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Don't Look Back: Stories Behind The Song

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

The Backstory

This song was written right after a break-up. I am not going to go into too much detail here so as to giveaway who the person was, but a lot of unfair and hurtful reasons were given, and I promise it was not the typical “it isn’t working out.” The break-up came during a confusing time in my life too, so I was definitely upset, but not to the extent that I go in the song. For example, I was not drinking my face off and smashing things, and I was not technically depressed. I exaggerated the emotions a little bit to make a pop song, as most writers do.


The Process

I was fooling around in Logic and found a really cool looped sound. It made me feel like I could make a fun upbeat song, so I added some four-on-the-floor percussion. I then somehow came up with a guitar/synth melody, and the song went from there. That melody is one of my favorite melodies I’ve written. I think I found it to be so beautiful and emotional, really setting the tone for the rest of the song.

I remember thinking about the lyrics once I had most of the structure of the song down.

I wrote the chorus immediately, and then crossed it out a the next day. I think I felt I could write a better chorus, but didn't come up with anything, so I ended up keeping it (you can see in the photo the big X over the lyrics). You might also notice towards the bottom, some lyrics that are not in the song. I have no idea what that’s all about, but could have something to do with the conflicting actions (which you can read about in the next section).

I loved the melody of the song, and I wanted to record it and put it on my Greatest Mistake EP. In my demo of the song, I had the song ending with some ooh’s. The music then stops, and we hear just the looped sound until the song ends. In the studio, we decided to keep the guitar/synth melody playing with my vocals saying “don’t look back,” fading the song out. I think Jack had suggested this idea to me, and I really loved it. I thought it added to the emotion of the song, and the fade out could represent the person driving away, getting further and further into the distance, not once looking back. Score! I also had a very long intro to the song in my demo. It started with a four-to-the-floor bass drum, then introducing the loop synth. Finally the melody would come in, which is the first thing you hear on the recorded version. I think the intro I had could be used more for a concert setting, so we nixed it for the recording.


The Song

Like I said earlier, the song is a break-up song. Initially, I was writing the song as if I was telling myself not to look back. I remember reading over the lyrics feeling confused as to why I was driving the car in the song. In the verses, I’m not the one packing up and moving out, so why am I breaking rear view mirrors and telling myself not to look back? I woke up one morning and realized that I was not leaving, and that

I was actually speaking the chorus out loud to the person in the car. The lyrics really are like this:

I slammed the door, “don’t stop what for? Just don’t look back don’t don’t look back. I trashed the rearview mirror so you don’t look back don’t don’t look back.”

I realized that when someone is dumped (I’m so harsh), that person might wish that his or her ex will come back and say “I changed my mind!” In this case, I am telling this person not to do that, even though there are times in the song where I am second guessing myself. I’m staying strong and saying just leave; don’t come back to tease me or hurt me again. In reality, it is really hard to be strong enough in the moment to do that, but sometimes it is for the best. It was in this case!

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