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Track By Tracks: Eric Francis - Under A Fake Sky (2020)

1. Metamorphosis:

This first track depicts my mindset immediately before the pandemic occurred. I was at a high point in my life: newly married, finishing up a college degree for a career change, and interning at a recording studio. During this change, I found myself spending less time in the digital world in favor of living life, making personal connections, and being in nature. This song references my personal growth, as well as my frustration with how technology has become a crutch; we’re always constantly chasing the high of imaginary internet points instead of living our lives. While it does not reference the pandemic specifically, I believe that it is an appropriate beginning for this album because it shows where I was when this all began. I also think the irony is poetic; what I considered a crutch a few months ago is now essential for survival.

2. Duality:

This track references the song Singularity from my first album, Dreamstate. The lyrics, “we had the answer all along” refer to the line from Singularity, “someone will find the answer if there is one.” While the message of the song is intentionally vague, it alludes to the idea of self-discovery and making sense of things that were once completely incomprehensible.

3. Secret Weapon:

This song is my message to the billionaires and politicians who have used COVID-19 as a means for profit or personal gain. Over the last six months, many people have shown their true colors as the monsters they really are, willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone to serve themselves. This song captures only a small fraction of the rage I feel towards these people, and I could probably write an entire album on that topic alone.

4. Sanctuary:

This song is about being in quarantine. I wrote this song early on, and the mindset I had back then was so different than where I’m at now. Remember a few centuries ago when we thought quarantine would only last 2 weeks? A fun fact about this song: I was inspired to write this song by dissecting and repurposing an unreleased song of the same name I wrote over a decade ago. The intro of this song references the old version, but the rest of the song has changed drastically. Another fun fact: my wife loved this song so much when I was writing it that she requested to sing on it. You can hear her harmonies in the second chorus. If you want to hear her featured more prominently, check out the acoustic version of “Guardians of the Sky” on my album “A Closer Look.”  
5. Under a Fake Sky:

This is the title track of the album. I actually had the name of the album and the artwork finished before I wrote this song, and I decided to write a song with the same name. The lyrics refer to using media, such as video games and books, as an escape from the harsh realities of life. As an amateur video game designer myself, I understand the importance of fantasy worlds. I have incredible amounts of respect for writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and Stan Lee who created worlds so in-depth that generations of people could get lost in them. Fun fact: the last lines of the song, “Are you ready for something new? We’re going places that we’ve never been before” is actually a message directly from me to the listener of the album (if you’re listening to the album in order). This refers to my acquisition of an 8-string guitar and how the next song and remainder of the album are performed on an 8-string, which is something I have never done before.

6. Recurring Failure:

Recurring Failure tells the story of the frustration that comes with having your endeavors fail. Over the course of my life so far I've had multiple career changes and experienced a lot of burned bridges. Some of the best moments in my life have been followed almost immediately by the worst. Most recently, as depicted in Metamorphosis, I was on the verge of a major breakthrough. Instead, COVID-19 t-boned all of my plans and left me stuck at home. However, I refuse to give up. In these troubling times I’ve been writing my best work yet, and I will find a way.

7. Flashback:

An instrumental interlude, this track musically references the song Drawn to White from my second album, A Perfect Moment. This alludes to the experience of reliving the past as a method of coping during these troubling times.

8. The Optimist:

This song was inspired by me being told that I need to remain positive and look on the bright side of things. What bright side? How can I remain positive when hundreds of thousands of people are dead and our economy is in ruins? And yet, it’s true. If you don’t try to find something positive to cling to, you’ll lose your mind. This was the last song I finished on the album, and it’s a musical direction I’m interested in pursuing further.

9. Blackout:

This song is about the struggle of dealing with mental health issues in quarantine. So many of the typical outlets that people use to cope with their personal demons have been compromised by COVID-19. I’ve always considered the battle with depression to be like climbing out of a canyon, and every bit of progress requires massive effort. And when you slip, you can fall all the way back down.

10. Dead End:

For a few months now, I’ve had a nagging sense of doom that pops up in the back of my mind occasionally. A (mostly) irrational fear that everything that we’re doing to quell the virus is worthless, we’re only delaying the inevitable, and we’re all going to die from it sooner or later. I have to consciously convince myself that I’m being unreasonable, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if we can’t see it. Dead End is the embodiment of this internal dialogue.

11. End of an Era:

The final track leaves the album’s story on a cliffhanger. While writing these songs has brought me much comfort, nothing in my life has changed, and the world is still bleak for millions of people. I felt there was no other appropriate ending. After all, where do we go from here?

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