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The Story Behind The Song (The Real World)



Subtitled: “Love, Hate & the White Whale”


Since its creation in 2007, “The Real World” has been my songwriting equivalent of a white whale.
Guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with the song.
•    The “love” part has to do with the essence of the song….the lyrical message & my vision of how the finished version was supposed to sound.
•    The “hate” part is simple. I was never able to achieve that sound. Try as I might, I could never produce a version that lived up to my original expectations.


Unfortunately, white whales are something that songwriters encounter from time-to-time. That one finished product that’s never quite right.

You can allow it to swallow up huge chunks of your creative time & energy, or you can decide in advance how far you’re willing to chase the whale. 

For me, the chase has been a long, sporadic one. I’ve spent more time than I probably should have, but spread it out over a number of years.

Alternative arrangements, additional editing, rebalancing tracks & remixing have all been explored in past attempts.

In 2012, I re-recorded 100% of the vocal tracks. When it was all said and done, it still fell short of my expectations.


On more than one occasion, I swore I was done with it for good! 
Inevitably, I’d talk myself into just one more attempt.


For the past several years, there hasn’t been a version of this song available online. 
I was tired of being dissatisfied, had plenty of other material & was tired of thinking about it.

Then it happened….that nagging thought in the back of my mind telling me that one more time might make the difference. 

So I went to work on it again, incorporated a number of fresh ideas.


I finished it up last week. (April 2016) Only time will tell if this is the "final version", but I certainly hope so.
I can tell you this....it’s the closest I’ve come to what I originally intended.

So, with any luck….I’ve slain my musical white whale!


Production Notes
Recording, editing & mixing were done with a *PortaStudio 2488….a 24 track Tascam system. (*rear-center, photo below)



Performance Credits
•    Guitars, Bass, Organ, Piano – Tom Hoffman
•    Vocals – Tom Hoffman




Since I was a child, I’ve been hopin’ to find 
Something that I’ve always had here in my mind
A niche, a place, a group, a time that lets me see
The world, the way I always thought, that it could be
A fair & honest world, a kind of Promised Land
The one, as children, we believed was close at hand
But instead, what I get is the real world
Cold & hard, it’s the let’s make a deal world
Fairness lives in fairy tales in the real world


Growin’ up, I learned about things wrong & right
Good & bad, no in-between, just black & white
Cut & dried, no shades of gray, all absolutes
No compromising of beliefs, no subtle truths
Older now, I look around & see a place
Built on rules I never learned, but have to face
Once again, what I get is the real world
Watch your back in the let’s make a deal world
Things are rarely what they seem in the real world


Life’s one never-ending surprise
Each day’s a lesson that opens my eyes
Watching, imitating success
Hearing what’s said, but learning what’s best


Now-a-days I view the world through cynic’s eyes
Skeptical, but hopin’ that I’ll be surprised
Still lookin’ for a niche, a place, a group, a time
The image of a better world, still in my mind
Mostly though, what I get is the real world
Suck it up in the let’s make a deal world
Still I hope for better days in the real world
Copyright 2007- Tom Hoffman


You Tube Video Version (*includes full song) - https://youtu.be/IOYcgVdICbs


Tom Hoffman

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The Story Behind The Song


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