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  • Writer's picturecatecartermusic

Behind the Lyrics: "Doing Life With Me"

“Doing Life With Me” is really an apology song. It was December 10, 2021 and I had just finished writing “Women Always Know” and I was quite pleased with myself. I kept going back over the song and though I knew it was amazing, I felt this guilty feeling in the back of my mind. The feelings expressed in “Women Always Know” were true and real, but they were also exaggerated. I capitalized on hyperbole to turn a good song great and I felt guilty for writing a song I knew my partner would one day hear that exaggerated negative feelings about our relationship… I also didn’t want those negative assumptions to be out there in the universe, so I immediately got back to writing and 20 minutes later, I had “Doing Life With Me.”

I’m not sure where I first heard the phrase ‘do life with me,’ perhaps it was an instagram caption from a friend’s anniversary post to their partner. What I do know is that the phrase stuck with me. My goal in terms of relationships was to find someone that would do life with me and I felt certain that my current partner was going to be that person.

While it’s so exciting to have such strong feelings for someone, it’s also scary because what if they don’t share those feelings? Or to the level of intensity to which you feel them? And if you do know your partner feels the same way, experiencing a feeling and choosing that feeling are two very different things. The chorus verbalizes those fears and frames them as a proposal to my partner:

And it might not be easy to see past this week / but you can’t help thinking ‘bout doing life with me / and it might not be easy to commit when you can’t see / but I hope you’re holding onto what you know this could be

The second verse and bridge are what I’d really like to focus on for this essay. The verse is as follows:

Ready to love you like you’ve never been loved before / Ready to give you all you deserve and more / Ready to show you the joy our future holds / And ready to dream with you ‘bout the world and getting old

As “Women Always Know” was the first time I wrote the lyrics ‘I love you’ into a song, this verse expands upon that. I wanted to highlight the kind of pure love we could have. While “Women Always Know” expresses love out of fear, “Doing Life With Me” expresses love out of joy.

I’ve never been a huge fan of songs that generalize about life, so the addition of the lyric ‘and ready to dream with you ‘bout the world and getting old’ was a concession on my part. I am very specific about the lyrics I write, and I can be really judgemental about songs that idealize and romanticize life, so a lyric like this would likely turn me off if it was in someone else’s song. For some reason, in writing this song I broke my own rule. The idea of growing old with someone is romantic and idealistic but I think this song is me laying out the potential of what a real commitment could look like. To this day, almost two years later, I still have reservations about that line, it’s still very much giving old people country song but it was my truth in that moment so it’s not going anywhere.

The bridge is that final plea I referenced in my “Women Always Know” essay. Though I address my partner throughout the song, the bridge is the most direct confrontation:

Just a little longer baby, try to make it through / ‘cause you can have it all, your career and me and you / try a little harder baby, relax and make it through / ‘cause you know we can have it all, our lives and me and you

If that earlier line was idealistic, this is just plain cliché. The bridge is such a romanticized, idealistic version of a relationship. Because it’s not true. Most times you can’t have it all. Careers often conflict with relationships and sometimes love isn’t enough. It’s devastating because those are truly the most tragic breakups - the ones where both people are deeply in love but life gets in the way. ‘Right person, wrong time’ as they say. So no, we can’t have it all, and yes this is in complete contradiction with the many, many judgements I’ve made about other artists' songs being too general or romantic.

What’s interesting is that it didn’t feel idealistic or romantic when I wrote it. I felt so passionate about our relationship and I loved him so much that those sentiments didn’t feel like a stretch. I was so blinded by love and fear that I truly believed these idealisms and I broke my biggest songwriting rule. I think a feeling so big that it blinds you to your sense and your art deserves to have its moment. That’s why I kept this song and why released it to you. This song is my blindspot and if I’m going to be the honest, authentic artist I say that I am, I have to show my vulnerabilities along with my strengths.

In terms of production, “Doing Life With Me” was recorded after “Women Always Know” and with the strong country influence in “Women Always Know,” it only felt right for this song to share in that. As “Doing Life With Me” is a different take of the same situation, the song is produced in the same genre with a soft twist. That is to say this is a country love ballad, and its sister is an angry country rock song.

I’ve always seen these two songs as deeply connected - as sister songs. They were written in the same night, about the same event, and in a similar style. They are perfect foils and somehow, at the same time, they are extensions of each other. I love how these songs create a multidimensional story because love is complex and one song cannot possibly capture every side or feeling to a relationship. These two songs, while they paint a fuller picture, still don't do it justice and I’m not sure any work of art could. Love is ineffable but I hope these songs gave you some insight as to how I experience it.

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