2006 – 2020
This is the third part of a three-part series looking at Green Lantern’s use in music. Check here for the first part and here for the second part if you’d like to see how we arrived at our conclusion. When we left off in the timeline, Green Lantern as a comics property had just entered the Geoff Johns era. It’s just my opinion, but I feel like the majority of the songs created during this period are a cut above the rest.
“Hal Jordan” – MC Esoteric – 2009
Seamus Ryan is an independent rap artist based out of Boston, Massachusetts, who goes by the stage name of Esoteric. Combining his love of comics and pop culture with his style of music, Esoteric has released a lot of music either as a solo artist or as part of a larger collective of artists. In 2009 Esoteric released Serve or Suffer, a collection made up almost entirely of instrumental tracks inspired by comics. “Hal Jordan” is about 1:37 long and features a few lyrics, mostly about things which are green. Admittedly it’s not a style of music that I listen to, so it’s not a track that I listen to with any regularity. At this point in time, I cannot find the track for download and I cannot find a video on YouTube, either, so it’s not one fans are not likely to find easily.
“Great Lakes Avengers” and “Ring Capacity” – Kirby Krackle – 2010
Kirby Krackle erupted on the nerd music scene in 2009 with a self-titled cd that really embraced pop culture and married it with great songwriting. Kyle Stevens serves as the creative force behind the Seattle, Washington based band, which has over the course of the past eleven years opened for Weird Al Yankovic, recorded music for Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon, and played lively concerts at comic conventions all over the place. I first discovered their music in 2009 when they released “Ring Capacity” as a free single, which was then included in their 2010 “E for Everyone” CD, which I reviewed and promoted pretty heavily at the time.
The song is a great uptempo tune told from Hal’s perspective as he’s fighting for his life against Sinestro. The chorus is a great play on the ring telling Hal of the dwindling charge left in his ring as the two are in the throes of battle, hence the song’s title. When Hal finds a lantern to charge his ring the song shifts into the best use yet of the Green Lantern oath – a part of the song that the audience joins in on during Kirby Krackle live shows. “Ring Capacity” actually went on to be a downloadable song for the video game Rock Band! Of all the Green Lantern songs out there this one is my absolute favorite. Check out the awesome animated video of the song below.
“Great Lakes Avengers” is another track from “E for Everyone” and it includes a passing reference to the Green Lantern Corps. The song follows a hero’s quest to join a super team, finally having to settle for the Great Lakes Avengers after getting turned down by everyone else. Another great track by the Beatles of nerd rock.
“In Brightest Day” – Gary Mitchell – 2010
2010 was an interesting year with anticipation building for the Green Lantern movie. Independent musician and Green Lantern fan Gary Mitchell wrote “In Brightest Day” in hopes of using a grassroots campaign to get his song included in the film. The song was available on iTunes for a little while but has long since vanished, with the only trace of it found on YouTube in his video to promote the song. It’s not a half-bad track but the vocals are, in my opinion, not strong enough. Lyrically I liked the “Come the darkest hour, now, at last, beware my power” line but for the most part the lyrics dance around the subject matter, and when compared to a song like “Ring Capacity” that boldly proclaims “I am a song about Green Lantern” it sounds a bit weak. It’s not a bad song, that’s for sure, it just lacks character.
“Green Lantern” – Sha-Ron Kushnir – 2010
“Green Lantern” by Sha-Ron Kushnir is another song with an interesting background. Kushnir is a renowned pianist who is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Professional Life Coach who’s musical tastes run primarily in the Europop and Electronica genres. Born in Israel, Kushnir was considered a musical prodigy in Africa at the age of 10 who eventually moved to the United States. His Green Lantern track is an interesting composition with a catchy electronic sound to it, but it suffers both lyrically and in his vocal performance, which I found a challenge to understand. There are clear references to overcoming fear and Hal’s name is in there, but otherwise I struggle to find the meaning of the song. This is another song that is not available for download and whose only proof of existence lies on YouTube.
What’s interesting about this one? Well, Kushnir’s resume includes working on music videos for Sol Romero – the wife of Martin Campbell, the director of the 2011 Green Lantern movie!
“Green Lantern” – Atomic Shop – 2011
Chicago native John Kuczaj didn’t start playing guitar until he was 33, but through hard work and dedication started writing songs four years later. In 2011 he released his second Atomic Shop CD, “Ride my Junk”, which continued to showcase John’s flair for catchy and humorous song lyrics. “Green Lantern” was one of the tracks on this CD, which captures the whole Green Lantern experience, including being a part of the Corps and traveling to Qward. Like a lot of Green Lantern songs, this one also rightly incorporates the Green Lantern oath. This one has become one of my favorites, partially because once I hear the “The world needs saving, the world needs saving, the world needs saving…” lyrics they get stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Check out the live performance from John and his band below.
“In Brightest Day” – The Mitch Laing Band – 2017
You can tell that the performance of the 2011 movie took the wind out of the sails of the interest in Green Lantern. Musically there was a dry spell from 2011 until 2017 with the release of “In Brightest Day” by The Mitch Laing Band, a group from Monroe, Louisiana. I only recently discovered the band and the song while working on this series because I’d stopped looking for new songs a couple of years after the movie’s release. But the most recent Green Lantern song more than makes up for the lapse in time because it’s a pretty damn spectacular tune!
“In Brightest Day” takes a swipe at Ryan Reynolds while voicing the opinion that Nathan Fillion would have been a better choice. I personally think Fillion was too old to play Hal at the time, but I love that the songwriter isn’t afraid to take a stand. The lyrics talk about everything from Parallax to Sector 2814 to Oa. John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner are name-checked, but Guy fans might take some exception to how he’s referenced. The band also opts for the “In Darkest Night” version of the oath which was used for a period of time.
I really like this song, from the catchy and engaging lyrics to the music which is has a clean sound to it. You can check out The Mitch Laing Band’s video for the song below. In 2020 Mitch Laing joined us for episode 169 of The Podcast of Oa, which you can listen to here.
That wraps up our three-part series and I hope it helped fan discover some great new songs along the way. If you know of a song I missed, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can do an update. I’d also be missing an opportunity if I didn’t include my personal choices for a top-five list of Green Lantern songs, so I’ll end with my picks:
- “Ring Capacity” by Kirby Krackle
- “In Brightest Day” by The Mitch Laing Band
- “Green Lantern” by Atomic Shop
- “Green Lantern: Hal Jordan” by J-Sin Starr
- “Green Lantern” by Simple Frustration