Singer and songwriter Brett Young is set to marry fiancee Taylor Mills in November, and he promises his bride will continue to be his muse. Songs from his upcoming Ticket to L.A. album should find the California native blissfully in love, long removed from the kind of heartache he sang about in "Mercy."
That song — Young's fourth hit from his self-titled debut album — is not about Taylor Mills. "It was more topical than it was specific," he says of the songwriting session. "I think I've been through that maybe six times in breakups. I was always the one who hurt the most."
His first single "Sleep Without You" and that other scorching breakup song on Brett Young definitely are about Mills. We went song by song to uncover which of the 37-year-old's songs are about the love of his life, which aren't, and which probably are but he's never said. It's got to be a little awkward, right? Getting back together and finding your story of heartbreak all over the radio?
"When you listen to that first record there's a lot of based on a true story," he says. "Me and Taylor, the way that we ended things years back, I'm so proud of us the way that we did it and the way we treated each other while we weren't together. Nobody cheated. Nobody lied. Nobody did each other wrong. It just wasn't working."
But still ...
"I'm sure it probably isn't her favorite thing to hear 'You Ain't Here to Kiss Me,' but at the same time, she was in the same place."
Let's start there.
"You Ain't Here to Kiss Me"
Young confirmed this song is inspired by a breakup with Mills, telling Taste of Country, "A little depression and a glass of whiskey goes a long way in a writers' room for me."
Young's debut single is a Taylor Mills song. He once told the Boot that while writing the hit he started to think about his last relationship, which lasted six years. "We never lived together, but we always did the goodnight phone call or text. When that becomes a habit, you find yourself restless, trying to go to sleep without the goodnight phone call or text."
Call this one a maybe. Co-writer Jesse Lee came up with the idea and told Young about a guy who kept hanging around and "wanted to be friends" after they split. It upset her, so they started down this road, with Young later attaching his own personal experiences to it.
Nope. Not about Taylor. We summarized this above, but Young and his co-writers say they wrote it in a much more general sense.
"In Case You Didn't Know"
Co-writer Trent Tomlinson had the seed for this song, telling the writing team a story about his mom saying "Trent, in case you didn't know, I love you" whenever he'd leave the house growing up. They turned that nugget into a great love song that finds a man struggling for the right words, something Young says is universal. Maybe, but is he that guy. We think this song was probably not inspired by Mills because the 37-year-old California native seems to have no trouble expressing his vulnerabilities and emotions.
Young's first single from the Ticket to L.A. album is a love song that finds a man excited to spend eternity with his lover. Yeah, that sounds pretty familiar. It'd better be about Taylor Mills.
Young's song about being in a relationship and only being able to think about an ex is vulnerable and real, and we think it's a Taylor song because of the lyric, "Ocean Boulevard still has my heart." She was his California girl, and the street is symbolic of this ex.
Nope, this isn't Taylor. Young didn't write this song from the Brett Young album.
Young told ToC that he wrote this story after being inspired by co-writer Jon Nite, whose wife stuck with him through thick and very thin. “He was trying to song write, which wasn’t making them any money," Young recalls Nite saying. "He talked about how supportive his wife was and he called her his 'beautiful believer.'”
“Because that’s their story, and not mine," he adds. "I really fought the whole time to not stray from the facts.”