Behind the songs of The Green L.E.D.s debut—Track 11
Let It Run is one of the first two songs I wrote when I started working on this album and I wrote it right after Show Me Something Else in March of 2021. I wanted to try to write something upbeat and optimistic to balance out the pensive mid-tempo vibes of “Something Else,” and for the first few days the working title was simply “upbeat” or “uplift.” As the basic tracks came together I knew it had to be the closing song on the album, it had a driving energy that would get me to stand up even when just listening back to rough mixes. I wanted that to be the lasting impression as people went off into the world.
I also think this is a perfect song for a running playlist, so if you’re looking for new tracks for your workout mix this is a great candidate. It’s about moving forward and trying to push through to something better, about being determined to keep trying (seriously, add it to your playlists, it helps the algorithmic faeries show the song to more people!). Funnily enough though, the word “run” in the title doesn’t refer to exercise, it’s about computer programs.
Mixing early 80s musical influences with thoughts of optimism and hope somehow got me thinking about my first computers and playing around with the BASIC programming language. It was exciting to try to learn what could be done, I played around with simple games, tried to design fun screen visuals, and was always trying to figure out how to do more. The way learning a new language can make you dream of travel to other parts of the world, experimenting with my Timex Sinclair and Atari 800XLs helped me learn what computers could do and got me dreaming of the future.
And speaking of retro technology, the intro to this track features a very weird piece of vintage gear, The Ludwig Phase II Guitar Synthesizer, which makes weird phasing and “yoy-yoy” sounds. I bought it from my friend and neighbor when I was a teenager and held onto it all these years mostly because it has lots of cool looking lights and switches. I really wanted to use it somewhere on the album and I think it creates a happy and otherworldly soundscape leading into this track.
Let It Run is one of only a couple of tracks that have an acoustic guitar anchoring the mix (the other being I Ain’t Gonna Play That) and I think it really drives the chorus, especially in the break after the bridge. It’s also the highest vocal part on the record and I debated whether or not to lower the song to set the vocal in the range of the other songs. I tried a few versions in which I kept the voice lower but it just didn’t match the energy of the music so I deviated a little from the rest of the album and tried to belt it out.
In the end I’m really happy with the vocal and the track overall, and I like the way this song and “What’s In Store” create optimistic bookends for an album that has a fair amount of angst. It’s like a compliment sandwich: a sweet coating of peppy vibes surrounding a creamy nougat of melancholy and despair. Maybe that should’ve been the title of the album!
Nah, The Green L.E.D.s was the way to go, a blinking signal that the listener can decide the meaning of.