Clay Joule’s latest single is not only a musically coherent and compelling piece of composition, but it also handles a highly original concept that never even crossed my mind before, and does so lovingly and organically, for a final result that’s honest and thought-provoking, next to being musically rich.
Inspired by the Chinese ‘White Paper Movement’, in which the country’s repressive Covid lockdown restrictions ultimately caused more damage than that prevented, when it led masses down to protest their stolen freedoms, the Secauses, NJ-based Clay Joule wrote this single, titled Realm, to celebrate governments all around the world, that managed to deal with that devastating humane crisis with tact and intelligence, maintaining the people’s sense of freedom, and inducing atmospheres of national solidarity, which was witnessed in countless touching clips from many of the world’s worst-hit countries, like Italians collectively singing from their balconies across the street, or the French doing the same thing but with dancing instead. This original concept, which provides a rare instance of governments being viewed in a positive light in music, was eye-opening, touching, and thought-provoking.
The backing music, far from being the core focus of the song, is still tasteful and rich. Grand piano chords pave the way for a throbbing synth bass rhythm, a serene and soaring string arrangement, harrowing, airy pads, and a minimal drum line that mainly plays a militaristic marsh on the snare. The dramatic and emotional chord progressions are fitting and appropriately spaced, providing apt depth to the arrangement, along with Joule’s intimate and untreated vocal delivery, which sounds relatable and touching. The crowning jewel is unquestionably the prominent inclusion of bagpipes. Symbolizing the grandeur of those highly intelligent and patriotic authorities, the bagpipes are a delightful addition that gives this song a flair that sets it even further apart from all its peers.
We have on our hands a song that praises governments, with a lot of bagpipes, and it’s brilliant and sweet, and if that is not left-field, then I do not what could possibly be.