Patty Griffin's father died in 2009, and many of the tracks on American Kid find the singer trying to make sense of the absence of his physical presence. This song, for instance, finds Griffin imagining a carefree afterworld. "It occurred to me that there's another way to look at this besides my own grief, which is: They're OK. They don't have to pay bills anymore-no taxes!" she told Billboard magazine with a laugh.
This is a very uplifting and positive song written from the point of view of someone who has just lost a loved one. In this case, it was Griffin's father, and as he was very close to her, it sparked a lot of emotions on this album. Griffin has said that American Kid is solely dedicated to the memory of her father.
It is a song in which she imagines what heaven would be like - a carefree world, with no more bills to pay or having to go to war. She uses this song as a way of letting her father go, recognizing that he must be in a better place by now. Writing the album was a way for Griffin to reconcile all the things she wanted to ask her dad, but never got the chance to.
Interesting how a song that's supposed to be more uplifting than sad can change when it's used a certain way. It's a beautiful song and used so expertly in last night's episode as Sam & Dean build Charlie's funeral pyre and remember moments with her. I hope she is in a better place now...though I'm sure she'd be saddened by the direction Dean has taken. :(