This song was inspired by a bad childhood memory of vocalist Matthew Shultz. He recalled to Billboard magazine: "When I was 12, a girl from my neighborhood was murdered. She was my little brother [Jeremy's] girlfriend. We were all playing that day, and they went to go get some change for a drink, so we got split up. Later we found out she had been kidnapped. It was the most traumatic experience of our lives." "In 'Sweetie Little Jean,' I use that story as an analogy. When someone suffers from really deep depression, sometimes it's like they've been abducted. And so I imagined searching all around the house for this person, but all you can find is trails of tears."
The song came together easily but in a strange fashion. Shultz recalled to HMV.com: "I was just falling asleep one night and I started hearing the melody for it. I was hesitant at first because my phone was downstairs so I had to get out of bed to record it, but I did and the next day I wrote the lyrics. I know this sounds crazy but it felt like that song was enhanced by a fit of synaesthesia while sleeping. I get seeing this green lunging light with that synth sound. Trying to explain that to the guys in studio was pretty hilarious."
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