Week 65: “Freeways or Flight” by Paper Lions


I often think that people would be nicer to each other if we all lived in small towns. There’s something about small communities that brings out the best in people, particularly where things like compassion and loyalty are concerned.

The band that brings this slightly idealistic thought to mind is Paper Lions. I saw them play a festival just this past July and they looked like they really enjoyed playing together. “Ah, youth,” I thought, “they must be a newly-formed band, still in the honeymoon phase. I’m sure they’ll be torn apart by creative differences soon enough.”

But a little research proved my cynical assumptions wrong; the real story is much more heartwarming. From the tiny Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, they’ve been together for 7 years. Two members are brothers, another band member grew up next door, and they met the fourth member in high school. They’ve won awards, toured the world, shared the stage with Collective Soul…not too shabby for a group of childhood friends from a village with a total population smaller than most apartment buildings.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The glockenspiel. It lends a lovely light feeling to the track.

2. The harmonies. Some bands that use vocal harmonies don’t do anything more imaginative than sing in thirds, but on this track, the backing vocalist is sometimes in unison, sometimes an octave up, sometimes in harmony, but never predictable.

3. The chorus. “I’ll be near you / When you’re broken / I’ll be open”. Every time I see a couple having a petty fight on the subway, I want to make them recite those lines to each other over and over again until they realize how silly they’re being. Or at least force them to move to a small town in Prince Edward Island.

Recommended listening activity:

Giving up a long-held grudge towards a family member.

Buy it here.