It’s never going to be easy trying to sum up outgrowing silly romances in just one song, because boy, I bet we all have a bag of stories to tell. But in “Been There Before,” Shaylen perfectly tells us the kind of guys she’s done dating.
“Twenty-three-year-old me would have slipped my number / To your “Live fast” knuckle tattoos,” she sings, remembering how she used to fall for the type of guy who’s now making a move on her. “Tucked my hand next to the dip in your left back pocket / On the way up to your one-bedroom.”
The thing is, Shaylen’s not trying to be unfair to the new guy, it’s just that she’s simply “been there before.”“If I let those baby blues kiss me what comes next is no mystery based on my history,” she sings in the pre-chorus, going on to predict the things he’ll likely do, like “takе my coat to pretend you’re a gentleman.”
Shaylen is determined not to fall for this “deja vu,” she’s well past the age to do so and she’s had her experiences to guide her. They say New Year’s signals new beginnings, and in a way, Shaylen’s song is all about that. “Been There Before” is her moving on from the same old boys that break her heart and cause her pain. Come on, she’s “been there before” and it wasn’t favorable, why should she want to go back? As she sings, “You’re a heartbreak in leather.”
The country track comes complete with pop and rock elements, and while I love the gentle start to the song and the transition to the heavier instrumental during the choruses, I have a little bit of complaint about the way the choruses’ accompanying beat sounds. I feel like it’s a bit heavier for it. Olivia Rodrigo pulled off these transitions multiple times because she compensates by adding more power to her vocals, sort of like being frustrated and just letting loose. There wasn’t much frustration in Shaylen’s voice to compensate for the instrumental’s increased intensity, so it felt off. All in all, I’ve been a fan since her “Forgive Myself” days and this is one track I’m looking forward to overplaying.
Speaking on the song, Shaylen says: “I finally got to write the dating anthem for my early 20s. It was an incredible day working with some of my faves – Baylis, Michael and Nick are some of my favorite humans ever and creating this song with them was so fun. We literally just talked about all the crazy dating scenarios you go through as a girl in her early 20s and got to put it in one song. And that’s on healing toxic patterns baby!”