Track-by-Track: “Waiting for a Signal”

Before Thank You for Holding started to coalesce around a single theme, I tried a few different angles for approaching the album. At one point, I was thinking of recording a series of short punk-rock songs about life in contemporary America, so I recorded a song called “Front of the Line,” which eventually evolved into “Waiting for a Signal.”

The main thing I was trying to do with “Front of the Line” was keep it short. My goal was to keep it under a minute in length but still maintain a traditional pop-song structure — verse, chorus, verse, chorus, instrumental break, verse chorus. Here’s what it sounded like:

Not exactly the kind of music you might hear while you’re on hold, so I recorded a new version with slightly different lyrics once the larger project started to take shape in my head.  The main reason I decided to keep it (and change the title) is that the idea of waiting for a signal fit in with the overall theme of being on hold.

Essentially the song is about suffering an existential crisis — or a whole string of existential crises — while sitting in traffic and realizing that everyone is trying to inch forward on the highway of life (as it were) without making much progress. In situations like that, it’s hard not to wonder what it all means.

 

Waiting for a Signal

Wake up in a panic at the wheel of a car,
Suddenly it hits you that you don’t know who you are.
Waiting for a signal, hoping for a sign,
Everybody’s pushing to the front of the line.

Inch up on the red and lose a mile on the green,
Still you don’t believe that you’re a part of the machine.
Waiting for a signal, hoping for a sign,
Everybody’s pushing to the front of the line.

Somewhere on the road, you find a moment of Zen,
But then you come up short of breath and do it all again.
Waiting for a signal, hoping for a sign,
Everybody’s pushing to the front of the line.

2 thoughts on “Track-by-Track: “Waiting for a Signal”

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