If I Can't Have You

Album: Shawn Mendes (2019)
Charted: 9 2
Play Video


  • "If I Can't Have You" is a song about a girl that Shawn Mendes is obsessed with:

    I can't write one song that's not about you
    Can't drink without thinking about you

    Unfortunately the girl doesn't seem to feel the same way.

    I'm trying to move on, forget you, but I hold on
    Everything means nothing, everything means nothing, babe

    The infatuated singer just can't get her out of his mind.
  • Shawn Mendes penned the song with his regular writing partners Scott Harris and Teddy Geiger. Their previous collaborations include his hit singles "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," "Treat You Better" and "In My Blood."

    The fourth credited songwriter is soul and R&B singer Nathaniel Mercereau, who has worked a lot with Leon Bridges. He previously contributed to the writing of Mendes' "Lost In Japan."
  • Mendes and company originally wrote the song for Dua Lipa. But as he played it in the studio, he realized it tied in with the mood he wanted for his new music, so the Canadian decided to keep it for himself.
  • Speaking during a YouTube live chat, Mendes said he had the song's melody stuck in his head for two months before he was able to complete the track. However, once he got into the studio with the other songwriters, they quickly completed it. Shawn said, "It seems to be a pattern with my favorite songs. When it feels right it comes quick."
  • Mendes said his biggest inspiration for the song musically was the British group The 1975. He was obsessed with their A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships album while making this track.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Tom Keifer of Cinderella

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Gary Numan

Gary NumanSongwriter Interviews

An Electronic music pioneer with Asperger's Syndrome. This could be interesting.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

The Evolution of "Ophelia"

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Band Names

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.