premiere: yaya bey finds beauty in flaws in the “paterson plank” video

July 22, 2020

There’s beauty in imperfection and character in what might be considered flaws. Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn-based singer Yaya Bey knows this. Her song, ‘Paterson Plank’ and its accompanying video—an Arthur Jafa-inspired collage of imagery cobbled together from quarantine-era Instagram story clips and home videos—are evidence of the beauty that can come from serendipitous accidents. “‘Paterson Plank’ is sort of a spooky song because the recording is a complete accident, Bey says via email.  “We ended up releasing the reference track because the mistakes sounded cool. Even the talking in the background happened because we were accidentally recorded while bouncing the reference track. That’s why it’s unmixed because we couldn’t recreate the accidents.”

In a way, the recorded song is a metaphor for the imperfect relationship that inspired it: “When I wrote ‘Paterson Plank,’ I had just come home from work and decided to write and record the song in my roommate’s room as a way to vent. I was arguing via text with my ex all day and kept thinking ‘Wow, I love this person so much but I literally don’t know how to love them properly and they don’t know how to love me.’ And I was sad, but also the love was still there warm in my chest. It’s conflicting but valid.

Yaya Bey’s latest release, Madison Tapes is available everywhere now.