During the writing and recording of Boys and Girls in America, Hold Steady songwriter Craig Finn told Rolling Stone magazine that he had been "thinking a lot about depression, and the relationship between depression and creativity. Certainly there's been any number of artists that have done both."
This song came from Finn's awareness of getting out of a darker place and starting to take better care of himself. He explained: "There was this transition period, where I wondered, 'Wait a minute! This is going to be awful if I get in shape and lose my creativity."
This was ranked #11 on Pitchfork's list of the top 100 songs of 2006.
Boys and Girls in America took its title from part of a line from Jack Kerouac's 1957 beat generation novel On The Road. Finn explained to Billboard magazine: "The line goes, 'Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.' Basically, the songs are about guys and girls, and love. It's not a concept-type record like the last one - it's more of a theme record."
The album title is sung during the opening lines of this song:
"There are nights when I think that Sal Paradise was right.
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together."
Sal Paradise is the narrator in Kerouac's On the Road novel.
The Boys and Girls in America album was written by Craig Finn when he was getting a divorce. He told Spin magazine: "There's huge amounts of failure that I felt at that time."