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‘Thinkin’ Bout’ by Kenny Chesney - Lyrics & Meaning

February 23, 2024 6:30 pm GMT

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Kenny Chesney - 'Thinkin’ Bout'

Label: Blue Chair Records / Warner Music Nashville

Release Date: February 23rd 2024

Album: BORN

Producers: Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney

Songwriters: Kyle Fishman & Tucker Beathard

The Background:

On February 23rd 2024, Kenny Chesney surprised fans by dropping the third song from his keenly awaited new album, BORN, a simmering take on the allure of a toxic romance, ‘Thinkin’ Bout’. It flickers with the same conflicted passion of stand-outs from Kenny's discography such as ‘You and Tequila’, ‘Anything But Mine’ and ‘Knowing You’.

It followed the release of heartwarming, full-circle ‘Take Her Home’, the lead single from BORN, in November, and the comparatively jubilant, motivational ‘Just To Say We Did’ at the start of February. The trio of ‘grat tracks’ have been billed as the perfect sampler for the album as a whole, showcasing Kenny's trademark thematic versatility, while still being unwaveringly underpinned by a sense of joi-de-vivre.

Excitingly, ‘Thinkin’ Bout’ was accompanied with the unveiling of the full tracklist for BORN, as well as the equally welcome news that the project would be arriving a week earlier than initially planned. Originally, BORN was slated for a March 29th release, but this was shifted to March 22nd, giving fans the chance to hear the thirteen new tracks seven days sooner - and it's safe to say we're not complaining.

The Sound:

‘Thinkin’ Bout’ opens with a sultry, drawn-in guitar riff which fuses sensually with the ethereal, yearning ambience of the track, before Kenny enters the fray with his charismatic vocals.

The composition intensifies powerfully as he approaches the hook, before the drum pattern becomes more definitive, mirroring the determination he builds throughout the song.

Kenny Chesney and his long-time producer, Buddy Cannon, have always ensured the production serves to enhance and complement the emotionality of the song, rather than stealing the spotlight with glitzy gimmicks and overly polished sonics.

‘Thinkin’ Bout’ epitomises this, with Kenny's vocals the primary focus throughout, and even the guitar solo towards the conclusion of the song is kept in check so as to align with the introspective, stripped-back atmosphere of the track.

The Meaning:

“This bed I'm makin' and layin' in is gettin' old
I let you in it, we heat it up then you leave it cold
I know we said that there wouldn't be any strings attached
If that's the truth, tell me why do we keep on comin' back?”

The curtain opens on the song's protagonist as he wakes up following a regretful night spent with an on-off lover. He outlines how, every time they fall back into each other's arms, she ends up leaving him feeling heartbroken and alone.

There's a clever juxtaposition between the fiery, heated passion and sparks that fly during the night, compared to the cold, unloving embers he's left with in the morning.

Kenny wonders why they both can't resist the temptation to keep allowing this to happen, as he questions whether these supposedly ‘no strings attached’ encounters actually mean more to them than they're letting on. He uses the imagery of the strings continuing to pull them back into bed with one another, so that, no matter how much they try to leave for good, they remain emotionally tied down.

“I'm fallin' in just to fall apart
Might be good for me to stop”

In the bridge, we get a satisfying play on words as Kenny Chesney contrasts the feeling of ‘falling’ in love with the sense that, the more time he spends with this woman, the more he ‘falls’ apart. It's implied that he'd be happy for these (more than) one-night-stands to turn into a fully committed relationship, but the fact that she's not willing to take this step exacerbates the protagonists’ angst.

As the song reaches its climax, Kenny flips this line to put the onus back on his lover by suggesting she too is suffering, and stressing that she too needs to play her part in ensuring they go their separate ways, crooning, “You're fallin‘ in just to fall apart”.

“Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Tryin' to make last night the last time
Instead of doin' what we always do
Oh, it ain't good we can't say, ‘Goodbye’
Easy come, easy go ain't how it goes down
Keeps me doin' what I'm doin' right now
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you”

The titular lyric glues together the sinuous chorus, as Kenny underlines his plans to ensure he no longer falls back into the habit of reigniting the transient flame between them. He sets out to start “thinkin’ ‘bout not thinkin’ ‘bout you”, a witty oxymoron.

He reiterates how the history and passion that lingers between them makes it impossible of this arrangement to be ‘easy come, easy go’. As it's clearly not going to evolve into something more concrete, Kenny resolves to leave her in his rearview.

“Don't know how not to just yet, just know I need to quit
Wreckin' my head like the sheets we keep on lyin' in
Yeah, we're still good at all we were good at when you were mine
Almost too good to remember what made us say, ‘Goodbye’”

There's a beautiful rawness to the fact that we join the story at the precise moment the protagonist decides to end things, as it means we get a sense of the uncertainty and hesitance that begins to cloud his judgement following this resolution.

He uses the metaphor of the tangled sheets that their love-making produces to convey how chaotic and disordered his thoughts feel as a result. Kenny admits how simple it is to fall back into the same rhythms and flow of their romance when it was more than just a fling. In doing so, he implies they were previously in a more committed relationship, which makes it even harder to keep things casual now.

“You know it's true, that ain't alright
Might need to spend me some time”

Touchingly, the protagonist gets candid as he again addresses his ex-lover by emphasising the toll their confusing nights of romance have been taking on him.

This leads into the hook, as he reaffirms the need to “spend me some time / Thinkin’ ‘bout not thinkin’ bout you”. The majority of the track follows Kenny as he tussles with the competing forces of his head and his heart, before the former thankfully wins out.

What has Kenny Chesney said about ‘Thinkin’ Bout’?

Ahead of the release, Kenny Chesney delved into how relatable and universally accessible the message behind ‘Thinkin’ Bout’ is, “The hardest part of letting go is actually letting go. All that chemistry, all that intimacy, all that doesn’t need to be said is such a big thing... Whatever’s wrong, obviously it’s not gonna change. But it gets late, you get thinking – and next thing you know, you’re tumbling back into something that just can’t be. I love this song, because it gets into that space where you’re thinking about knowing you shouldn’t do this, shouldn’t think about that person, and that’s when maybe the letting go can really start to happen no matter how good it feels or how much you make each other laugh”.

The eight-time Entertainer of the Year went on to underline, “There’s a space where you know what to do, but you just can’t quite... and you know. To capture that in a song when you can barely explain how it feels in real life? That’s an incredible thing, so for anyone struggling with moving on, ‘Thinkin’ Bout’ is for you”.

For the full lyrics to Kenny Chesney's ‘Thinkin’ Bout’, see below:

“This bed I'm makin' and layin' in is gettin' old
I let you in it, we heat it up then you leave it cold
I know we said that there wouldn't be any strings attached
If that's the truth, tell me why do we keep on comin' back?

I'm fallin' in just to fall apart
Might be good for me to stop

Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Tryin' to make last night the last time
Instead of doin' what we always do
Oh, it ain't good we can't say, ‘Goodbye’
Easy come, easy go ain't how it goes down
Keeps me doin' what I'm doin' right now
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you

Don't know how not to just yet, just know I need to quit
Wreckin' my head like the sheets we keep lyin' in
Yeah, we're still good at all we were good at when you were mine
Almost too good to remember what made us say, ‘Goodbye’

You know it's true, that ain't alright
Might need to spend me some time

Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Try to make last night the last time
Instead of doin' what we always do
Oh, it ain't good we can't say, ‘Goodbye’
Easy come, easy go ain't how it goes down
Keeps me doin' what I'm doin' right now
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you

You're fallin' in just to fall apart
Might be good for me to stop

Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Try to make last night the last time
Instead of doin' what we always do
Oh, it ain't good we can't say, ‘Goodbye’
Easy come, easy go ain't how it goes down
Keeps me doin' what I'm doin' right now
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you
Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you

Thinkin' 'bout not thinkin' 'bout you”

For more on Kenny Chesney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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