Despite being devastated, Ritter went through with the remainder of his fall tour. When he returned home to Brooklyn, he did what always came naturally: he started writing songs. But it took time for Ritter to start feeling good about what he was writing.
“When I first started writing, I was real anguished,” he said. “I wrote for blood. I wrote for real vengeance. And that stuff was just terrible. It was not good. It was badly written.”
But it didn’t take long before Ritter started to see his mood improve and some phrases and words that felt like lyrics began to emerge.
“A little bit of time went by, just a little bit, a few months, and suddenly a few little ideas and phrases started sprouting up,” Ritter said. “Even the season changed a little bit, as far as not being winter all of the time. It started to become spring a little bit. Even those little things made a difference. I stopped feeling quite like a caged rat, and I started to look up and look around and see the friends I had and those things.”
As time went on Ritter’s songs changed. The ones that were written first, like ‘Nightmares,’ ‘New Lover’ and ‘Evil Eye,’ come out of a very angry period. Then the songs turn more mournful, he said. Over time, those sad emotions softened further and even some songs of hope and forgiveness emerged — including “Joy To You Baby” and “Lights,” the two songs that end “The Beast In Its Tracks.”
“Having that time to write and to think really made those songs better, I feel,” Ritter said. “They made them more honest.”
What also helped Ritter to arrive at a lyrical tone that felt right was meeting a new girlfriend, author Haley Tanner, who understood what he was going through.