Living in America

Album: A Hero's Death (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • This song originated as a big jam with frontman Grian Chatten blurting out lyrics. At one point he exclaimed "Living in America!" before comparing it to his current home city of London where he lives with his fiancée. Chatten explained the titular phrase came from his viewing of the documentary Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown.

    "He's off his head, and they're asking him about being charged with assault or something," he explained to Stereogram. "And he just goes 'Living in America!' It's terrifying, you know? He's got this big grin and he goes, 'There's nothing wrong.'"

    Chatten added that the scene remained in his subconscious. "The hysteria of the music that was going on around me in the practice room, that just came out," he said. "That's a really nice area to play in lyrically, that kind of Pixies - they're saying something that's so ridiculous that it can't possibly be taken seriously, but it requires seriousness."
  • When Fontaines D.C. started jamming the song everyone was encouraged to play whatever they wanted. They all played in different tempos and keys, resulting in a complete lack of form and shape. Guitarist Carlos O'Connell got frustrated. "There was no harmony to the song or anything in the beginning," he said, "and eventually we found that way of introducing harmony halfway through the song and to allow the song to resolve in some sort of way at the end. To go somewhere else."
  • A Hero's Death is more produced and atmospheric than Fontaines' debut album Dogrel. This song is a case in point. Bassist Conor Deegan told Mojo magazine: "For 'Living In America,' we were thinking about a really noisy city with the romance bubbling underneath the night-time clang of cars and buses and crosswalks and people chattering and shouting. Trying to get a kind of seediness, or mystery, where you don't know quite what's going on."

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