This romantic song is the first single from Travis' ninth studio album. It was inspired by frontman Fran Healy's habit of daydreaming. He told Apple Music: "In all my school reports, it would always say, 'Francis is a nice guy, but he tends to dream.' In the beginning, I'm just looking at the window and not really in the class. I'm quite happy in my little dream, maybe sometimes more than being in the present. But I think we all have that in common. It takes us away from all of our earthly problems. It turned out beautiful, and it was the first song of this album."
This was Travis' first new music since the release of their 2016 album, Everything At Once. It also finds Healy returning to his post as the band's primary songwriter.
"Piano Man" was inspired by Billy Joel's time playing at a piano bar in Los Angeles. The "real estate novelist" was a guy who always talked about writing a book, but spent all his spare time in the bar.