“Massive Nights” is a second song that sounds upbeat while actually being devastatingly sad. It contrasts the surface joy of youthful partying, but there’s this underlying secondary story that suggests that things are really kind of awful. Specifically, the final lyric of the song (which is not resolved by the stirring chorus) is:
She had the gun in her mouth.
She was shooting up at her dreams.
When the chaperone said that we’d been crowned the king and the queen.
There are a couple of other little references to this alternate storyline during the song (the chaperone busts them for dancing too close and then later tells him its time for him to leave). I don’t think I have to explain why this is sort of a horrifying end to a song about how awesome it was to be a teenager.
The rest of the lyrics are about the sorts of things you’d expect in a nostalgic song about how awesome it is to be young. The boys go on a liquor run, there’s no fights (despite the fact that there’s “usually one or two”), they make out in the back of a car, and everyone acts pretty cool. Except, you know, for the fact that the girl blows her brains out at the end.
With all that said, you’d be forgiven if you just wanted to party out to this song, because it is a huge, joyous anthem. That ends with suicide.
Oh, Craig Finn, how you toy with my emotions!