Jude Grant, a talented artist hailing from Chicago, presents a captivating concept album with ‘The Real Thing’. This musical journey delves into the stark contrast between the glamorous highs and the mundane realities of everyday life. Grant, who himself works as a barista in his hometown of Long Grove, IL, explores the notion of finding contentment amidst the disparity between dreams and the practicalities of existence.
The album’s title, ‘The Real Thing’, carries a dual meaning that unfolds throughout the record. The titular song delves into the emotions of embracing love after a series of disappointments, surrendering to “the real thing”. However, when that relationship unexpectedly crumbles, “the real thing” takes on a new significance – accepting the truth that not all lives culminate in a grand symphony of love or success. Yet, within this acceptance, there is still solace and fulfilment to be found.
‘Long Grove’, the penultimate track, pays homage to this sentiment, drawing inspiration from the famous Swedish pop song ‘Stockholm i natt’ by Peter Jöback. Grant once dreamed of living in Stockholm, and ‘Long Grove’ becomes a heartfelt tribute to the idea of accepting one’s reality and finding contentment in unexpected places.
To reinforce the theme of embracing reality, ‘The Real Thing’ boasts entirely organic instrumentation and sampling. Synths, drum machines, and synthetic vocal effects are purposefully absent from the album’s sonic landscape. Instead, Grant incorporates an array of foley sounds, including the whir of bike wheels, clinking chain link fences, the bustling activity of a film crew, the exhilaration of cliff-jumping, the haunting presence of lighthouses, the echoes within a sea cave, and the innocent laughter of babies. These sonic elements add depth and texture to the musical experience, creating an immersive environment for listeners.
Grant’s skills as a songwriter, producer, and engineer shine throughout the album. The tracks on ‘The Real Thing’ effortlessly blend together, forming a cohesive narrative that captivates from start to finish. Each song explores the complexities of human emotions with a profound and introspective approach, drawing listeners into Grant’s world.
‘The Real Thing’ is a thought-provoking and deeply personal album that showcases Jude Grant’s artistic prowess. With its sincere exploration of the disparity between dreams and reality, this record resonates with authenticity and offers a poignant reminder that contentment can be found in embracing life’s twists and turns.