Fallen Empires

Album: Fallen Empires (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • Alternative-Rock band Snow Patrol's sixth album, Fallen Empires, finds their frontman and chief songwriter Gary Lightbody at his most reflective, with songs written about his family and childhood. He told The Sun: "Family, friends, past and future and so many people I've met along the way have inspired this record. I've realized that you've got to make your home with the people you're with rather than the place you are because in a band you're rarely in the same place. I've had some sort of epiphany and realized at the age of 35 that I've got to be more content with the roguish life."
  • Fallen Empires had a long gestation period as Lightbody experienced writer's block on three different occasions. It was R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, who helped him through the last time in October 2010. Lightbody recalled to The Sun: "I'd try to write but was frantic. It's like pulling a thread of bulls--t out of your head and then you write a lot of rubbish and then clarity ascends. But I couldn't find any clarity and then just had to stop trying. It became a very dark time for me. Even the thought of trying to write made me feel like I was about to have a panic attack.

    I started phoning people because I was at the end of my tether. Then Michael Stipe came to the studio to listen to some of the songs I'd already done and he loved them. He gave me such a boost of confidence. I managed to get to the heart of the matter - that this record is about home, the empire of childhood and the naivety of falling into adulthood and forgetting how blissful it is as a kid. Once I got to that I could write again."
  • This track has a very Spanish guitar rhythm to it. Guitarist Nathan Connolly was able to express himself more on Fallen Empires than on previous albums. "This time round I felt confident enough to be really creative when it came to recording my own parts," he said. "We also tried to record differently. I used to write my parts and play them along to Gary's songs. This time Garret ('Jacknife' Lee, producer) would just play the song and say 'Go'. I'd improvise. I had to think on my feet, and it worked."

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