm not some big party animal out looking for girls. When I love somebody, I love them. And I wanted this song to give that same emotion and feeling: "I don't want to be with anyone else. I just want to be with you. I don't want to just love you and leave. I want to be with you." Paul Jenkins: There's always going to be the crafty kind of lyric that's got the hooks and a lot of different ways to look at the hook, and I love that too. But people are getting more tapped into the emotion of music, and they're looking to music to be an opiate, in some way, these days. They want to resonate with something and feel good... or feel something. To me, that's the new frontier in country music.
The duet was named both single record of the year and vocal event of the year at the 2012 ACM awards. It was the first ACM award for Clarkson - "Thank you all so much for welcoming me from the pop world," she told the audience.
The song was originally written for co-writer Andy Gibson to record. "I originally wrote it for me," he told Buffalo, New York's Country 1065 WYRK. "I was looking for songs and wrote this song with my buddies Jason and Paul and really wanted to write a song that said something a guy would actually say to a girl," he said. "Not like flowery poetry and all the things that none of us could ever think of... something your everyday average guy would think of. So that's what we came up with."