Maddie & Tae have returned with “Friends Don’t,” their first new single since signing with Mercury Nashville. The song, which details the back and forth two people often have in a budding relationship, is the first release from the duo’s upcoming concept record. In an interview with Sounds Like Nashville, Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye explain that “Friends Don’t” is the beginning of the story from their forthcoming project.
“It’s in the context of a relationship where it starts out in that are we just friends, are we going to make a move? The gray area that happens to all of us unfortunately,” Marlow explains of their sophomore album. “Then it goes into the falling in love phase, everything’s great, rainbows and butterflies, and then it goes into the heartbreak phase where the girl gets her heart broken and everything she knew is not what it is anymore.”
Maddie & Tae assure that the album will have a happy ending, explaining that the final four songs on the record will be redemptive where the girl gets her power back and puts the pieces together.
“The whole story is the good, the bad, the ugly, but the girl wins in the end,” Marlow adds. “We told our story of the past couple years through the context of a relationship.”
The duo found themselves without a label when Dot Records closed in February 2017. Much of the album has been written over the past year and reflects the struggles Maddie & Tae faced following the loss of their record label home. As Dye explains, “Friends Don’t” was written in the middle of that process in September of last year and was inspired by Marlow’s younger sister.
“My younger sister was calling me one day and telling me about this situation with this guy she was interested in but she wasn’t sure if it was a friend thing. She was like, ‘He had taken me to a couple nice restaurants and he bought me a gift,’” Marlow recalls with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Friends don’t do any of those things. That is not just a friend thing.’ They ended up dating afterward. When she called me and told me that I was like, ‘We gotta write this song!’”
Maddie & Tae penned “Friends Don’t” with Justin Ebach and Jon Nite and say they wanted to make the song as relatable and in the moment as possible, so people could insert their own story into it. They promise their sophomore album will do much of the same.