[Photo: Tyler Miles]
Los Angeles indie-pop band PJKTS (pronounced Paper Jackets) just released a brand new full-length record on Friday, February 10, and today they’ve offered a breakdown of each of its 14 tracks exclusively for our readers.
Follow us below as vocalist James Mason offers some insight to the record. You can also stream PJKTS in full following the track-by-track to experience what Mason refers to in his notes.
“Heart Is Yours”
“Heart Is Yours” along with “Electric Blue Eyes” and “Chandelier” were the last songs written and recorded for the album. They are especially cool because they hatched right through the most difficult and trying times. I had just arrived in Los Angeles and was barely piecing together the money, job, and band members it would take to make releasing this album a success. I wrote “Heart Is Yours” in a completely empty one bedroom apartment which, while lonely, added a natural reverb and an exciting element to the creative process.
This was Ethan’s favorite song to produce and now that I think of it, it’s everyone in the band’s first favorite song to play. It has a natural energy that seems effortless. Most choruses are reaching for something—not to say this one isn’t—but it’s like the kid in school who shows up late to ace the test; no homework or preparation needed.
“A Thousand Years”
“A Thousand Years” falls into a category of its own on this record. It’s very rare but every once in a while drinking and songwriting go together. Some will argue they go together more often than not. For me, it’s never my best work—however, this song seemed to dabble in dark corners in order to balance out the light. It’s either your favorite or your least liked song on the record.
“Cali-state” as we call it has a special place in our hearts. It’s funky, hip, indie, fresh and its intro could be mistaken for porno music, so some have said. It’s a proud single on the record and garners attention every time it’s performed.
This is the very first song written for the record. It dates back to 2013. Wow, we’re so old! Believe it or not this song was initially presented as a folk song with stripped-down acoustic guitar parts reminiscent of the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. Our producer, Ethan Kaufmann, had a much different vision for the song and we send him thank you cards weekly.
Everyone loves the Beach Boys and Frankie Valli but there are many great artists of that era. Some know him as the guy who murdered Lana Clarkson but I always think of Phil Spector as being one of the great contributors to songs like “Knife Fight.” Multi-layered and stacked high, this track influenced from that period is a fun one.
“Three For The Show”
This song has the most swag on the record. With its urban-esque vibe, it commands the attention of an audience who’s looking for fun over fame, living in the moment over planning your lifetime.
This hopeless romantic turned musical number absorbs those feelings from your 8th grade past—relishing in the days of love notes, making out in cars, and thinking you have your whole life figured out, but when you find out your high school sweetheart is going away to college all you want is for them to stay.
“Electric Blue Eyes”
This song is about pretty girls with eyes that can cut through souls. Well, maybe that’s what you think until you realize looks can be deceiving. I think everyone should be loved but some people are in it just for sport. This thrill killer with hearts in jars is no different than the next; no shame just playing the game.
This song is about my friend’s girlfriend from 12 years ago. We used to party a lot. Scary, crazy, awful, fun times.
“Place In The Water”
We enjoy playing this song live and it’s hands down people’s favorite to listen to. It’s like those “statement” sunglasses you keep wearing around town: People either tell you how bad-ass you look or say nothing because they aren’t brave enough to try a new look of their own.
This song speaks to that listener who’s all grown up and doesn’t believe in love or magic anymore. I also had the craziest experience with a friend’s family member where I was staying while recording this part of the record. She was convinced the government was listening to our conversations. I kind of started thinking, “What if they were listening to this song? What if they think it sucks?”
This song is about breaking your teeth on the road and embracing every aspect of being in a band who’s driven to succeed, knowing that most bands won’t. [It’s] kind of a bummer.
This song is about the history of my family’s home. I grew up in a very historic part of the country in Loudon, Virginia. You get a vibe from old houses and this song captures that vibe. Weird subject matter, but it keeps the album interesting.