The Future Soon

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The Future Soon
ReleaseWhere Tradition Meets Tomorrow
Release date10-01-2004
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Demo version: {{#song:The+Future+Soon+(Demo) }} "The Future Soon" is a song on Jonathan Coulton's second album, Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow. It is one of Jonathan's most regularly played songs in his live shows, often appearing at the opening of a set.


"The Future Soon" was, in its early days, performed as part of John Hodgman's Little Gray Books lecture series. One of Jonathan's first major live performances was at the Pop!Tech conference of 2003, and one performed song was "The Future Soon". (There is a YouTube video of this performance, but it is mislabeled as Pop!Tech 2006, where Jonathan also later performed.)

Demo version

A demo performance of "The Future Soon" was recorded by Jonathan Coulton before the version that was eventually released on Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow. The recording comprised of Jonathan's solo vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Some of the lyrics in the demo version differ slightly from those in the published version. These changes are listed in the notes included on the lyrics page.

The demo version of this song is part of the non-album collection Other Experiments and is available on the Jonathan Coulton Store as "The Future Soon (Demo)".

Live performance

"The Future Soon" is a staple of the Jonathan Coulton live show experience. While Jonathan doesn't always introduce the song with the full background story, he gives a consistent introduction to the song when he does. In brief, Jonathan describes "The Future Soon" as how someone might feel if they were about 12 years old, alone in their room, reading Omni Magazine, and thinking about the future.

When playing alone, Jonathan usually performs "The Future Soon" as the very first song on the setlist. When the show opens with Paul and Storm, "The Future Soon" marks the beginning of the "Jonathan Coulton" part of the show--a subtle but important detail, considering that Jonathan usually performs backup vocals for Paul and Storm for at least one song.

When playing the song live, Jonathan uses only an acoustic guitar, and is otherwise unaccompanied. If Paul and Storm were performing prior to this song, they leave the stage until the next song for which they perform backup vocals and percussion. Thus, the recorded version and the live version of this song differ mainly in the instrumentation and the presence of backup vocals.

A few, much more minor, differences exist between the recorded version and the live version of the song:

  • The line, "And I know that I'll forget the look of pity on her face," becomes, "And I know that I'll forget the pity on her face." Take a look at the lyrics to find the line.
  • The final guitar chord of the bridge section is modified to be more reliably played (from Aaug to A); this results in a slight but noticeable change. Take a look at the tabs to find the chord.


  • "The Future Soon" is classified as a funny/sad song on the Listening Suggestions page.
  • Amazingly, it appears that "The Future Soon" is being performed the character "Emil Bleehall" at the Adventurers Club, a themed nightclub in the Pleasure Island portion of Walt Disney World. It is not known how this use relates to Jonathan's use of the Creative Commons license.


"The Future Soon" is available on the Jonathan Coulton MP3 store. As of April 2008, the CD version of Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow is out of print.


Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow
1. The Future Soon · 2. Skullcrusher Mountain · 3. I Crush Everything · 4. Betty and Me · 5. Mandelbrot Set