Behind the songs on The Green L.E.D.s debut album—Track 1
I decided pretty early on that “What’s In Store” was going to be the opening track of the album. That peppy guitar riff in the chorus had the right mix of upbeat energy and a little bit of snark that I thought was a great way to kick off the set of songs. But the pep wasn’t yet there when the idea of the song was first coming together.
The first part of “What’s in Store” I wrote was the chord progression for the verse, which I initially played a little slower and with a sort of strutting mersey beat, kind of like 45 Grave’s cover of Riboflavin. I even nicknamed the chord progression “Chicago Goth Skank” on the audio note on my phone, which is the second time I used “Chicago” to name one of my works in progress, the other being “Chicago Bar Chords” which turned out to be “Start Over Again.” Apparently going back to my non-comedy musical roots took me back to my days in Chicago when I was often going to see shows, hitting record stores, and hanging out in pre-gentrified bars.
I worked out the melodies of the verse and chorus at the slower tempo but on April 14 I wrote myself a note to “try at 176 bpm for an upbeat song, not all songs should be so plodding and pensive.” I think the song was dying for a chance to break out because once I upped the tempo it really came together. The lyrics and the basic tracks for recording flowed easily and it was clear the song would be a great way to open the album, especially with a name like “what’s in store.”
The title of the song can be looked at two ways. The first is of course talking about what’s coming up, what lies ahead. But the “store” in the title is also about record and music stores, and even more specifically the bulletin boards in those stores where local bands post flyers, musicians post notices looking for bandmates, or people post music related job listings and such.
In my early years of touring for shows, long before we had social media or the internet on our phones, I would always stop in at record and guitar stores as my first step in navigating a new town. There I could usually pick up the local music and arts indie paper to flip through and see what kind of music venues and performance spaces were around. I loved seeing the designs of the different band logos and venues—severe old English typefaces for metal bands, organic and crunchy type for hippiesh 90s bands, the inventive spelling of hip hop acts.
And back in high school record stores had a similar function, they were access points to art and music scenes that you had to go out and find. Record stores weren’t themselves the place you went to find yourself but they were places where you could find the music, bands, and shows that helped you find your place in the world. Or at least let you know there were other people out there that understood, or at least accepted you.
That quest to find your place, that hope that it’s out there, and the thrill of finding those clues as to where it might be, are all intertwined throughout this album. “It’s the hope that we’re all here for…”