By Denver-Rose Harmon, Contributing Writer
Up-and-coming artist Shawn Richard’s newest single, “I Don’t Wanna Go There” shines a light on his talent as a lyricist. Shawn is from New Brunswick, Canada, but has a big Nashville sound to his music and his previous two singles have an upbeat, dancing quality to them.
But “I Don’t Wanna Go There” is a slow ballad that evokes exhaustion, heartbreak, and depression. While the surface-level focus is a relationship, Shawn has made it clear that it is also about mental health.
“I wrote this song a number of years ago and it has taken on a couple of different meanings, and has served a couple different purposes,” Shawn explains. “It’s about hardships in a relationship and trying so hard to see the good in a situation but not knowing if that’s enough. It’s also helped me through depression as it expresses how I feel about the world during those times.”
He continues, “The lyrics ‘I don’t wanna say I’m sorry, say I love you, I just wanna be quiet’ and ‘I don’t wanna go there, I don’t wanna make you cry’ are both very deep feelings I’ve had when battling depression.”
As someone familiar with that battle, I had an immediate connection to this song. The line “if trying’s all we do, then tell me what’s the use” particularly captures the feeling of being in the throes of depression and lacking the energy to try.
I had the opportunity to reach out to Shawn about my personal connection to the song. “I have a close friend who is battling depression right now and one night it hit me, this song has helped me express my feelings toward my battle in the past and I wanted to understand if it would reach other people in the way it reached me. So I showed them, and it did,” he said.
This song has the potential to reach many others who have felt this way and after a year like 2020, there are more people than ever who can relate.
I appreciate “I Don’t Wanna Go There” even more within the context of Shawn’s last two singles. These songs chronicle the same relationship, one that took the singer from happy and in love with “All My Tomorrows” to escaping after things turned south on “Right Side of Wrong.”
While this third part was written years ago, it had a crucial role in getting Shawn through those relationship woes. In Shawn’s words, “It has helped me in years past, and now it has helped me get through the last year of multiple ups and downs, including the obvious pandemic we are currently in.”
A driving drumbeat and bright guitar on the verses lead to a soaring, woeful chorus centering around Shawn’s vocals. The hook is an ear worm that will have listeners crooning “I don’t wanna go there / I don’t wanna make you cry” to themselves throughout the day. Shawn has created a beautiful and sorrowful song to end the year with.