Asylum

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[Digital Download]

Track 16 from Plaid On Flannel's 2013 album Vol. II: Mission Of Mercy

Performed and produced by Nolan Randall

Mixed and mastered by Hector Viola

Words and music by Nolan Randall

An enemy is not your friend
Not someone you trust
Deeper as you carry on
You're runnin' out of luck
Ever wonder if they saw you?
Not a chance you'll know
Thinking of what you know best
To go is not for show

How can I rely on what was said?
Crazy episode goin' through my head
Seeking what you thought was all unsaid
Maybe it was something you misread

Matters to articulate
To comprehend your thoughts
Not too many sacred paths to reconnect the dots
Far beyond the stratosphere, feeling overflown
A casual associate, feeling so unknown

How can I rely on what was said?
Crazy episode goin' through my head
Seeking what you thought was all unsaid
Maybe it was something you misread

An asylum will anticipate
An asylum will participate
An asylum will recriminate
An asylum will evaluate

© Copyright 2013 Plaid On Flannel

*Song Description By Noles*

In the summer of 2012, I was on quite on a songwriting run. Writing all kinds of songs in preparation for Plaid On Flannel's sophomore album. Towards the end of the summer, I set out to write heavier tunes that I could play with a rock and roll band in the future. On August 29, 2012, I wrote the music for "Competition", "Emergency", and "Asylum". Songs that would come to define the Plaid On Flannel sound on 2013's Mission Of Mercy. "Emergency" and "Asylum" both have the low string of the guitar tuned down to drop-D. "Competition" and "Asylum" have similar sounding guitar riffs. But both riffs are in different contexts and keys. These 2 songs basically worked side by side through the writing and recording process for the Mission Of Mercy album.

The lyrics for "Asylum" were written on January 20, 2013. The original title of the tune was "Feeling Devious". But what I had written didn't work for this specific song. Given the nature of the tune's aggressive sound, it needed to have provocative subject matter with convincing lyrics. Despite having a different musical style, I drew inspiration from the lyrics in Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" from his 1985 album No Jacket Required. What most people don't realize is that song is about being confined to a mental institution. Even though I knew there was already a tune called "Asylum" by Supertramp from their 1974 album Crime Of The Century, I called my song "Asylum" as well. With the lyrics I compiled for "Asylum", you might say there was an influence from the book One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. I also like the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson. The lyrics for "Asylum" tap into a craziness we all experience one time or another in different degrees.

I started recording "Asylum" on February 5, 2013. The guitar riff in "Asylum" is in the Dm pentatonic scale. With some blue notes added to the mix. There's a groove in the verses of "Asylum" that has lots of low end through the bass guitar mixing with the main electric guitar. The lead vocals in these verses start off in a lower register to match the feeling of the song's initial groove. The choruses and bridge of "Asylum" are then sung in a higher register to magnify the intensity of those sections in the tune. "Asylum" has a touch of keyboard throughout the song in the form of organ. This organ can be heard at the very beginning of all of the verses. But it is further displayed in the tune's choruses and bridge. The final outro guitar riff in "Asylum" is accompanied by organ, occasionally harmonizing with the guitar riff.

"Asylum" features a lot of lead guitar. These leads can not only be heard after the intro guitar riff leading into the 1st verse, but also within the 3rd, 4th, and 5th guitar riffs of the song. The final verse of "Asylum" has a lead guitar playing in unison with the verse's melody. This was a trick I used a lot while recording the Mission Of Mercy album. "Asylum" has choruses that use shaker as percussion. The shaker almost has a "flicking" sound to it. Designed to illustrate the agitation of the psychological distress within the lyrics of "Asylum". Shaker is the only percussion instrument used in the tune. There are no backup vocals at all in "Asylum", which is a rarity in the Plaidalog. If I were to cite any band as an influence for "Asylum", it would be Black Sabbath.

The recording of "Asylum" was completed on February 12, 2013, and the entire Mission Of Mercy album was released on May 20, 2013. I've never played "Asylum" with a band, but it's worth trying out with some personnel in the future. It just might find it's way into Plaid On Flannel's live repertoire of songs in the future.