From start to finish, Die Midwestern is an instant classic. This is an album that, not like many these days, needs to be listened to from front to back. While each song on the album can stand on its own feet proudly, the album tells the story of the stages of grief one goes through during and after a breakup. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Die Midwestern opens with “We Were Alright.” At this stage, the breakup is new, and denial is strong. The dream of being alright each night is harshly realized each morning.
If you are a longtime Arlo McKinley fan, “Bag of Pills” has been one of your favorite Arlo songs for a very long time. It’s almost as if Arlo had this album in mind long ago when he wrote it, it slides into the narrative of this album like a glove. “…I remember when you told me that I’d never be lonely, now I know you were lying.”
“Whatever You Want” covers the bargaining stage of grief after a breakup. “Whatever you want me to be than that’s what I’ll be, Wherever you want me to be, I’ll be waiting for you…I’ll gladly drown with you out at the sea.” We have all been there, don’t lie.
The first single that was released from the album, “Walking Shoes,” is a powerful song about finding light in the darkness. Discussing the song, Arlo has stated, “I wrote this song about moving forward from the things that are keeping you from being free. Freeing yourself from bad relationships, making good out of all the bad things, giving and receiving forgiveness. It’s knowing there’s something better and taking the first steps on the journey to find it.” It perfectly ends the album with acceptance.
“Most of the songs written on this record were all written within the last 3 to 4 years and it was during a very rough time in my life. I was losing friends regularly to addiction problems, I had just ended a long serious relationship and I wasn’t so sure what my own future was looking like,” Arlo recently told CincyMusic about the writing of the album. “The album is a documentation of that time period. We’ll have to wait for Die Midwestern Vol 2 to see how it all ends up, I guess.”
If you are not already a fan of Arlo McKinley, Die Midwestern will reel you into his cult fanbase just like the rest of us. Die Midwestern will be released on August 14th on John Prine’s label, Oh Boy Records. The album was produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Lucero).
Buy your ticket to the Live Stream Release of Die Midwestern on August 14th at 8p EST!