In an interview with MTV News, Amy Lee revealed that the song is about the 2011 Tōhoku disasters in Japan: "Never Go Back was actually inspired by the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. While we were writing a bunch of music at pre-production that was going on. And I just remember, you know, we were just watching the news and looking at all these pictures on the internet, and just like... I was just inspired and feeling a lot of feelings, just of empathy and sympathy, and just sort of like 'wow, what would that be like'... you know. Putting myself in the situation in my head. Sort of accidentally I guess, when I do the thing where I go home and do my homework, and work on the lyrics. I just sort of was writing without thinking about why and after a minute I was like 'oh okay, I'm thinking about Japan, and I'm singing about Japan'. Like, why not just let this song be that story. So, it's about losing everything, you know, and about life beyond your control."
The song was chosen to be reworked on the 2017 orchestral album Synthesis. Amy explained why this song was chosen:
We were writing the song as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami was hitting Tohoku, Japan. We needed some lyrics for a very dramatic, very heavy-sounding song. Watching those images on the news, we had this empathy, so those feelings just came out of me, wondering what I would feel like in that position. The reason it’s on this album is because of its nature. That bridge piano part is one of the most dramatic classical elements in our music, and I always visualized it as a piece. To take it, accentuate it, and go all the way with that idea was really satisfying. We took that piano bridge part and used it as the intro to this new version, then allowed the orchestra to really take over, just as I always heard it in my head. It wasn’t supposed to be the first song on the album, but I realized using that one piano note was the simplest place to start. It gave the album so much room to grow, sonically and musically. And the vocal, singing from a dark place, leading to the light, was exactly the right way to start. That was a last-minute choice, instead of what we’d planned originally, using the Unraveling intro into Imaginary.
When Bring Me the Horizon released "Nihilist Blues" featuring Grimes off their sixth album amo in 2019, fans have noticed a similiarity of the vocal melody of the song to that of "Never Go Back". It is unknown if Evanescence claimed that BMTH plagiarised their song, released nine years prior. However, Evanescence acquired songwriting credits on "Nihilist Blues". It was revealed on October 2020 that Evanescence filed a lawsuit seeking copyright, which later Amy got songwriting credits on "Nihilist Blues."
BMTH commented on this fact on their song "Underground Big" off their 2019 EP:
Like, like, uh, "nihilist blues", that melody
Someone said, "Oh, that's like Evanescence"
I'm like, "Yeah, must have been"
Must have, we fuckin' subconsciously ripped it off
It's not like, I'm like not a fucking genius whatsoever
Just gettin' on and feel stuff and vibe
- Evanescence (November 20, 2017). "Each day this week we'll feature four songs off the new album...". Facebook.
- Bring Me The Horizon Ripped Off These Artists for 'amo'. June 2019.
- Listen "Nihilist Blues" here.
- Songwriting credits given on GEMA database: GEMA work no.: 21858128-001.
- "Bring Me The Horizon got sued by Evanescence, but Amy Lee was a fan so they worked together". NME. October 30, 2020.