New York

Album: Fallen Empires (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody struggled with writer's block when penning Fallen Empires. Speaking to Q magazine, the singer explained how a chance meeting with R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe at a Californian studio rejuvenated his writing process. He recalled, "I couldn't even write my name on a cheque. It was that bad at the time ... (Stipe arriving at the studio) was amazing because the first song I ever played live was R.E.M.'s 'Find the River' at a school concert."

    Although Stipe's input was minimal, it was enough to inspire Lightbody to rediscover his muse. He recalled, "Michael just made a few suggestions here and there. On a track called 'New York' there was a line, 'Your face has never left me.' He said, 'That sounds like you've got a girl's head in your bag.' So we changed that."
  • Lightbody explained the story behind this piano ballad: "I always try to write about personal experiences - 'New York' is about a girl I was seeing over there. We both had strong feelings for one another, but we were never in the same place at the same time. It's about missed opportunities."
  • Lightbody penned this song with Snow Patrol pianist Johnny McDaid in his London studio.
  • Canadian musician Owen Pallett, who has also worked with Arcade Fire and Duran Duran did the song's orchestral arrangement. Lightbody told Billboard magazine: "We were having so much trouble with it trying to get the arrangement but he came in and saved our asses."

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