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"Whatever Happened to Tomorrow"
Milk EP cover
Song by The Lunatic

Released

April 16, 2011

Recorded

April 2011

Genre

Alternative rock, space rock, dream pop

Length

4:17

Label

Luna Records

Producer

The Lunatic

"Whatever Happened to Tomorrow?" is a song written in October 2009 by Martin Michalek. It has been recorded by Brutha, Lumo the Cosmonaut, and The Lunatic (with each recording slightly varrying from its predecessor in arrangement and content.) In addition to being a song, Martin wrote an essay with parallel themes, which is also entitled "Whatever Happened to Tomorrow?"

Writing and CompositionEdit

The lyrics were the first part of the song written. They were scratched into Martin's notebook during a Literary Criticism lecture on Antigone —which is referenced in the second verse line, "the maiden sets her sighs." The title of the song, and the main lyric, is an allusion to the comic tradition of titles named "Whatever Happened to the (x)?" Specifically in mind at the time were the recently published comics, "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?", "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", and "Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?"—all of which had been printed or reprinted in months prior during the summer of 2009. The lyrics reference retro-futurism, the atomic age, and utopian ideas about the future as presented in various literary interpretations; all of these are ultimately contrasted with life at the dawn of the 21st century—specifically the economic recession, a perceived slowing of progress, and the death of manned space exploration. The song was also heavily influenced by the then-recent launch of the Ares I-X rocket (the first NASA rocket in nearly thirty years) and the subsequent cancellation of the Constellation program by the Obama administration.

The songs chord progression came while waiting for a ride to the comic store later that evening.

VersionsEdit

Brutha versionsEdit

  • "Spacey" version (4:34) - The first demo is with an electric guitar that is being run through a chorus, phaser and flanger. Other than the guitar, there is only a vocal track. This version has an extended second chorus, a different bridge, and a few lyrical changes.
  • "Acoustic" version (4:34) - The second demo is just with an acoustic guitar. It features a slightly different second chorus, a new bridge, and minor lyric changes.

Lunatic Acoustic demosEdit

  • "Quiet" version - 12/9/2009 (2: 28) - The song was demo'd twice by The Lunatic as an acoustic number. The first original recording (dubbed the "12/9/2009" recording or "Quiet version") was at one point planned to be the opening song on the conceptual album Somewhere in the Multiverse. In this context, the song transitioned into "Runaways", which Jack and Martin felt were too similar at the time to separate on the album. This version features no bridge, has two separate acoustic guitar tracks (both recorded by Martin), and two separate vocal tracks (one Martin, one Jack.) It was considered useless because Martin's vocal timbre changes between the first and second verse (they were recorded at different times.) The introduction is a warped tape of Martin starting the song from the chorus and then stopping.
  • "Live Take" (2:36) -' 'This version, recorded with one room mic by Jack and Martin, was distributed on various demos the band handed around in 2010 (often as the opening track.) It has no bridge.

Lumo the Cosmonaut versionEdit

  • "Whatever Happened to Tomorrow" (2011) (3:45) - The song, having been dead for roughly a year, was brought back as a Lumo recording in January 2011. Martin finally found an arrangement that suited the song, having just recently added an Ebow and several effects pedals to his guitar rig. This version is the first recording to feature the "shotgun" breakdown and the "Who was right" call and response bridge. However, the bridge was not new, and was part of the song when the band played it in an acoustic set almost a year earlier on February 18, 2010. Using this version, Martin brought the song back to the band for rehearsal. The song was played live with this arrangement at a Deathstar show (the show where Kody Yardley first saw the band and agreed to join.)

Milk versionEdit

  • "Whatever Happened to Tomorrow?" (4:17) - The fifth track on Milk, this version transitions in directly after the "explosion" in "Fireplace". It features a more industrial drumbeat than the Lumo version (which Martin originally wanted, but didn't have the equipment to create) and is less of a slow, shoegazey song. The drum beat, which was played by Burby, was actually recorded during a live performance at The Deathstar. It was then manipulated by Jack and Martin. The two used Martin's clearance card as a library employee at BYU to sneak into the Music Recording Archive lab late at night to manipulate the drums, reprogram certain parts, etc (Interestingly, this was done several times while recording Milk in order to allow the band access to better mixing and mastering equipment.) The guitars were recorded by Jack and Martin during a last minute recording session for the EP, which took place on Saturday, April 2, 2011 in Jack's parent's basement/his brother Eddie's bedroom. Several effects pedals were used in the recording. Three different Devi Ever fuzz pedals were used, different flangers, distortion pedals, an Electro Harmonix reverb pedal, and two different delay pedals. The tapping guitar parts were spontaneously added when Martin finished playing the solo during a take and Jack didn't stop recording. Liking the part so much, the two went back and doubletracked another guitar part. The vocal harmonies were recorded by the band in Jack Mergist's studio apartment. Like most of the harmonies for the record, the band sat around and thought them up almost immediately before recording them.

Milk version Personnel

  • Nathan Burb - drums
  • Austin Cook - vocals
  • Jack Mergist - guitar, vocals, drum programming
  • Martin Michalek - guitar, vocals, drum programming
  • Kody Yardley, bass, vocals

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