Behind the Song: “Don’t Ever Love Me”
“Don’t Ever Love Me” was the second single we released for “The Outskirts”. One day Jon and I were writing over Skype and iPhone voice memos, and he sent me the barebones of a riff with this cool F#-F-F# movement and he told me to “run with it”. So I did. At the time, I was taking the Songwriting I class at William Paterson with Professor Martin Briley (“Salt In My Tears”, Celine Dion, Shinedown, etc.). We spent one lecture talking about “Chord Pacing” and how as the song progresses, the pace of the chords should change (ex. 4 measure changes to 2 or 1, for more movement) then we were told to write a song utilizing this concept.
I went back to my dorm that week and went back to the riff Jon had sent me and began tweaking it. I used the chord pacing idea in the verse, going from 1 measure changes to 2 beat changes in the second half. It gives the song a bit more movement, and on the record, the left and right panning, combined with Jon and I playing octaves of each other really highlighted this change and made it pop.
In the studio, we spent a lot of time on the vocals. I was in the booth for a couple of hours doing the falsetto harmonies, and we had many takes of gang vocals in the choruses, the bridge, and the outro. We had another set of gangs doing a round with the “I don’t want to be addicted” part at the end, but we ended up scrapping it because it was becoming too cluttered- but it was cool nonetheless.
Dan came up with the harmonic, “Edge-esque” guitar part in the beginning of the tune, and I think that’s one of the things that helps set it apart from the other tunes on the record. It’s a really cool part. As a pop, song I think it is probably a close second in catchiness to “Another Deadbeat Summer” but I think this song has a little more of an emotional charge to it.
Lyrically, I wanted to write about two broken people, and one of them knowing that the best thing for the other person was to stay away from them. It takes a lot of courage to admit you love someone, but it takes an entirely different level of courage and restraint to say “I love you, but you shouldn’t love me, for your own good”. I really enjoyed the idea of love being an addiction because it absolutely is as potent as any drug out there. It is something you crave, and the one character knows that if she lets herself fall, she will get completely hooked again, and she can’t handle being broken again. She also doesn’t want to be the one to break him.
The song is each character stating their case and pleading with the other. Zack Morrison brought this aspect of the song to life in the video he directed. The beginning of the video (and the song) starts out like any date would, and it has an overall happy tone to it. As the song progresses, each character begins to drop the ruse and begins to show their true feelings, one being completely head over heels, and the other hesitant to feel the same. By the end of the song, they are screaming at each other because they are just so frustrated with the situation. It doesn’t have a happy ending- at least in this chapter of the story.
Stay tuned for more "Behind the Song" entries.
Photo by: Phil Shepherd
Friends in Low Places