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  • Writer's picturecatecartermusic

Behind the Lyrics: "Women Always Know"

“Women Always Know” is a song I wrote out of a deep insecurity. I knew I was falling in love with someone, and I knew he was falling in love with me too, but he wasn’t allowing himself to fully fall. I was afraid that he would leave before he realized what we had, and I had this gut wrenching feeling I was right.

The phrase “Women Always Know” is a phrase my mom would say to me growing up. Usually, she was referencing cheating - women always know when their partner is being unfaithful. As I grew up, I came to understand this concept as largely true. And even broader than that, a woman’s intuition is strong and should almost always be trusted (we’ll come back to that

“almost” later).

He had left to go home for winter break (we were in college) and I was sitting alone in my room fighting with my feelings. I had a deep intuition that he would leave, and everything in me wanted to be wrong - hence the lyric from the bridge, “They say have hope cause you’re taking so long / so I’ll try to convince myself I’m wrong” - but my mom’s phrase was an intrusive thought I couldn’t ignore. “Women Always Know” was the first line of the song I wrote.

The first verse describes the physical moment as I wrote this song,

“Knots in my stomach through the sound of the rain / your one-line texts driving me insane / you feel so distant but it’s been one day / and I’m assuming you’re feeling this way.”

These were the visceral feelings and sounds in the moment and, paired with my racing anxiety thoughts, by the chorus, the song had become something else entirely,

“You might think I’m crazy but time will show / that my fears are right ‘cause women always know / might be paranoid, your thoughts moving slow / to make up your mind and women always know”

I was so angry that something so good could make me feel so bad that I produced an angry and over exaggerated song. And once I realized how catchy it was, I knew I had to capitalize on this hyperbole because I was writing a great song. Possibly the best song I have written to date.

The song is fairly self explanatory and has a clear timeline - two sleeps, two weeks, a cold New York (so winter) ending looking towards the New Year. It is me begging myself to hold on as long as I could, even with this gnawing feeling, because I knew this relationship was worth fighting for. As it is a more simple song lyrically, there is less to analyze, however there are a few things I want to note:

I mentioned that this is my first love. At this point, we had not said those words to each other,

“Deciding what you want, if you love me so / but I know what’s coming, women always know”

The thing is, that I did know that he loved me and that worsened the fear even more. That he could throw away something that had the potential to be so profound. This song is how I admitted to myself that I loved him. Prior to this song, I had taken a concerted effort never to write the phrase “I love you” into a song, because I was saving it for when I really meant it. In the very last chorus, my last pleading effort, I write,

Don’t want to hear goodbye, ‘cause I love you so / but I’ll prepare myself, women always know”

This was a huge moment for me as a songwriter - a threshold I had yet to cross - and the fact that I was ready to cross it showed me how strongly I felt.

While the song is based on true feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, and love, it largely exaggerates how angry I was, and I did that for the sake of a good song. That being said, as soon as I finished writing it, I felt immediately guilty and terrified. I was guilty for writing a song that so greatly assumed my partner’s feelings and intentions; And I was terrified that I had just put something out into the universe I could not take back. That very evening I wrote the sister song to “Women Always Know,” “Doing Life With Me.” You’ll hear this song soon, but it is my apology to him and my plea to the universe not to make my fears come true.

I mentioned the phrase “women always know” is almost always true. Well, the drama with this is that I didn’t know. I was wrong. Over a year and a half later, I live across the country with this man and our kitten. I could not be more grateful for how wrong I was, but I do stand by this song; because to a greater degree, this song is about a woman’s intuition and it can be applied to situations of unfaithfulness. I hear women constantly saying this phrase when talking about their exes and every time I hear it, the importance of this song is confirmed for me. When we were working on this song, my producer said, “What makes a great song is when someone can phrase a broad concept or feeling in a way so obvious that you feel like it must have been written before, but it hasn’t.”

This song is one of my most special pieces of art. I drove home to my parents house the morning after I wrote it and played the song for my mom. When I was done, for the first time since I was a kid she said, “Cate, this is an anthem. You know, if you really wanted to do this professionally, you have what it takes. You are good enough. You really have something special.” I knew this song was great, but the external validation pushed me to take the next step in admitting to myself I wanted a career in music.

“Women Always Know” is a song about the internal strength of women; It’s a song about fear and anxiety and love; And, it’s the song that both internally and externally validated this as my career. I am so proud of this one and I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

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