Published Jun 17, 2020Protest the Hero are set to deliver anticipated new album Palimpsest this week, and if the flag on its cover art is any indication, much of the album conceptually revolves around the United States of America and its history. Now, frontman Rody Walker has expanded on the effort's message in a new interview.
Speaking with Loudwire, Walker recalled how writing for Palimpsest began not long after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. "All the MAGA hats were out in full force and all sorts of stuff like that," he explained. "And I started thinking about the definition of greatness."
Walker explained how "the greatness of America that the rest of the world views as its tragic flaw. And I wanted to discuss that aspect of things, but I also wanted to discuss the greatness that we actually view as America's greatness. Because...there's an incredible history. And I wanted to discuss both the negative and the positive and identify what I personally find the greatness to be."
For instance, first single "The Canary" is written about Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, while "From the Sky" concerns the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. A song Walker highlights with particular parallels to the present day is "The Fireside."
"My wife was editing the lyrics to that when this all started, like the pandemic, and everyone started taking more seriously all the shutdowns and stuff like that," the vocalist said of the song. "And it's talking about the fireside chats during the Second World War, when the president [Franklin D. Roosevelt] came over the radio and spoke to everyone on a daily basis...she's going, 'This is kind of fucked up. It seems like it was written yesterday about today.' It's supposed to be about the Great Depression, so when it's as general as that, I guess you could apply it to our current times."
As a Canadian writing about American history, Walker "definitely attempted to approach this as carefully as possible," while admitting, "there's only a few ways you can call out the specific history of a country with kid gloves." But he isn't concerned about potentially alienating listeners of any political lean.
"Honestly, even if that happened — good," Walker said. "If we got a bunch of [the] super right-wing, alternative conservative element that are listening to our band thinking everything's hunky dory, it's not hunky dory. I don't want those people listening to our music anyways. They can kick rocks as far as I'm concerned. Fuck 'em."
Read Walker's entire interview here.
Palimpsest will officially arrive tomorrow (June 18) and follows Protest the Hero's 2013 album Volition. The effort is now available for pre-order.