So, here’s where I tell you why I put the tracks on Dirty Little Empire in the order that I did. When decided what order to use, I broke the tracks down into these categories:
1) Deeply Personal
2) Songs about love
3) Songs about love lost
4) Songs about Adventure
For the first category (and to start the album), I started with the song “Swingin’ Little Ditty ‘Bout a Girl I Know.” It’s a song I wrote about a lady I know, and was the first set of lyrics I’d written out of the songs on this album. So from an emotional and chronological stand point, it made sense to put this one first.
The second song is called “Flowers” and I wrote it based off of a text message my friend Jake sent his girlfriend shortly before he passed away, as a gift to her, and a tribute to him.
The third song – called “Drink Hard, Love Harder” – is about Jake’s wake. I’d written a sad, morose set of lyrics that I never planned on recording, but shortly after his wake, I decided to tweak them, make them more upbeat, more his style – focusing on the shared loss, but with a decidedly upbeat take, which was much more his style.
The fourth song, called “Desert Sun,” can fit into either the first or second category, so it make sense to put it on the border. It was written for a friend who moved across the country to be with her boyfriend, only to wind up single a short time later when he stopped caring and lost interest. It was written both to build up her confidence, and as a big middle finger to her ex.
The fifth song, “Don’t You Worry,” is about reassuring someone you love who’s having a rough go. Letting them know you’re not going anywhere, and that they mean the world to you, even if others don’t appreciate them.
The sixth song, “Burn Me to the Ground,” is about the role desire and intimacy play in a healthy relationship, about the feeling you get when you see the person you love.
Song seven is called “Bullet Shaped Hole Where My Heart Should Be,” and it the first song of the heartbreak section. It’s about that special kind of fresh hell you feel when someone blows into your life, someone you feel a strong connection with, someone you form a strong attachment too, and then before you know it, they’re gone – leaving you sad and dazed.
The eighth song is called “Bound,” and is about being bound by the memory of someone who’s no longer in your life, someone you’re still not ready to let go of, and how it affects every waking moment of your day.
The ninth song is “Be My Remedy,” and is written from the point of view of someone using one person to get over another person, and how both parties in the situation know it’ll never work, but they don’t know how to break the cycle of falling back into the same mistake.
Song ten is called “Hope Dies Slowly,” and is about how love and lust can destroy you in an instant, but hope lingers and buries itself into your heart and brain.
The eleventh song, “Fire in My Veins,” is about sometimes, people come into your life that you feel an immediate, visceral connection with, and then before you know it, that feeling and connection are gone.
The twelve song is “Warm Breeze Blowin’ Tonight,” is the first of the adventure themed songs, and it’s about running away with someone you love to get away from the pain you’re both feeling, and just going where the wind takes you.
Lucky number thirteen is called “Sweet Little Sister,” and is also about running away, but with your best friend (I find it weird how mixed gender friendship is never really written about in music and wanted to write a song about it), not to get away from pain, but just to see new things and have new experiences with your best friend.
The last song on the album doesn’t fit into any of the categories, really. It’s called “Dirty Little Empire,” and is a love letter to my favorite dive bar. It’s where I’ve met some of my favorite people, it’s where I get to talk with like minded creative people, and it’s where I like to end my night when I’m out. If you ever find yourself in downtown Fargo, stop in. You’ll love it.