Arlo McKinley returned on Wednesday with “To Die For”, the sophomore single from his upcoming album, This Mess We’re In. The Cincinnati, OH singer-songwriter’s follow-up to Die Midwestern, his acclaimed 2020 debut, is due out on July 15th via John Prine‘s Oh Boy Records.

This Mess We’re In is a record of redemption, and “To Die For” turns McKinley’s scope outward. Our societal guilt surrounding war and desolation is examined amidst roaring organ passages as McKinley takes us to where “The streets forever stained with our blood / In a town where dreams surely come to die.”

“I’m private with a lot of things I go through, but in my songs, I’m honest about everything,” McKinley said of the new album. “So I started to write as a way of getting stuff out. To me, This Mess We’re In is a growth record. I was navigating through a pretty bad time, but also there was the realization that it’s time to really change. My last album was me figuring out whether to stay or go from a very confused spot in my life. This one is trying to better myself—as a musician, as a human being, as a friend. I hope listeners can identify with the things they’re too ashamed to talk about or feel. There’s such a stigma that goes along with things like addiction and mental health. I just want them to know that I go through all of that too. At least for the 47 minutes of the album, you can remove yourself from the world and just let everything disappear for a bit.”

Related: Sturgill Simpson, John Prine, Tyler Childers, More To Appear On John Anderson Tribute Album [Video]

Check out the lyric video for the new Arlo McKinley single, “To Die For”, and click here to pre-order This Mess We’re In. McKinley is gearing up for months of concerts that will take him on his first European tour in addition to festival spots at Bristol Rhythm & RootsHoxeyville, and more, as well as plenty of headlining dates. See below for a full list of tour dates, and visit his website for tickets.

Arlo McKinley – “To Die For” (Lyric Video)

“To Die For” Lyrics

We buried all our guns in the ground
And destroyed all the evidence
Knew that they’d be bringing hell down on us
For us, bringing hell down on them

We watched as they chose to ignore
The changing of the guard and the sound
We were few but we were ready for war
A war, to burn this place to the ground

And it breaks my heart to think about
We will never be the same again
Here I’ve been still trying to figure me out
When I should have been worried about them

We knew that we were going to fight
A fight we knew that we wouldn’t win
To stand with those who believe
By my side by their side
Was worth our death in the end

From now until the end of time
The streets forever stained with our blood
In a town where dreams surely come to die
Every time the lights shine
Yeah they’ll be thinking of us

And it breaks my heart to think about
We will never be the same again
Here I’ve been still trying to figure me out
When I should have been worried about them

I remember when you sat me down
Held on to every word that you said to me
You were spitting selfish lies from your mouth
Now I’m older and grown and know they don’t mean a thing

And it breaks my heart to think about
We will never be the same again
Here I’ve been still trying to figure me out
When I should have been worried about them

And it breaks my heart to think about
We will never be the same again
Here I’ve been still trying to figure me out
When I should have been worried about them

View Lyrics