What's Real

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[Digital Download]

Track 6 from Plaid On Flannel's 2016 EP Rising Above

Produced, mixed and mastered by Ruben Huizenga

Personnel includes:
Nolan Randall (Vocals/Guitars)
Jen Doyon (Keyboards/Vocals)
Les Cassling (Bass)
Minas Hatzigiannatzoglou (Drums/Percussion)

Words and music by Nolan Randall

Take home everything you wanted
And see where it will go
Moral codes are never haunted
As far as you will know

Places to remind us of what's real
First you lie, and then you try to steal
Try to hide, there's nothing to conceal
Places to remind us of what's real

You wake up from a dream you had
And realized so well
Life is an illusion of bad
You've come to break the spell

Places to remind us of what's real
Every scar in time is gonna heal
Dream about your life if it's ideal
Places to remind us of what's real

All the obscure things you've seen now
Are what's expected here
Place a bet on things you allow
And never shed a tear

Places to remind us of what's real
First you lie and then you try to steal
Dream about your life if it's ideal
Places to remind us of what's real

© Copyright 2016 Plaid On Flannel

*Song Description By Noles*

Certain songs are more than appropriate to close out albums. And "What's Real" is the final song on both Mission Of Mercy and the Rising Above EP from Plaid On Flannel. It just has the feel of an album coda. A final chapter to complete the album listening experience. I wrote the music for "What's Real" on July 11, 2012. The arpeggiated guitar riff was influenced by the styles of both Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. The guitar riff for "Heart Shaped Box" by Nirvana was the initial inspiration for the guitar riff in "What's Real". While implementing the arpeggiated guitar style of Peter Buck from R.E.M. Which he's known for. The chord progressions in both the verses and choruses use some changes in sequences that complement the melodies of the song.

The lyrics for "What's Real" were written on July 25, 2012. The song is basically about dreams. Not so much dreams of aspiration, but the actual dreams we have while we're sleeping. And the feeling we get immediately after we wake up from them. I've always been fascinated with dreams, and I read a book on dreams when I was a little kid. I learned a lot about dreams from that book. Such as how to avoid nightmares. I haven't had a nightmare since I read that book.

I started recording the Mission Of Mercy version of "What's Real" on December 7, 2012. The song originally had lyrics for a bridge. But I couldn't figure out the melodic structure behind those lyrics, so I turned that bridge into a guitar solo. The Mission Of Mercy rendition of "What's Real" uses a variety of layered backup vocal harmonies in the choruses, bridge and 2nd guitar riff. I finished this version of "What's Real" on December 20, 2012, and the entire Mission Of Mercy album was released on May 20, 2013.

After I moved to Toronto from Peterborough in September of 2013, the Plaid On Flannel band started on February 15, 2014 as a 3-piece group. "What's Real" was part of the first batch of my original songs that I brought to the band. We played it regularly at our live shows going forward. The next year, keyboardist Jen Doyon joined Plaid On Flannel on February 22, 2015. Her organ sound for "What's Real" provided the colour and flavour the song needed for the band. While encapsulating the minor-based feel of the tune. Here's a live version of Plaid On Flannel performing "What's Real" at Roundhouse Park in Toronto for Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival on August 8, 2015... https://youtu.be/opsNw2V-kTI

As a band, we made sure to include "What's Real" on our Rising Above EP which we began recording on November 28, 2015. Jen Doyon's backup vocals in the choruses of "What's Real" bring out the song's personality. Drummer Minas Hatzigiannatzoglou stayed true to the rim shots during the guitar riffs and the 16th notes on the hi-hat during the bridge/guitar solo. I added a wah pedal for the closing guitar solo of "What's Real" to cap off the song.

"What's Real" is probably the most grunge-like song from the Plaidalog because of it's melancholic character. Grunge music of the 1990s is known to be closely associated with melancholy. When I wrote the tune, I was intending on writing a grunge song. Because the subject matter and musical atmosphere of grunge deals with "what's real". Although I always intend on writing real music, the style of "What's Real" is a 180 from the expression of the music I normally write. As the main source of inspiration in my music is generally thoughts of hope and optimism. "What's Real" is a song I also perform solo on acoustic, and I believe it will be in POF's live arsenal of songs for a long time.