ThePlain White T's new album release has been looming over the heads of their fans for some time now. Their new EP Should've Gone to Bed has provided some relief, but there is still a desperate thirst for these guys that needs to be quenched. Earlier this week, we streamed the premiere of an exclusive Plain White T's rooftop performance on our Roku channel. Faithful fans tuned in to watch in droves, clocking in at a record breaking (for us) 13,000 viewers. Obviously they are still a powerhouse act, and a successful record release is imminent.
So, without further ado, we are pleased to share the full session video with Plain White T's loyal fans who were not able to tune in via Roku. Watch and listen as they bust out a few new tracks including "The Giving Tree," and "Should've Gone to Bed." They also discuss their inspirations and influences, banter about song writing techniques, and throw us all a bone and played everyone's favorite "Hey There Delilah."
because, I mean, I think we both write songs on acoustic guitars. So, they, you know, whenever we do something like this, it feels natural because that's the way we're used to hearing the song. The way we write, I think it's very much based on just the melodies and the lyrics. So you don't need much to convey that idea or to, you know, put that song across. I only miss you at midnight When that lonely clock strikes That's when I wish you were here The angel knows it's not right But the devil's in my heart tonight Whisperin' things in my ear So I down my cup And then I hit you up Sayin' stupid stuff I should have just gone to bed I should have never called you I should have listened to my head When it said leave it alone No, a few drinks in Here I go missin' you again God only knows what I said I should have just gone to bed Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah I should have just gone to bed All day long I'm over you Never really think of you I keep you out of my head But some nights when I'm strikin' out You're all I can think about I just got to have you again So I down my cup And then I hit you up Sayin' way too much I should have just gone to bed I should have never called you I should have listened to my head When it said leave it alone No, a few drinks in Here I go missin' you again God only knows what I said I should have just gone to bed I should have turned the lights out I should have called it a night You should have never picked up my phone call If you're not sleepin' here tonight I should have just gone to bed I should have never called you I should have listened to my head When it said leave it I should have just gone to bed I should have never called you I should have listened to my head When it said leave it alone No, a few drinks in Here I go missin' you again God only knows what I said I should have just gone to bed Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah I should have just gone to bed Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah I should have gone to bed "Should Have Gone to Bed" and the title track is the current single, "Should Have Gone to Bed. " And that's all about me, you know, making stupid decisions in that midnight hour after going out with some buddies, having a few drinks, and, you know, not having the balls to go up and talk to any girls, so I end up turning to my phone and, you know, sending out some text messages that I definitely shouldn't. And when they go unanswered, which they usually do, then I feel like a dumb ass and that's what I wrote "Should Have Gone to Bed" about. The difference between a Tom and Tim song... - I kinda figured it'd be like a-- - --"I'm a good song writer. " - No, I love your songs, man. difference is. I think we both kind of write from the same perspective. You know, we both write very personal songs. Well, you know, I think, you know, I think the main difference would be our influences. - Yeah. I tend to be a little bit more pop leaning with the stuff I listen to and, you know, you're more into kind of the classic americana, Tom Petty kind of stuff. difference. I think we both, you know... - Write from the heart. songs. I mean, it's not like a competition, but, yeah, when Tim is turning in great songs that just makes me inspired to write, you know, write more and try to, you know, just better myself and my songs. - Right. I mean, we're always tryin' to push the band forward and grow as artists. And I think it's kinda healthy, 'cause, like you said, we come from different perspectives at times and we're both experiencing different things in life. And so, you know, we're always, it's not like we're trying to one up each other, but, you know, if he turns in something that I think has reached a different caliber, then I'm like, "OK. Well, I'm not gonna get a cut on this record unless I write something that's of equal or better caliber. " All the leaves on the giving tree have fallen No shade to crawl in Underneath I've got scars from a pocket knife where you carved Your heart into me If all you wanted was love Why would you use me up Cut me down, build a boat, and sail away When I all I wanted to be Was your giving tree Settle down, build a home, and make you happy Well, I lie in the dead of night and I wonder Whose covers you're between And it's sad layin' in his bed You feel hollow So you crawl home Back to me If all you wanted was love Why would you use me up Cut me down, build a boat, and sail away When all I wanted to be Was your giving tree Settle down, build a home, and make you happy Well, I see a trail that starts A line of broken hearts behind you That leads you back to me The once sad and lonely fool With nothing left but roots to show If all you wanted was love Why would you use me up Cut me down, build a boat, and sail away When all I wanted to be Was your giving tree Settle down, build a home, and make you happy Settle down, build a home, and make you happy on the EP that, man, I think I, it's not like I was at a low place when I wrote that song, but I definitely experienced something that really brought me back to a place where I was feeling really decimated. And, you know, I was in a relationship where, you know, I felt like, you know, if you know the book and you know the story, it's about one person being the giver constantly and one person always being used. And I think that it struck me as a really solid metaphor for the relationship I had been in. works, is that the tree is happy, you know. thing to draw from that book is that, you know, one person gives so selflessly and is always pleased to make the other person happy until the very, very end when there is absolutely nothing left. And then it says, you know, "And the tree was happy, " but not really. - I think somehow we've, you know, by writing songs that are so personal to us, I feel like a lot of people go through the same things in life, of course. So they hear our story and they relate it to their own lives and they connect to it. And I don't know, I wish there was a formula that we knew how to do it every time, you know. It's just sometimes you write a song that hits people. Hey there, Delilah What's it like in New York City I'm a thousand miles away But girl tonight you look so pretty Yes you do Time Square can't shine as bright as you I swear it's true Hey there, Delilah Don't you worry about the distance I'm right there if you get lonely Give this song another listen And close your eyes Listen to my voice It's my disguise I'm by your side Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me What you do to me Hey there, Delilah I know times are gettin' harder Just believe me girl Someday I'll pay my bills with this guitar We'll have it good We'll have the life we knew we would My word is good Hey there, Delilah I've got so much left to say If every simple song I wrote to you Would take your breath away I'd write it all Even more in love with me, you'd fall We'd have it all Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me A thousand miles seem pretty far But they got planes, and trains, and cars I'd walk to you if I had no other way Our friends will all make fun of us But we'll just laugh along because We know that none of them have felt this way Delilah, I can promise you By the time we get through The world will never, ever be the same And you're to blame Hey there, Delilah You be good Don't you miss me Two more years and you'll be done with school I'll be makin' history like I do And you'll know it's all because of you We can do whatever we want to Hey there, Delilah, here's to you This one's for you Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me Oh, it's what you do to me What you do to me - Well, my relationship with the song "Hey There Delilah" is pretty similar to my real relationship with Delilah. Hasn't changed much. Still never got the girl. And I still love the song. I think it's great. I still love playin' it, especially live, you know, playin' that song, it's obviously a crowd favorite. So getting to feel that vibe in the room of the crowd loving it, singing along, I mean, you can't beat that. So I still love that song. And the girl, you know, it's the one that got away, or ran away, I should say, 'cause she's a Olympic hopeful steeplechase runner. Yeah. So she's good at runnin'. - That's why you'll never catch her, man. - I know. - "Rhythm of Love, " yeah, was a single off our last record. - That was one, like Tim was sayin', when he turned that in, I was like, "Aw, man. He did it. " - Rats. - Yep. - Yeah. I mean, similar to "Delilah", that was a song written to impress a girl and let her know. You know, I feel like, you know, I grew up writing poems and stuff for girls before I could figure out how to play the guitar. And, you know, you spend enough time to craft a song and you think, you know, "This is the best way for me to tell you how I feel about you. " And that way, you don't just bumble through your lines when you're in front of them. And in a similar fashion to "Delilah, " I played it for her and she was like, "I love it, " and that was it. back to her boyfriend. My head is stuck in the clouds She begs me to come down Says "Boy, quit foolin' around" I told her I love the view from up here Warm sun and wind in my ear We'll watch the world from above As it turns to the rhythm of love We may only have tonight But 'til the morning sun your mine All mine Play the music low And sway to the rhythm of love Well, my heart beats like a drum A guitar stringed to the strum A beautiful song to be sung Well she's got blue eyes, deep like the sea That roll back when she's laughin' at me She rises up like the tide The moment her lips meet mine We may only have tonight But 'til the morning sun you're mine All mine Play the music low And sway to the rhythm of love And when the moon is low We can dance in slow motion And all your tears will subside All your tears will dry And long after I've gone You'll still be hummin' along And I will keep you in my mind The way you make love so fine We may only have tonight But 'til the morning sun you're mine All mine Play the music low And sway to the rhythm of love Play the music low And sway to the rhythm of love Yeah, sway to the rhythm of love - I mean, you write the song for yourself and then, you know, you pass it on and you really hope that the general public just loves it as much as you did when you wrote it down. So... - Yeah. I mean, the goal is always to connect. You know, in any art, whether it's you make a movie or a painting, you have something to say and you hope that people enjoy that and can feel something from it. And it's the same thing with the songs that we write. So we just always hope that what we put out, you know, means something to people. It's the coolest thing when we hear somebody say, "Oh, we used your song at our wedding, " or, you know, things like that. Like, wow, people are, their most special day of their lives, they're choosing to put our songs as the soundtrack to that. You know, I mean, that's success. That's actually meaning something to people.
Time and space didn't necessarily bend, but The Plain White T's certainly found what might be an alternate reality on their eighth full-length offering and return to Fearless Records, Parallel Universe. Of course, the band's endlessly hummable signature melodies still shine at the center of this galaxy, but their Universe morphed into an otherworldly atmosphere of ethereal electronic pop strengthened by lush guitar tones and synth transmissions.
Questions most definitely will arise...
Is it human or robot? Is it of this world or isn't it? Was it born in 1980 or 2020?
Either way, frontman Tom Higgenson assures, "It's The T's."
"But it's also kind of not," he grins. "It goes right along with the sound we've had for twenty years, but it's a little bit different. It's what you know, but it's fresh at the same time. That's why Parallel Universe was such a perfect title. To be honest, this is the first record where we were like, 'Fuck whatever we were or people might think we are. This is what we love right now.' We didn't have to compete with anybody but ourselves. We just decided to make the best music we possibly could."
Given their accomplishments to date, it might seem like a tall order. Since emerging in 1997, the GRAMMY Award-nominated multiplatinum Chicago quintetHiggenson [vocals], Tim Lopez [lead guitar, vocals], Dave Tirio [rhythm guitar], Mike Retondo [bass], and De'Mar Hamilton [drums]has amassed an enduring, engaging, and enigmatic catalog, spanning two gold-certified offerings All That We Needed (2005) and Every Second Counts (2006) and unshakable anthems such as the double-platinum "1,2,3,4" and platinum "Rhythm of Love." Among the discography, "Hey There Delilah" went quadruple-platinum, topped the Billboard Hot 100, and earned a pair of 2008 GRAMMY Award nominations in the categories of "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal."
Along the way, the five-piece logged countless miles on the road in front of sold out crowds in nearly every corner of the globe. After a whirlwind tour cycle supporting 2015's American Nights, the guys hunkered down and began writing the ideas that would eventually comprise Parallel Universe.
Following successful 2017 writing sessions in Nashville with longtime collaborator Chris Tompkins [Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line] and new friend Brandon Day [Big & Rich], Tom and Tim decided to rejoin Day in Malibu, CA for a follow-up which sparked an undeniable chemistry and led to five songs being written in five days.
The first single "Your Body" illuminates said chemistry. Fusing minimal glitchy blips, lithe guitars, and an unshakable hook, it cracks open the album's world for the group as Tom croons, "I don't know no body, like I know your body."
"A lot of the songs look at love and life from a different perspective," he elaborates. "This one is about a girl who I probably know more than anybody else on the whole planet, yet we're not really together. When I see her dating other dudes, I chuckle in my head, because I know this guy won't know her like I know her. I'm the reigning champion of her love life. I don't know anyone's body like I know hers. It's a clever lyrical take."
The effervescent "Light Up The Room" proves bright and brilliant with its danceable grooves and massive refrain. "Musically, it's something we haven't done," says Tom. "Lyrically, it hints at a sci-fi theme. It's got that line, 'Wearing rings like she was Saturn.' It's really vivid."
"Bury Me" tempers warm production and a hypnotic harmony for what he describes as, "the most romantic song here...but it's a little twisted. Is it bury me in blankets? Is it bury me sexually into you? Is it bury me because you lose yourself when you love someone?"
Then, there's "Call Me." It hinges on stacked future-facing beats and a wild drop before giving way to the lovelorn question, "When you gonna call me?"
"I dated this girl briefly in Malibu," he recalls. "It was a very healthy, yet unhealthy love-fast, burn-out hard thing. I channeled that feeling."
The vocoder-driven "End of the World" shuffles into a funky verse highlighted by lyrics like, "I found Jesus the other day, he was eating hamburgers in a Chevrolet"inspired by a brilliant, yet undiscovered A&R mind...
"That was my eight-year-old son's idea," laughs Tom. "Before I left to Malibu, I asked him what to write about. He thought for a second and said, 'Jesus,' before adding, 'Hamburgers.' My mom told me he'd been talking about it all week, so she asked if I'd written it yet. I was like, 'No, what the hell kind of song is that going to be?' Turns out, it was one of my favorites! The last day, I grabbed my acoustic guitar, and it just happened. Some lines related to the state of the world, but it's a really beautiful moment for all of us on the album."
In the end, those kinds of moments define Parallel Universe. For as much as it might look a little different, it's The Plain White T's through and through.
"We set out to create something that made us happy, and we did," Tom leaves off. "We didn't worry about expectations. We just did something different. We shook everything up. Not everything has to be a pretty Instagram filter. We weren't afraid to get raw for the first time. The Plain White T's mean everything to me. With the new record, I'm as stoked as I was 15 years ago when we first started putting out records." - Rick Florino, April 2018