"If You Go Down" was the last song Ballerini wrote for Subject To Change
. The singer, together with her co-producers Julian Bunetta and Shane McAnally, had already cut most of the tracks. They booked in one last writing day in case there was anything left in the tank, and after reviewing the topics that might be absent from the record, Ballerini noted there was nothing that honored her friendships. "Friends was a huge theme on my last record - the two lyrics that popped up the most on that Kelsea record were 'home' and 'friends,'" she recounted to Billboard
. "And so it was like I was doing a disservice to a pillar in my life to not have a song that carried that through."
Ballerini, Bunetta and McAnally started talking about Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon driving off the cliff in Thelma & Louise
, and Marianne and Wanda in The Chicks murder ballad "Goodbye Earl
"These really beautiful best-friend stories that had a tinge of murder attached," Ballerini recalled.
Following their discussion, the three crafted an outlaw anthem where Ballerini assures her girlfriend, "If it all blows up and we end up on the news. If you go down, I'm goin' down too."