"I was curious what they would do with the record," said Warren of the song, which appears on Swift's new re-recorded album, '1989 (Taylor's Version)'
The "Karma" singer released 1989 (Taylor's Version) on Friday, and the project contains five "From the Vault" tracks including "Say Don't Go," which the pop superstar cowrote with Warren — who's penned classics like Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time."
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Warren, 67, opened up about branching out of her usual solo writing style to sit down with Swift, 33, and craft the breakup ballad "from scratch."
At the time, she wondered why "Say Don't Go" wasn't featured on the original 1989 track list. "Everything has its time, you know? It took a while to see the light of day, but I’m glad it finally did," said Warren. "It was worth the wait."
The songwriter recalled Swift being "very particular about how she said certain things" while working on the lyrics, thinking about her listeners every step of the way: "She’s deeply aware of how her fans want to hear something. I can’t explain it, but that’s probably why she’s the biggest f---ing star in the world."
The song's lyrics find Swift looking to a doomed relationship and hoping it doesn't end. "Why'd you have to lead me on? / Why’d you have to twist the knife? / Walk away and leave me bleedin’, bleedin'? / Why’d you whisper in the dark? / Just to leave me in the night? / Now your silence has me screamin', screamin' / Say, 'Don't go,'" she sings on its refrain.
"Say Don't Go" was written toward the end of 2013, and Swift recorded a demo of the song on New Year's Day 2014 alongside Warren in the studio. Many people wouldn't want to work on a holiday, but the "Lavender Haze" performer was committed to the song.
"I’m a workaholic, and that’s fine for me," Warren told RS. "But I remember being impressed that she did, too. Everybody’s on vacation, but she showed up."
As with most songwriting sessions, Warren walked away unsure if the song would see the light of day. "I was curious what they would do with the record," she said, later noting that she was informed of its release on Thursday evening and went outside to give the track — coproduced by Swift and Jack Antonoff — a listen.
"I said, ‘Oh my God, this is f---ing awesome,'" said Warren. "It was such a surprise to me that the record version was as good as it was. You know what? I hope they release this as a single because I think it’s a f---ing hit."
Swift posted to Instagram to celebrate the release, opening up about how much the album and revisiting it means to her in the caption.
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"I was born in 1989, reinvented for the first time in 2014, and a part of me was reclaimed in 2023 with the re-release of this album I love so dearly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the magic would you sprinkle on my life for so long," the "Karma" singer wrote.
"This moment is a reflection of the woods we've wandered through and all this love between us still glowing in the darkest dark," added Swift. "I present to you, with gratitude and wild wonder, my version of 1989. It's been waiting for you."
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