“The label really loved this song, and they were like, ‘This is quintessential Lee Brice,’ ” he notes. “This song is the most Lee Brice song, probably, on the whole record — it’s not like I disagreed with them at all. In fact, this song was 100% in my mind going to be a single. I just wasn’t necessarily thinking it was going to be the single after ‘One of Them Girls.'”

The bones of “Memory I Don’t Mess With” hail not from the beach, but from a studio in Brice’s Middle Tennessee farmhouse with a panoramic view of a cornfield. He had finished writing another song, likely in 2018, and as he and co-writer Brian Davis (“One Hell of an Amen”) packed up,  Davis dropped an undeveloped idea on Brice. In just a few minutes, they expanded that basic hook into a whole chorus with an easy-going rhyme scheme.

“He didn’t tell me the title,” recalls Brice. “He just [sang], ‘A memory I don’t mess with,’ and that’s all he had. I [added], ‘Obsessed with,’ you know, ‘the best with.’ I mean, it was really that quickly the chorus came together.”

They made a work tape that captured the chorus and created a musical bed for potential verses, using the same chord structure. Then it sat for roughly a year, though Brice kept gravitating toward it. When he listened to new songs, particularly on airplane flights, he invariably played “Memory” again, even though it was incomplete.

“It was just a broke-down, kind of crap work tape, but it had the groove and it had that melody and it had that chorus,” he says.

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