Predicting the future is a common theme in music, and not just with the Mael brothers and those “Future’s So Bright” chuckle heads. Some are optimistic, others pessimistic. We’ll be anything from merpeople to robots, or at least in love with robots. Or annihilated by them.
Here are some songs about the distant future, some of which is now in the past:
“1983…A Merman I Should Turn To Be,” Jimi Hendrix. Nobody embraced the future with the psychedelic beauty of Jimi.
“1984,” David Bowie. Bowie went to the future well many times, but the Diamond Dogs album was a complete dystopic concept album set in Hunger City so it gets the nod. Originally a musical adaptation of the novel 1984, Orwell’s widow refused to sign off. This would’ve been the coke-fueled title track.
“1999,” Prince. Prince doesn’t like the Youtubes, so enjoy this version by The Revolution sans their diminutive leader.
“2000 Man,” The Rolling Stones. KISS covered this on the Dynasty album with Ace Frehley handling the vocal. Know what? I’ll thing I’ll include that one, too, so you can decide which flavor you prefer.
“Robots,” Flight of the Conchords. Harrowing, chilling, disturbing. Take your hands off me you damned, dirty robot!
“21st Century Schizoid Man,” King Crimson. Heavy as the water in your daddy’s “tobacco pipe.”
“22nd Century,” Nina Simone. Any Nina fans in the crowd? I have my moments.
“In the Year 2525,“ Zager and Evans. I hesitated before adding this one, but I’m glad I did it.
“Love in the Year 3000,” The B-52s. More of those sexy ‘bots.
“Welcome to the Future“ Hawkwind. When I’m jonesing something kind of proggy I often whip out the Hawkwind. It still blows my mind that Lemmy is an alumnus.
“The Future Will Come,” Juan Maclean. I know absolutely nothing about Juan Maclean. I don’t even know how this got on my iPod. Had to be one of my kids.
“The Future,” Leonard Cohen. Just. Plain. Cool.
Okay, take off your jet pack, relax in your silver tunic, and tell me your favorite future songs. I’m listening.
***SUPER FUTURETABULOUS BONUS TRACK***