Carly Pearce Opens Up About Her Latest Single ‘What He Didn’t Do’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum)

Carly Pearce released her debut album Every Little Thing back in 2017. However, it was her 2021 album 29: Written in Stone that really put her on the map. After releasing that album, her career took off. Dolly Parton invited her to join the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally, Pearce took home Female Artist of the Year at this year’s ACM Awards. “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” brought her Musical Event of the Year at the same awards show as well as a number 1 song on country radio.

In 29: Written in Stone, Carly Pearce took the pain she felt after ending her short-lived marriage with Michael Ray and turned it into art. Last month Pearce released “What He Didn’t Do” the third and final single from the album. In it, she examines the end of a relationship. However, it isn’t a sad song. Instead, it’s a song about hope, learning, and setting a higher bar for future relationships.

Carly Pearce Talks About “What He Didn’t Do”

Last month, Carly Pearce shipped “What He Didn’t Do” to country radio and took to social media to let her fans know. In the post, she talked a little about the song. “Life goes on,” Pearce wrote, “You KNOW that when you’re reeling, feeling like the fool, and so hurt. But, then there’s a moment when those emotions start to clear. That’s when you look in the mirror and you ask yourself ‘What happened?’ and try to learn from your mistakes.”

That moment, Carly Pearce said, is what inspired “What He Didn’t Do.” Then, she discussed what the song means to her. “To me, it’s really a song of hope and trying to get smarter before moving forward.”

A Closer Look at “What He Didn’t Do”

Carly Pearce co-penned this song with Ashley Gorley and Emily Shackelton, but Pearce’s pain led the way. The same could be said for her vocal delivery on the song. You can hear the pain there, but there’s also barely-subdued anger that calls back icons like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. This is especially true going into the chorus in which she lists all the things her ex didn’t do. As the song comes to a close, those things become the benchmark for what the “right one” will do.

It’s not an overly complicated song. Carly speaks her truth over a mid-tempo arrangement fleshed out by mandolin and steel guitar. The combination of simplicity and power is an example of what makes both Carly and country music so relatable.

The truth she speaks in “What He Didn’t Do” obviously resonates with fans. Right now, it’s one of her most popular tracks and boasts almost 19 million streams on Spotify alone. It won’t be a surprise to see this one climb to the top of the charts in the coming months.