“First world problems” are frustrations that afflict only the privileged. As an educated, white, middle-class male from suburban New Jersey, I’ve always led a fairly comfortable life. With my basic needs fulfilled, like many of my peers I wanted something more; so I searched for meaning through art. And thus arose the particular first world problem that inspired these 11 songs: the desire for artistic recognition and fame, seemingly so accessible in the age of social media, and yet as elusive as ever.

Beneath its pop melodies, new wave synths, programmed beats, and stacked vocals, First World Problems asks, in shifting registers of truth, fiction and irony: What is it that makes an artist crave the spotlight? Why am I not satisfied with creating in private? Am I motivated by narcissism? Insecurity? A desire to prove myself to those who once slighted me? And why should anyone care about what I have to say?