If you’re a fan of thoughtful political commentary in the form of folk music, you need to listen to Planes on Paper’s new song “Television.” If you’ve ever read my coverage of them in the past, you know I’m a huge fan. This song is more of the same in one regard, but at the same time it takes a simpler direction. While the music is not as complex as some of their other string-backed tracks, the message hits like a ton of bricks. It put me in mind of last year’s Joe Purdy album that I loved so much.
We took some time to digitally “sit down with” Navid Eliot of Planes on Paper for him to answer this handful of questions about their new project:
1) What inspired the song “Television” for you?
I think it’s safe to say we are not living in the golden age of debate. We’ve all been witness to a pretty stunning communication breakdown between parties that disagree, in The US, at least. Watching the clever dialogue of disagreement our parents’ generation had on TV, replaced by the kind of idiotic name-calling and misinforming we have currently has been sad. More than anything, it reminded us of a squabbling couple who has long ceased trying to work out their differences, in favor of insulting each other to feel like they “won,” the argument.
2) The vocal harmonies are particularly evocative. Did you pattern them after anyone? Or is it the sound that has evolved for you?
We try pretty hard to have our harmony game be our own. In a lot of cases, I’d say Jen’s harmonies are more shaped by the tone of the lyrics than anything else.
3) The song has an evident political message. Who do you think needs to hear this message?
I think everyone should hear some variation of this message. Not that I think everyone is equally responsible for the communication breakdown we find ourselves in… but I do think honestly it’s going to take some compromise for us to learn how to speak to each other in a productive way again. Those TV pundits are going to have to start putting truth ahead of sensationalism too, and I think we have to hold them to that standard.
4) Is this song part of a larger album release or EP? If so, when can we look forward to hearing the rest?
Just a single and a B side for now… We are very excited for people to hear the rest of this record, we’re just figuring out the details of how best to get it out there. In the meantime, we are doing a West Coast and East Coast tour promoting the release of Television and if folks make it out to the shows, they’ll get to hear the rest of that album live. Our tour schedule is at www.planesonpaper.com/tour