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‘Next Thing You Know’ by Jordan Davis - Lyrics & Meaning

June 23, 2023 11:01 am GMT

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Jordan Davis - ‘Next Thing You Know’

Label: MCA Nashville

Release Date: February 21st 2023

Album: Bluebird Days

Producer: Paul DiGiovanni

Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Josh Osborne, Greylan James & Chase McGill

Chart Performance:

  • No. 1 on Mediabase
  • No. 3 on Country Airplay
  • No. 7 on Hot Country Songs
  • No. 28 on Billboard Hot 100

The Background:

While it may feel like Jordan Davis' stars aligned overnight at some point back in 2022, the Shreveport, Louisiana native - who's been working towards a glistening country music career for more than ten years now - would quickly dispel those rumors.

After moving to Nashville in 2012, Davis first waded into the mainstream country music waters in 2018 with the release of his debut album, Home State. The record included a standout trio of singles - ‘Singles You Up,’ ‘Take It From Me’ and ‘Slow Dance in a Parking Lot’ - the first and third of which hit the top of the Country Airplay charts for the first and second time in his still-young career.

However, Jordan Davis' meteoric rise to the forefront of the format wouldn't come until 2021, bolstered by the release of his CMA Song of the Year, 'Buy Dirt.' Teaming up with country superstar Luke Bryan, the pair took over radio dials far and wide throughout much of 2021 and 2022 as their chart-topping single racked up several nominations and a two-times Platinum certification from the RIAA.

At the beginning of 2023, the MCA Nashville recording artist took his years in-the-making momentum and put it behind his sophomore record, Bluebird Days. Featuring 'Buy Dirt,' the 17-song project shows a graduation of sorts for Davis, who spends much of the album diving into the concepts of life, love, family and faith.

The first official single off of Bluebird Days came in the form of 'What My World Spins Around,' which earned Davis his fifth No. 1. However, when the time came to ship off the next earworm song to country radio, things didn't quite go as expected.

When the conversation opened up about the next single, Davis had his eyes set on 'Tucson Too Late,' but at the same time, 'Next Thing You Know' was racking up more than 30 million streams organically and quickly solidifying itself as Davis' newest fan-favorite.

Due to this reaction, MCA Nashville sent out the circle-of-life single to country radio stations on Feb. 6, and it's quickly skyrocketed up the charts since.

With his sixth career No. 1 now in the bag, Davis and his 'Next Thing You Know' co-writers have given country fans everywhere a sweet little slice of life in just under three minutes.

The Sound:

A front-runner for the 2023 CMA Song of the Year come November, 'Next Thing You Know' defies traditional song structures, providing no true chorus, but rather, a series of verses that take listeners through a lifetime of milestones.

Cut from the same cloth as another of his career-defining singles, 'Buy Dirt,' Davis' sixth No. 1 song tells the tale of a life well-lived and all of the big moments that come with it.

From bachelor, to husband, to first-time father and beyond, Davis and his co-writers - Greylan James, Chase McGill and Josh Osborne - rip through calendars’ worth of time in the blink of an eye.

After penning the ballad in June 2022, Davis brought 'Next Thing You Know' to his trusty producer, Paul DiGiovanni, who has been the mastermind behind much of his discography over the years. Similar to its unconventional lyrical structure, DiGiovanni utilized some rather unconventional arrangements for the song when it came to recording.

Inside the studio, esteemed session guitarist, Ilya Toshinsky, played all of his acoustic guitar parts twice - one for both the left and right audio channels - adding a sonic depth heard throughout the tune. Elsewhere, lead guitarist, Derek Wells, used a mystique-inspired delay effect across all of his parts, which accentuates the weight of the already meaningful lyrics.

Capping off the unique production choices from DiGiovanni, the session drummer, Nir Z, also did some alterations before recording, including adding a synthesized talking drum and other percussive elements to fill in the gaps. Additionally, after loosening the screws on his snare drum, Nir Z actually played it with his bare hands, opening up a bongo-like sound to caress the back-end of the track.

Swelling around the would-be choruses, the stripped back production and instrumentation allows the lyrics - which are, after all, the focal point of ‘Next Thing You Know’ - to carry the song as its characters wind down a long and happy life.

The Meaning:

“You swear that you're stayin' single, next thing you know
You meet a girl at a bar and next thing you know
You get her laughin', it's 2 AM
You're tellin' your buddies three months in
That she ain't movin' in, the next thing you know
There's a U-Haul trailer, next thing you know
Your old apartment is y'all's new place
There goes the carpet but the deer head stays"

The story opens on a can't-be-tied-down man - or so he thinks - meeting a girl in a bar. While it's an extremely clichéd country trope, the song very quickly progresses to the pair of new lovers moving in together and compromising on our former bachelor's unique decorative choices - namely, a stuffed deer head wall mount.

This feels pretty spot on for Davis, who got the news of 'What My World Spins Around' going No. 1 at country radio whilst hunting in Arkansas, but this time for ducks rather than deer.

"Next thing you know
You're savin' money like never before
Just to spend it all at a jewelry store
Gettin' down on one knee on her mama's porch
Just prayin' she don't say, 'No'
Next thing you know
Your best man gives a half-drunk speech
And you're sunburned on a honeymoon beach
And your left hand's gettin' used to that ring
And there the next two or three years go
Next thing you know"

As we learn quickly through this song, time is flying fast for this pair of lovebirds, signalled by the continuous use of the song's title, which effortlessly points to a change in perspective or a jump forward in our timeline.

What started as strangers in a bar has now progressed to saving money, buying a ring and getting engaged. In the same breath, the couple is also getting married and enjoying their honeymoon, albeit with a bit of a sunburn (it happens to the best of us). We enjoy a few years of married life bliss, in the form of one line, before shooting off into the next milestone.

"You weren't really tryin', next thing you know
There's a test on the counter, next thing you know
She's standin' there cryin', noddin' her head, 'Yes'
You're half excited, half scared to death

Cause next thing you know
You're wearin' scrubs and a funny white hat
And the doctor's sayin', "How you doin' there, dad?"
And nobody's ever called you that
And you take the drive home slow
Next thing you know
It's first steps, first dates, first car
It's 11:01 wonderin' where they are
You're sayin' that USC's too far
It's amazing how fast seventeen years go
Next thing you know
Next thing you know"

Before they know it, they're expecting their first little one and nine months flash by in the blink of an eye - or in our case, just about 13 seconds.

Tackling the topic of becoming a dad, an experience that Davis had back in November of 2019 (and has since added two more tallies to), 'Next Thing You Know' speedily runs through the many firsts of a child's life, and soon checks back in as the kid is going off to college.

Keep in mind, once again, that Jordan Davis and his writers have captured seventeen years of time in a matter of 40 seconds... and we're not even done yet.

"Next thing you know
You get to know your wife again
And you're more in love than you've ever been
With a lot of years of ‘remember when’s
And still some down the road"

reviews ALBUM REVIEW • Jordan Davis - Bluebird Days

10 years and five number ones since he moved to Nashville, Davis has learned and lost enough to make a reflective second album.

What has Jordan Davis said about ‘Next Thing You Know’?

Now a foundational keystone in Jordan Davis' growing discography, 'Next Thing You Know' has earned a spot in the hearts of country music fans everywhere.

As the song draws to a conclusion, though, there is one topic that Davis cleverly avoids: death. "We're trying not to kill anybody in the song," Davis shared with Taste of Country. "It feels like it's going there... and we're trying not to do that".

After the song's release, Davis and his co-writers sat down with Billboard to discuss the song. They explained how all of these magical and pervasive puzzle pieces came together, including drawing an outline for the song's winding chapters.

"On a song like this, it felt like we needed to have a little bit of a road map before we got too far into it,” Chase McGill shared. “Fairly quickly into writing a life song, you think, ‘OK, if we spend 47 seconds of the song being 21, then we’re not going to get a lot of life in there’. So kind of delicately, you have to think about how we get [in] the really important parts and yet move time along."

Which they did masterfully.

For the full lyrics to Jordan Davis' ‘Next Thing You Know,’ see below:

“You swear that you're stayin' single, next thing you know
You meet a girl at a bar and next thing you know
You get her laughin', it's 2 AM
You're tellin' your buddies three months in
That she ain't movin' in, the next thing you know
There's a U-Haul trailer, next thing you know
Your old apartment is y'all's new place
There goes the carpet but the deer head stays

Next thing you know
You're savin' money like never before
Just to spend it all at a jewelry store
Gettin' down on one knee on her mama's porch
Just prayin' she don't say, "No"
Next thing you know
Your best man gives a half-drunk speech
And you're sunburned on a honeymoon beach
And your left hand's gettin' used to that ring
And there the next two or three years go
Next thing you know

You weren't really tryin', next thing you know
There's a test on the counter, next thing you know
She's standin' there cryin', noddin' her head, "Yes"
You're half excited, half scared to death

'Cause next thing you know
You're wearin' scrubs and a funny white hat
And the doctor's sayin', "How you doin' there, dad?"
And nobody's ever called you that
And you take the drive home slow
Next thing you know
It's first steps, first dates, first car
It's 11:01 wonderin' where they are
You're sayin' that USC's too far
It's amazing how fast seventeen years go
Next thing you know
Next thing you know

Next thing you know
You get to know your wife again
And you're more in love than you've ever been
With a lot of years of ‘remember when’s
And still some down the road

Cause next thing you know
You got a yard full of your kid's kids
And you take 'em to church, teach 'em to fish
And you tell 'em stories every chance you get
About how fast this life down here can go
Next thing you know
(Next thing you know)
Next thing you know
(Next thing you know)”

For more on Jordan Davis, see below:

Written by Lydia Farthing
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