"Hotel Empire" is meant to be the turning point of the album, arc wise. The songs that come before it are women trying unsuccessfully to be good, and the songs that follow are women trying unsuccessfully to be bad. I had originally intended there to be another song called "Final Girl" that would bridge these two mindsets, but it was going to compare losing one's virginity to the final showdown of a horror movie and to be perfectly honest my first time wasn't that interesting.
"Hotel Empire" is inspired by Hitchcock, specifically Vertigo. It's a retelling of the film's plot line from the heroine's point of view with a few very large artistic liberties. A significant amount of my own experience is woven into the lyrics; this song serves as the conclusion of a relationship that winds through all of my albums thus far. Wanna hear a tiny musical? It goes Muse/Poor Leander/True Believers/Lady Of The Court/Hideous Adorable/Better Off My Way and this one.
Roughly, the story of Vertigo concerns a man (Jimmy Stewart, in peak Jimmy Stewart mode) who falls in love with a woman who dies halfway through the film. He spends the second half trying to turn a different woman into the love he lost, only to discover that they were the same woman all along. She sincerely loves him, but their whole relationship was an elaborate set up. This...did not happen to me. However, it did resonate with me in that I was once a woman who allowed her life to be dictated by the feelings of men. The repeated refrain of "go on, go on, I said I'm fine" is the mantra of so many women who are told again and again that to feel is wrong, to stand up for yourself is aggressive, and to raise your voice even slightly is "crazy".
My friend Jenny, who is very wise, once told me that "girls are crazy, but it's not our fault". Now don't get me wrong, I've heard plenty of stories of women doing some really fucked up shit to their boyfriends. But I think it's important to note that a lot of women are driven "crazy" by the fact that we're told constantly that our feelings don't matter or aren't real. We squash our thoughts and opinions down for as long as we can, playing the Good Girl until eventually, inevitably, we snap.
I didn't snap quite as bad as the character in the song. In the movie Jimmy Stewart's character chases his girlfriend to the top of a bell tower where she falls to her death, in my version she drags him down with her. When I snapped, I drunkenly told a young man who I had loved for many years that I "didn't even recognize" him anymore. I had swallowed my feelings for and about him for years, foolishly believing that keeping him in my life was worth the pain he caused me. He blustered away in a rage, leaving me to weep on the street for hours over everything I thought I had lost. I didn't contact him again after that. I have run into him at a few parties, and each time he looks panicked at the sight of me, as if he fears I might harm him. I'm confident that he tells his friends I am crazy.
Go on. I said I'm fine.